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Pacific Chapter Draws 160 to Portland Meeting

The Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Pacific Chapter met in Portland, Oregon on October 26 through 28, presenting Corps of Engineers contracts planned for 2012 and a full schedule of technical talks about dredging projects in the region. About 160 people attended the conference – 40 more than were expected. Allen Churchill, incoming president, urged those planning to attend the 2012 meeting in Alaska to register early, “even if they are just probably” coming, as accurate numbers will be important in that remote area.

Wednesday, October 26th was devoted to a Corps/dredging contractors meeting, followed by presentations by engineer district representatives describing their fy 2012 projects. An icebreaker that evening drew all attendees, giving them an opportunity to connect with new and existing colleagues.

On Thursday morning, Bill Hussin, chapter president, Bob Wetta, WEDA president, and Col. Robert Tipton, deputy commander of the Corps Northwestern Division opened the meeting.

A total of 13 papers were presented in two morning sessions. The field trip was a tour of Underground Portland – tunnels under the city. The Friday talks concluded with a chapter business meeting, followed by adjournment.

Technical Presentations

Testing of Automated Ullage Sensors for Material Verification on Hopper Dredges, by Karen Garmire, Tim Welp and Travis Davidson;

Portland COE Hydrographic Surveying Chart Modernization, by Mel Littell, Portland District;

Hydrographic Surveying – How the Specifications Directly Affect Dredge Pricing, by Mike Warwick of Manson Construction Co.;

Former Scott Paper Mill Remediation Project, by Becky Darden of the Port of Anacortes and Shane Phillips of Coast and Harbor Engineering;

Dredging Activities a the Former Scott Paper Mill Cleanup Project, by John Herzog, Geo Engineers;
Restoration and Enhancement of 280 Acres in South San Diego Bay, by Eileen Maher, Port of San Diego; and

Responses of Puget Sound Ports to Changes in Suitability Guidelines for Open Water Disposal, by Mark Larsen, Anchor QEA.

Allen Churchill described the Alaskan venue for the 2012 chapter meeting in September. He prefaced his remarks by recognizing Stephanie Stirling of the Seattle Engineer District and Doris McKillip of the Portland District, both of whom retired from the Corps and from WEDA at the end of 2011.

KcKillip told IDR that she “stumbled into dredging” when she joined the Corps at 23 years old. Thirty-six years later she is retiring with honor from government service, having participated in projects such as the dredging of volcanic ash from Mount St. Helens to managing the deepening of the Columbia River.

Stirling has seen decades of changes in technology in her career, from depending on typing pools to using e-mail almost exclusively for communication, and praises this as a planning tool, and as a resource tool, providing immediate access to experts on every topic. She has been an official mediator for the Seattle District for the past 10 years, and will spend time doing volunteer work in her retirement.
McKillip is leaving her plans open, to be announced after she and her husband spend time doing the travelling they have been putting off.

The luncheon guest speaker was Chester Orloff, a local historian and writer, who described interesting landmarks and events in Portland’s history, as a preview of a walking tour of the area scheduled for the group that afternoon.
Friday morning saw a full schedule, beginning at 8 a.m. with Vladimir Shepsis of Coast and Harbor Engineering and Rebecca Chafee presenting the Port of Willapa’s paper on Dredging and Flow Lane Disposal Projects.

Friday Talks

Decision to Remediate Sediments to meet TMDL’s Disposal Projects, by Matt Arms of the Port of Long Beach;

Using Sand Dredged from the San Francisco Main Ship
Bar Channel for Storm Damage Reduction at Ocean Beach, by John Dingler and colleagues at the San Francisco Engineer District;

Pine Mountain Lake Dredging, by Jaclyn Gnusti and colleagues at Moffatt & Nichol;

Dredging the Approaches to Beneath and Around a Historical Working Boathouse at the California Maritime Academy (the Perils of Eelgrass), by Len Cardoza of Weston Solutions;
Dredged Material Sampling Study, by James McMillan of the Corps Portland District; and

Structural and Hydraulic Analysis of Lower Columbia River Pile Dikes, by Carl Kassebaum of AECOM and Hans Moritz, Portland District.

At the Friday business meeting, outgoing president Bill Hussin was thanked for his years of service to the chapter, and Mohammed Chang, chief of the Los Angeles District Navigation Section, was installed as program chairman for 2012.

In his farewell remarks, Hussin said “The Pacific Chapter is the standard (for a good chapter meeting,) and thanked the Portland District and Port of Portland for hosting the meeting.

He announced that Leonard Juhnke would retire on January 1, 2012 after a long career with first the Corps of Engineers and then with Manson Construction Company.

The other officers all moved up to the next position. The new roster is: Allen Churchill, president; Steve Cappelino, vice president; Marcel Hermans, treasurer; Jayme Newbigging, secretary; and Mo Chang, program manager.

With promises to gather on September 5 though 7, 2012 at the Windsong Lodge in Seward, Alaska, the event was adjourned. The chapter officers will spend the coming months meeting by conference call once a week to plan the Alaska meeting.

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