With five offices throughout Oregon, opportunities abound for O’Brien’s team members to get outside and enjoy all that the region has to offer for recreational activities. To celebrate Earth Month, we asked a team member from each region in which we have offices to share their personal “hidden gem” so that others can discover and explore Oregon’s natural beauty.

Central Oregon

“I love, love waterfalls in the spring–especially in Central Oregon. This time of the year, the snow is melting and the waterfalls get huge and have a lot of water volume coming over the edge. A couple of local favorites are Tumalo Falls and Benham Falls. But one that I love and have been going to since I was a kid with my parents is Sahalie Falls. It’s a gem in between Bend and Springfield off the Mackenzie Hwy and is absolutely amazing this time of the year. I definitely recommend a good waterfall!” – Leonard Jarvis, Assistant Project Manager.

Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls are located along the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass and West Cascades National Scenic Byways off Highway 126. The Waterfalls Loop Trail, part of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, connects the two waterfalls and offers up close views of the wild McKenzie River. Sahalie Falls is a mass of foaming white water plunging 100 feet (30 m) over a natural lava dam. This famous falls can be spotted in Disney’s movie Homeward Bound.

Portland Metro

“Big fan of Dog Mountain in the Spring! A little more challenging of a hike but there are wildflower fields near the top that are beautiful.” – Alex Noble, Project Manager

Located East of Stevenson, Carson, and Home Valley, WA; West of White Salmon, WA, and across the river from Cascade Locks, OR, Dog Mountain Day Use Area and Trailhead is the access point for two of the most scenic trails in the Gorge, Dog Mountain Trail #147 and Augspurger Trail #4407. These two trails form a popular loop hike, if you connect via the 1.5 mile Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail.

The area is most popular for its spring-blooming yellow balsamroot meadows, which occur at its upper meadows. Look for other wildflowers, such as white phantom orchids, Indian paintbrush and purple lupine, that add color to the mix. During the peak spring wildflower season, a permit is required to park at the Dog Mtn Trailhead parking lot on Saturdays and Sundays. Permit season for 2024 is April 27 – June 16 and Memorial Day. If there are no permits available, hikers may take the shuttle from Stevenson and a hand stamp will serve as your hiking permit.

Oregon Coast

“Kayaking in the Yaquina Bay gives you a great experience to get up close to sea lions and the NOAA research vessels, and check out a huge variety of waterfowl, including Great Blue Herons and Brown pelicans. On the south side of the Yaquina Bridge by the Rogue Brewers on the Bay is a non-motorized boat launch–and a great walking pier you can fish and crab from, or just enjoy the view of the bridge.” – Rian Martinsen, Director of Safety.

Kayaking Yaquina Bay provides enthusiasts with an intimate way to explore its diverse ecosystem, from its tranquil estuaries to its bustling harbor. Paddlers can enjoy lovely views of the Oregon coast while gliding through calm waters, encountering wildlife such as seals, seabirds, and even occasional whales. With convenient launch points and opportunities for both leisurely paddling and more adventurous exploration, Yaquina Bay offers recreation for kayakers of all skill levels.

Willamette Valley

“My recommendation is Silver Falls. There are several really nice hikes around the falls and the adjacent area. There is a sort of a cave behind the falls that is part of the trail where you can sit and have a snack while enjoying the view.” – Jeff Stafford, Superintendent

The Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon is a breathtaking hiking experience renowned for its natural beauty and cascading waterfalls. Spanning around 8.7 miles, this well-maintained trail winds through lush forests, offering stunning viewpoints of ten majestic waterfalls along the way. As visitors explore the Trail of Ten Falls, they are immersed in the tranquil ambiance of the Pacific Northwest, making it an unforgettable outdoor adventure.


Earth Month is a vibrant celebration of sustainability and environmental stewardship, with communities coming together for events like tree plantings, beach cleanups, and educational workshops. Throughout April, we highlight projects and activities that protect the region’s diverse ecosystems, promoting a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.

NATURE’S HIDDEN GEMS

With five offices throughout Oregon, opportunities abound for O’Brien’s team members to get outside and enjoy all that the region has to offer for recreational activities. To celebrate Earth Month, we asked a team member from each region in which we have offices to share their personal “hidden gem” so that others can discover and explore Oregon’s natural beauty.

Central Oregon

“I love, love waterfalls in the spring–especially in Central Oregon. This time of the year, the snow is melting and the waterfalls get huge and have a lot of water volume coming over the edge. A couple of local favorites are Tumalo Falls and Benham Falls. But one that I love and have been going to since I was a kid with my parents is Sahalie Falls. It’s a gem in between Bend and Springfield off the Mackenzie Hwy and is absolutely amazing this time of the year. I definitely recommend a good waterfall!” Leonard Jarvis, Assistant Project Manager.

Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls are located along the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass and West Cascades National Scenic Byways off Highway 126. The Waterfalls Loop Trail, part of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, connects the two waterfalls and offers up close views of the wild McKenzie River. Sahalie Falls is a mass of foaming white water plunging 100 feet (30 m) over a natural lava dam. This famous falls can be spotted in Disney’s movie Homeward Bound.

Portland Metro

“Big fan of Dog Mountain in the Spring! A little more challenging of a hike but there are wildflower fields near the top that are beautiful.” Alex Noble, Project Manager

Located East of Stevenson, Carson, and Home Valley, WA; West of White Salmon, WA, and across the river from Cascade Locks, OR, Dog Mountain Day Use Area and Trailhead is the access point for two of the most scenic trails in the Gorge, Dog Mountain Trail #147 and Augspurger Trail #4407. These two trails form a popular loop hike, if you connect via the 1.5 mile Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail.

The area is most popular for its spring-blooming yellow balsamroot meadows, which occur at its upper meadows. Look for other wildflowers, such as white phantom orchids, Indian paintbrush and purple lupine, that add color to the mix. During the peak spring wildflower season, a permit is required to park at the Dog Mtn Trailhead parking lot on Saturdays and Sundays. Permit season for 2024 is April 27 – June 16 and Memorial Day. If there are no permits available, hikers may take the shuttle from Stevenson and a hand stamp will serve as your hiking permit.

Oregon Coast

“Kayaking in the Yaquina Bay gives you a great experience to get up close to sea lions and the NOAA research vessels, and check out a huge variety of waterfowl, including Great Blue Herons and Brown pelicans. On the south side of the Yaquina Bridge by the Rogue Brewers on the Bay is a non-motorized boat launch–and a great walking pier you can fish and crab from, or just enjoy the view of the bridge.” Rian Martinsen, Director of Safety.

Kayaking Yaquina Bay provides enthusiasts with an intimate way to explore its diverse ecosystem, from its tranquil estuaries to its bustling harbor. Paddlers can enjoy lovely views of the Oregon coast while gliding through calm waters, encountering wildlife such as seals, seabirds, and even occasional whales. With convenient launch points and opportunities for both leisurely paddling and more adventurous exploration, Yaquina Bay offers recreation for kayakers of all skill levels.

Willamette Valley

“My recommendation is Silver Falls. There are several really nice hikes around the falls and the adjacent area. There is a sort of a cave behind the falls that is part of the trail where you can sit and have a snack while enjoying the view.” Jeff Stafford, Superintendent

The Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon is a breathtaking hiking experience renowned for its natural beauty and cascading waterfalls. Spanning around 8.7 miles, this well-maintained trail winds through lush forests, offering stunning viewpoints of ten majestic waterfalls along the way. As visitors explore the Trail of Ten Falls, they are immersed in the tranquil ambiance of the Pacific Northwest, making it an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Jackie Keogh

Q&A with Jackie

During college I started working as an intern at a community development corporation north of Boston. Prior to my internship, I never even knew that affordable housing finance was a field that existed, much less a field for women. I was lucky enough to have mentors who helped me to find my way in this industry. The affordable housing field hooked me because it brings together so many siloed industries – nonprofit, construction, and client services.

O’Brien is thrilled to be working along with Jackie and her team at Rooted at Simpson, which will bring 99 units of affordable housing to Bend, including 40 single-family homes.

Jackie Keogh

Q&A with Jackie

During college I started working as an intern at a community development corporation north of Boston. Prior to my internship, I never even knew that affordable housing finance was a field that existed, much less a field for women. I was lucky enough to have mentors who helped me to find my way in this industry. The affordable housing field hooked me because it brings together so many siloed industries – nonprofit, construction, and client services.

O’Brien is thrilled to be working along with Jackie and her team at Rooted at Simpson, which will bring 99 units of affordable housing to Bend, including 40 single-family homes.


RootedHomes has chosen our architecture firm, Open Concept Architecture, to design their new sustainable community, Rooted in Redmond. In partnership with the Environmental Center, the community will include a large community garden that will be used as an outdoor classroom by homeowners and Redmond public school students to expand RootedHomes’ sustainability efforts in the greater community.

VIA ROOTEDHOMES

Rooted in Redmond is just the first of RootedHomes’ many new communities that go beyond Bend throughout Central Oregon. The project is a 23-home community, located at 345 NW 19th Street in Redmond, and will include new construction of 2- and 3-bedroom duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes alongside the preservation of a 4-bedroom, 100+ year old farmhouse.


“too often growth is evaluated by what is done but not how things are done. For RootedHomes, true growth came from shifting the way in which we build affordable housing to be more innovative, nimble, and community-focused.

There’s a recipe for building affordable housing, but our intention is to go beyond that and pursue creative solutions that aim to solve the affordable housing crisis. We ask, “What is broken in the affordable housing system and how can we fix it?” We don’t just answer our own questions, we ask those we serve what barriers they are facing. And by listening to the needs of those with the highest barriers to homeownership, we begin to work through systemic problems identifying adaptations of the status quo and who has been left out because of that.”

Jackie Keogh, Executive Director at rootedhomes

O’Brien Design+Build and Open Concept Architecture are focused on expanding into the vital affordable housing sector. These projects are how we can continue to uphold our responsibility to those we serve, by providing better living for all. These projects are not just housing, but integrated and holistic communities.

Each building designed is part of a broader community context, and we know that the decisions we make have ripple effects that manifest over time in different ways. This is why we design buildings and site elements to create connectivity, stimulate interaction, and provide flexible spaces for people to come together.

We are proud to be partnering with RootedHomes in this endeavor. At O’Brien Design+Build and Open Concept Architecture, we come to work together every day determined to use our expertise in architecture and construction to help shape healthier, safer, more diverse, resilient, and sustainable communities that thrive.

Learn more here: Rooted in Redmond

Image via RootedHomes.org

We are excited to be working with Rooted Homes and 10 Over Architects to build 40 affordable homes on Bend’s west side.


“Rooted Homes’ innovative land lease program offers affordable home-ownership opportunities for locals earning 60-85% of average monthly income” (AMI).

With construction work slated to begin in fall of 2023, the new Simpson Community will include 40 single-family homes comprised of 10 two-bedroom homes and 30 three-bedroom homes. Designed to achieve net-zero energy standards, future homeowners will pay energy bills as low as around $12/month. These standards will serve as a model for sustainable home construction in the industry. The overall site development will include on-site parking, electric vehicle charging, covered bike parking, community gardens, and an open space with walking paths and natural landscaping. Previously owned by OSU-Cascades, the site features steep grade changes and an existing pumice pit that will pose a construction challenge. The development plan has been designed to minimize impact to the site and to retain the area’s natural beauty. The Simpson Community is being developed in partnership with Housing Works, who will develop the adjacent lot into 59 garden-style apartments to further expand Central Oregon’s affordable housing options.