Two submissions have been entered for DJC’s Top Project 2024. We extend our gratitude to all involved in Nestucca CTE and The Stephanie Inn projects! Stay tuned until June to discover the winners. Meanwhile, explore brief insights into each project below.

Nestucca CTE aerial

Like many rural areas, the Nestucca region of the Oregon Coast faces challenges in providing diverse and accessible educational opportunities for its youth. Nestucca Valley School District’s (NVSD) recently completed new Career Technical Education (CTE) Center seeks to address this gap by offering hands-on opportunities for technical and vocational education tailored to meet the evolving needs of students and industries alike.

To meet the forward-thinking client’s goals, the building needed to be flexible and adaptable; having the ability to build a tiny home or trailer in the space and provide courses that varied from virtual welding simulators to a full-scale wood shop. With those goals in mind, the team set out to design and build a fully enclosed CTE building that would allow the spaces to be used with flexibility, providing courses and training for students.

Having a client with a vision for its community backed up with optimism and gumption set the tone for the team’s high level of collaboration towards defined goals including:

Empowerment through Education: Provide students with hands-on, practical learning experiences that equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in various career paths.

Industry Alignment: Collaborate closely with local businesses, industries, and community partners to ensure that program offerings align with workforce demands and industry standards.

Career Pathway Development: Establish clear and defined pathways for students to explore different career options, allowing them to make informed decisions about their future endeavors.

Equity and Inclusion: Foster an inclusive learning environment that celebrates diversity and promotes equal opportunities for all students, regardless of background or circumstances.

Community Engagement: Actively engage with the Nestucca community to garner support, involvement, and feedback, ensuring that the CTE Center remains responsive to the needs of its constituents.

Stephanie Inn exterior aerial
Stephanie Inn Aerial View

Imagine working on one of the most cherished destinations on Oregon Coast’s world class Cannon Beach over a series of projects spread over decades to evolve an iconic property over time to meet the needs of the most discerning guests. 

Now imagine that the most recent project was a large and complex renovation to rejuvenate and elevate the guest experience to new heights. And that the renovation had to be compressed into a short few months to meet a hard stop of guest reservations booked solid with absolutely no wiggle room for “heads on beds.” 

This is the story of our most recent comprehensive renovation of the historic Stephanie Inn, long admired for its timeless charm and exceptional hospitality.  The story is differentiated by its incredibly demanding attention to every detail of high design and craftsmanship of construction, further complicated by overlaying one of the industry’s most challenging times for accessing materials and labor, and subsequently requiring an “all hands-on deck” approach to four months of implementation. 

Project Objectives: 

  • Enhanced Comfort and Elegance: Redefine luxury by refurbishing guest rooms, suites, and common areas with modern amenities, sumptuous furnishings, and refined décor that exudes coastal sophistication. 
  • Expanded Amenities: Introduce new amenities and services to cater to the diverse needs of guests, including spa facilities, fitness center, curated dining experiences, and personalized concierge services. 
  • Sustainability Initiatives: Implement eco-friendly practices and technologies to minimize the inn’s environmental footprint while preserving the natural beauty of Cannon Beach. 
  • Preservation of Heritage: Respect and honor the rich heritage and character of the Stephanie Inn by preserving its architectural integrity and cultural significance throughout the renovation process. 
  • Seamless Guest Experience: Ensure a seamless and hassle-free experience for guests during the renovation period, with minimal disruption to their stay and an unwavering commitment to exceptional service. 

Oregon’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) is a competitive grant program that provides state funds for seismic rehabilitation of fire stations, police stations, K-12 schools, community colleges, hospital buildings and other public facilities.

Here at O’Brien, we know that these often-unseen structural improvements pay public safety dividends by increasing building capabilities to resist earthquake forces and reducing risks to Oregonians using critical public buildings. The performance level requirement of SRGP projects is life-safety for the building occupants with continuity of the facilities’ operations as an essential consideration. The requirement of these emergency services building improvements is immediate occupancy for continued operation of such facilities following a seismic event here in Oregon.

Our build team has completed and is currently working on several seismic rehabilitations for Oregon educational facilities and fire departments funded under the SRGP. To date, our SRGP projects have been delivered as O’Brien CM/GC projects, with negotiated GMP’s.

As an organization focused on continuous improvement, here are some lessons learned on our SRGP-funded projects:

  • Bring open communication, transparency, and collaboration to the project owner and entire team.
  • Work effectively with structural engineers serving as the prime consultant to help make team decisions that maximize project value in both first costs and lifecycle costs.
  • Creatively employ the SRGP scope and budget to achieve added value and to help our clients meet other goals for their facilities.
  • Prioritize community communication and safety in buildings that serve year-round public functions, and are at least partially occupied during construction.

O’Brien’s build team members have expressed interest and enthusiasm for working on more SRGP projects in 2024 and beyond. We are excited to report that we are actively tracking and will be pursuing several more 2024 SRGP projects in our various office locations here in Oregon.



Oregon’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) is a competitive grant program that provides state funds for seismic rehabilitation of fire stations, police stations, K-12 schools, community colleges, hospital buildings and other public facilities.

Here at O’Brien, we know that these often-unseen structural improvements pay public safety dividends by increasing building capabilities to resist earthquake forces and reducing risks to Oregonians using critical public buildings. The performance level requirement of SRGP projects is life-safety for the building occupants with continuity of the facilities’ operations as an essential consideration. The requirement of these emergency services building improvements is immediate occupancy for continued operation of such facilities following a seismic event here in Oregon.

Our build team has completed and is currently working on several seismic rehabilitations for Oregon educational facilities and fire departments funded under the SRGP. To date, our SRGP projects have been delivered as O’Brien CM/GC projects, with negotiated GMP’s.

As an organization focused on continuous improvement, here are some lessons learned on our SRGP-funded projects:

  • Bring open communication, transparency, and collaboration to the project owner and entire team.
  • Work effectively with structural engineers serving as the prime consultant to help make team decisions that maximize project value in both first costs and lifecycle costs.
  • Creatively employ the SRGP scope and budget to achieve added value and to help our clients meet other goals for their facilities.
  • Prioritize community communication and safety in buildings that serve year-round public functions, and are at least partially occupied during construction.

O’Brien’s build team members have expressed interest and enthusiasm for working on more SRGP projects in 2024 and beyond. We are excited to report that we are actively tracking and will be pursuing several more 2024 SRGP projects in our various office locations here in Oregon.



In the ever-changing Design-Build world, keeping up to date with industry trends, innovations, and best practices is crucial to our success. This year’s Design-Build Conference & Expo in National Harbor, Maryland, was an opportunity to share our knowledge and learn from others. Our team members Sarah Young and Alex Noble, joined by Sada Nagata of Accretech and Bob Moore of Jacobs Heating & Cooling, shared our unique perspective with the industry.

Our team’s presentation showcased O’Brien’s work on the Accretech Offices and Production Facility. Titled “No Project Too Small: Scalable Processes for Dynamic Solutions”, the session focused on the unique way that we approach the Design-Build process.


Collaboration with the project owners and within our team is the secret to the Accretech project’s success. Using the principles of deep listening, we let go of our own assumptions of what an industrial building should be, and put in the effort to understand our clients’ vision. Together we answered the questions:

  • Can we reimagine what industry should be in a new context and its role in the natural environment?
  • Can industrial buildings be exciting?
  • Can they reflect history and point toward a better future?

To answer these questions: Yes! The design harmonizes beauty, function, sustainability, business objectives, and the happiness of the building’s occupants. We came to understand these concepts as interconnected parts of a holistic approach to Accretech’s work.

The audience response was incredible and highlighted the unique working style we’ve adopted at O’Brien. Audience members were impressed with the way our team has embedded cutting-edge technologies into our process, with the level of collaboration with our subcontractors, and with the scale of the project. Design-Build projects are typically large in scale, so many audience members shared lessons about how to apply Design-Build principles to smaller scales.

Our unique mix of leadership styles, age groups, and experiences pushes us to innovate. Our panel was the only one to have two DBIA Young Professionals on it. In an aging industry, our ability to draw from experience, approach problems in new ways, and transfer knowledge to the next generation is bringing us into the future.

Rendering of the Accretech facility in Portland, showing main entrance framed by wood features and with cherry blossom and Japanese maple trees in front.
Architectural Rendering of the Accretech Offices and Production Facility
Project timeline. Milestones shown: Site Selection, 30% SD, O'Brien D+B Selected, D+B Delivery Selection, Program Understanding, Advocation & Approvals, AHJ Submissions.
Project timeline showing important milestones and project phases.

In the ever-changing Design-Build world, keeping up to date with industry trends, innovations, and best practices is crucial to our success. This year’s Design-Build Conference & Expo in National Harbor, Maryland, was an opportunity to share our knowledge and learn from others. Our team members Sarah Young and Alex Noble, joined by Sada Nagata of Accretech and Bob Moore of Jacobs Heating & Cooling, shared our unique perspective with the industry.

Our team’s presentation showcased O’Brien’s work on the Accretech Offices and Production Facility. Titled “No Project Too Small: Scalable Processes for Dynamic Solutions”, the session focused on the unique way that we approach the Design-Build process.


Collaboration with the project owners and within our team is the secret to the Accretech project’s success. Using the principles of deep listening, we let go of our own assumptions of what an industrial building should be, and put in the effort to understand our clients’ vision. Together we answered the questions:

  • Can we reimagine what industry should be in a new context and its role in the natural environment?
  • Can industrial buildings be exciting?
  • Can they reflect history and point toward a better future?

To answer these questions: Yes! The design harmonizes beauty, function, sustainability, business objectives, and the happiness of the building’s occupants. We came to understand these concepts as interconnected parts of a holistic approach to Accretech’s work.

The audience response was incredible and highlighted the unique working style we’ve adopted at O’Brien. Audience members were impressed with the way our team has embedded cutting-edge technologies into our process, with the level of collaboration with our subcontractors, and with the scale of the project. Design-Build projects are typically large in scale, so many audience members shared lessons about how to apply Design-Build principles to smaller scales.

Our unique mix of leadership styles, age groups, and experiences pushes us to innovate. Our panel was the only one to have two DBIA Young Professionals on it. In an aging industry, our ability to draw from experience, approach problems in new ways, and transfer knowledge to the next generation is bringing us into the future.

Rendering of the Accretech facility in Portland, showing main entrance framed by wood features and with cherry blossom and Japanese maple trees in front.
Architectural Rendering of the Accretech Offices and Production Facility
Project timeline. Milestones shown: Site Selection, 30% SD, O'Brien D+B Selected, D+B Delivery Selection, Program Understanding, Advocation & Approvals, AHJ Submissions.
Project timeline showing important milestones and project phases.

Join us at the ¡Salud! Oregon Pinot Noir Auction on November 10-11, 2023, for a weekend of world-class Pinot Noir, gourmet cuisine and making a difference. Every glass of incredible Willamette Valley Pinot Noir poured, every curated auction lot, supports accessible healthcare for vineyard stewards and their families. Join us in raising your glass (and a paddle) to extraordinary wine with a purpose!

¡Salud! Auction 2018. Photo Credit: Kathryn Elsesser.

¡Salud! Services offers no-cost preventive medical, dental and vision care, directly to the vineyards. With bilingual, bicultural providers, ¡Salud! bridges gaps in healthcare accessibility, eliminating obstacles such as transportation, language, and cost.

O’Brien Design+Build is proud to support ¡Salud! and the incredible work they do. To offer your support and participate in the auction, click the links below.

Get event tickets

Bid online for exclusive offers

Photo Credit: Kathryn Elsesser