in the news (131)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PRONGHORN CAN'T JUMP
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august 2014 | by michael warner

I always had a soft spot for pronghorn while working in Yellowstone. They never got the press that other animals did! Gaggles of tourists follow elk calves in the spring and their testosterone-fueled fathers in the fall. Bison are bison. Bears cause their own traffic jams, and as for wolves, well... A wolf can't so much as breathe in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem without someone writing an Op-Ed about it!

I'm not denying any of the aforementioned animals their glory. I just hate to see the struggles of the pronghorn brushed aside. Urban sprawl, roads, and fences (yes, fences - anyone who has watched the heartbreaking scene of a small herd of pronghorn stopped cold by barbed wire can tell you, pronghorn can't jump!) have made it difficult for pronghorn to migrate. In one spot near Pinedale, Wyoming, development has cut one route to just a half mile wide. Increased traffic has led to more and more pronghorn being hit crossing the highway. Thankfully, efforts to protect this migration have cumulated in the construction of innovative crossing structures.

Naturally, I was excited to have this project as my first Sea Reach assignment. I could go on and on about what inspired me, but the simple answer is pronghorn are remarkable. These great animals need our help, and the steps being taken to preserve this ancient migratory route are a huge undertaking. This project deserves all of the recognition it can get, and I'm overjoyed to be a part of it!

A MARY POPPIN'S EXHIBIT
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august 2014 | by susan jurasz

Mary Poppins had a magical bag. On her first day at work as a nanny for the Banks family, she pulls from her carpet bag a series of items that could not possibly have fit: a full size hat stand, for example, a mirror for her wall, a floor lamp (lighted without electricity), and even a large potted plant.

This is the perfect scene to imagine for our visitor center installation in Big Cottonwood Canyon outside Salt Lake City, Utah. The exhibits are designed to fill a 30 x 40 room (1200 square feet), and then collapse into small manageable containers for storage during the winter. The Visitor Center at Silver Lake is visited by hundreds of people a day in the summer - families hiking, fishing, and enjoying the beauty of canyons. During the winter, Solitude is a popular ski resort and the visitor center is transformed into the place to rent skis and snowshoes. The project was funded by two partners: US Forest Service and the City of Salt Lake. In addition to fabricating and installing the exhibits, Sea Reach developed a detailed manual for the assembly and disassembly of the exhibits - all manageable by a two person team.

A CLASSIC TRANSFORMATION
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july 2014 | by linda repplinger

When I arrived at the construction site in September, it was hot, dusty, dry and steep. Since then, the park has gone through a great transformation to lush green lawns and meandering paths. Recently, the newly renovated Huntington Park reopened to the public. The renovations and development of City Hall Plaza were a gift from Avista, who operates several hydroelectric developments along the Spokane River, including two dams in downtown Spokane.

Purple gondolas from Expo '74 follow the route of the park as it terraces down a hill toward the Spokane River. A wide concrete staircase next to the river covers the penstock where water rushes through to a giant Kaplan turbine inside an underground powerhouse. Vibrations from the spinning turbine can be felt from its lid! Interesting artifacts from historic hydroelectric projects, such as a turbine are placed along the pathways, and metal sculptures of a man on horseback and a lady smoking salmon give a glimpse into the importance of this river to the Spokane Tribe.

As part of sprucing up the park, Sea Reach worked with Jeff Frost from REC Resources on a series of exhibits to highlight the rich history of life and hydroelectric development here. The exhibits use colors and design elements that harmonize with the look and feel of the new park. We also designed and fabricated directional signs and a large kiosk using cast metal components to compliment the historic-style streetlights. The quick transformation from an inaccessible and unkempt spot along the river to a enjoyable destination is a sight to behold!

IMAGINE YOURSELF
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july 2014 | by susan jurasz | show project

Walk with a member of the Nuwuvi in their sacred place of beginning: the Spring Mountains. If you listen for what they hear, look for what they see, and try to understand what they know, you will experience an awakening to the world around you.

Deep in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, at the base of Catherdral Rock, is a large picnic area. Within it stands a cluster of steel sculptures - a man with a drum, a child collecitng pine nuts, and a woman gathering medicinal herbs in a basket. Contrasting with the weathering steel, engraved bronze plates share the Nuwuvi's perspective. Exhibit panels and interactive displays illuminate these people's daily interaction with their homeland.

RECONNECTING WITH THE PAST
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july 2014 | by cory schott

Located in southwest Portland, Fanno Creek Trail is located on a long-abandoned rail line. In this quiet suburban neighborhood it is hard to imagine the loud whistles and clanking of the wheels of trains that moved commuters, golfers, and logs back and forth between Portland and its suburbs.

To reflect some of the area's historical diversity, we created three interpretive exhibits that highlight: (1) how the rail line brought new recreational opportunities to Portlanders (including golf and horse riding) in the early 1900s; (2) how the community came together to create a trail on the abandoned line; (3) how Fanno Creek got its name, lost it, and then got it again (in the 1960s the creek was locally known as Drano Creek because of the sewer waste that flowed into the creek).

Part of what made this job fun was the creative license given to us by the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District. The exhibits are designed to look like old Oregon Electric Railroad signs, with a distinctive flourish on top and bright splashes of color make the exhibits stand out.

WORKING GROUPS
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june 2014 | by cory schott

Poor lighting. Bad carpeting. Inattentive attendees. A few people that just want to hear their own voice - regardless of the topic at hand. These are the mental images most people conjure up when they think about a public forum.

Recently Sea Reach was invited to give two public presentations about the preliminary designs for Boise's wayfinding system. These meetings, it turned out, shattered our illusions of what a public meeting can be and what it can achieve when concerned people come together.

First, the non-traditional format allowed for greater feedback on the look and feel of the system. After a quick recap and comments about the science of wayfinding, prearranged groups dove into the task of providing written feedback about all aspects of the designs - from materials and color to typography and maps. These comments will help guide the final design. Team leaders at each table helped to keep groups on task and moving ahead. Sea Reach's wayfinding team moved about to answer any questions.

Second, the setting of the public meeting helped to lighten the mood while at the same time afforded plenty of opportunity to interact with the public. Held at the historic Rose Room in downtown Boise, natural light and enough room made everyone feel comfortable. Food and drinks ensured that everyone remained happy and energetic.

Finally, the real reason for the success of these meetings were the people who came out and thoughtfully contributed. We were constantly impressed by how excited the people of Boise were about this system and grateful for their comments. "We really do care...," was a phrase overheard more than once.

Read more in the Boise Weekly.

NO HITCH

june 2014 | by megan whitaker

Mt. McKinley's 20,320 feet loomed large in the airplane windows as we flew from Anchorage to Fairbanks on a crystal clear Alaska day. Our destination was two hours south on Highway 3, fringed with skinny trees of the Arctic north, to the McKinley Chalet Lodge.

In the midst of a large remodeling project, the resort had literally moved buildings so more rooms had a view of the Nenana River. We were asked to provide a quick and easy wayfinding solution for this year's tourist season. Our team designed building signs to give each building a letter designation and small metal oval plaques that contained both the building letter and the room number to replace the existing wooden plaques that were organizational chaos and difficult for short-stay visitors to understand.

The weeks leading up to the install were a beehive of activity in our production shop. Large building signs, smaller building directionals and finally the 288 small ovals that would be nailed to the wooden ovals all had to be ready to ship a week prior to our arrival. We also packed all the tools we "might" need for our project. There is not a Home Depot just down the street, so preparation was imperative for success.

Fortunately, the install went without a hitch and signage was installed within a day and a half of our arrival. This allowed us to take in the surrounding beauty and even spot some of the classic mega-fauna of the north: moose, caribou, and a bald eagle.

MT. MCKINLEY SWAT TEAM
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june 2014 | by ben harrison

An installation is a run. You don't have time to leisurely stroll along with the knowledge that you'll get there eventually. You have three days to position and install 50 building markers, renumber 260 rooms, and place maps around the site. So you run. And that is exactly what we did upon waking that first day in Denali Alaska, jet-lagged and cold in the morning sun.

I had never been to Alaska before. I expected frigid temperatures and poor working conditions. I was pleasantly surprised to find this was not that case. We woke to perfect weather and bright sunlight that quickly thawed the morning cold. So we started our sprint. We worked diligently, expecting the weather to turn against us before lunch. As morning turned to afternoon, the sun continued to shine and our fears of icy rain turned into desires to find shade from the constant sun. We raced on unhindered by weather, and by the time we decided to break for dinner (it stayed light until 10:30 pm so twilight was not an accurate measure of time) we found we had completed over half of the install work!

The next morning we woke, cold again, but quickly warming under the uninterrupted sun. The end was in sight now, so we ran. By midday we had installed every sign we brought with us. We were finished; we had finished our race ahead of schedule. This sort of thing just doesn't happen. Sometimes a specific tool or piece of hardware is misplaced and a local replacement needs to be obtained. Other times it is a mad dash to make sure everything is in its place before we head home. But not this time. This time we had run so hard and so fast expecting delays that we came to the finish line ahead of schedule, leaving us a little time to bask in that glorious Alaskan sunshine before heading back home.

HOME SWEET HOME

may 2014 | by susan jurasz

Already known for its rolling vineyards and pastoral scenery, Yamhill County, Oregon, is looking to build its economy by encouraging businesses to consider this lovely area as a home base. As part of this outreach effort, several successful businesses were chosen to highlight the reasons that this area is a great place to live and work. Sea Reach was one of them.

A team from Grow Yamhill County came to Sea Reach to capture us at work and find out why Sea Reach remains committed to this corner of the Willamette Valley. The interview crew spent an afternoon getting to know the staff and production facilities in Sheridan and then spent another day with an installation team at Powell Butte to see the results of our work firsthand.

FOLLOW THE BREAD CRUMBS
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may 2014 | by melissa boettcher

After completion of an interpretive master plan for Portage Valley, Alaska, we were recently tasked with creating a wayfinding manual. Like a bread crumb trail a comprehensive plan is developed to lead visitors to the many destinations on this stretch of road.

Mentally driving down the highway; we created a series of signage concepts for the monumental gateways that welcome you to the site, then directionals to cue you destinations nearby, and finally site identifiers to acknowledge you have reached your desired amenity.

The challenge for this project was to gracefully intertwine another use of the valley as a section of the "Trail of Blue Ice." Large pedestrian kiosks and interpretive signs guide the user throughout the site. These over scaled structures are designed to weather the large amounts of snow and blasting winds that sweep through the canyon.

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