Dec 13, 2021

2021 Year in Review

From all of us at Osborn Consulting, we send our gratitude for your support and partnership throughout 2021 and wish you health and good cheer through the holidays and 2022. This year we have much to be thankful for. Some highlights from this year include:

This summer we officially opened our new Bellingham office! While this office may be new, our presence in Whatcom County certainly isn’t. We’ve enjoyed delivering a variety of critical infrastructure projects over the years with clients such as the City of Bellingham, Lummi Tribe, and Whatcom County Public Works. Our team is excited for the opportunity to support Northern Washington clients with our physical location.

In addition to being able to better serve clients in Whatcom County, this growth opportunity aligns with OCI’s commitment to its employees to provide flexibility with their work and lifestyle preferences—where, for some, smaller cities, reduced commutes, and smaller offices are a wonderful option. Peter Wurden-Foster, PE, who manages the new Bellingham office, moved with his family from Seattle to Bellingham a few years ago to get closer to the outdoors, and the character of Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham had him sold instantly. On the first Friday of every month, you will find Peter out at the local Art Walk and enjoying a beer from the many local breweries. Peter says, “having a physical office where I live allows us to meet and collaborate in a proper office setting while being better positioned to tailor our services to meet our clients’ needs”.

At the end of 2020, OCI established our very first scholarship fund through the Renton Regional Community Foundation for upcoming professionals in our industry. The Osborn Consulting Scholarship was founded to support ambitious Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students with demonstrated financial need who were or will be pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree at accredited programs in landscape architecture or civil engineering. We focused on identifying students with a commitment to developing public infrastructure and/or public spaces in the state of Washington. OCI is delighted to have awarded this year’s scholarship to two deserving students and look forward to continuing the scholarship program in 2022. Read more about our scholarship recipients here.

OCI’s Fish Passage Studio has been operating in full force this year to respond to many fish passage barrier removal projects across Western Washington. We are proud to have partnered with local and state agencies to correct barriers and improve habitat of critical species in our communities. WSDOT is delivering an exceptional number of hydraulic designs for fish barrier removal projects this year and in the coming years. OCI’s WSDOT FPSRD-Certified staff have worked on 24 preliminary hydraulic designs (PHDs) this year alone! PHDs are the first step in correcting barriers throughout Western Washington and set the stage for successful design.

We have had the joy of seeing Kokanee salmon working their way through the newly replaced Ebright Creek Culvert for the City of Sammamish, led by OCI and constructed this summer. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post all about the design and construction of this important fish passage project.

This year our team has also been working a lot on stormwater best management practices (BMP) designs in support of fish passage projects to provide improvements in water quality within these critical fish habitat areas. This involves integrating three sets of stormwater regulations into the site, including the Department of Ecology, retrofit requirements, and Environmental Species Act requirements. We have sited 60+ water quality BMPs treating runoff from over 20 acres of roadway pavement. Our team sited BMPs within very challenging sites with steep slopes, wetlands, and limited available space to place the facilities. It has been rewarding to make real improvements to water quality right next to the streams being improved for critical fish species!

This fall we enjoyed a fun and educational APWA Fall Conference in person in Yakima, where OCI fish passage designers presented on our many lessons learned, tips, and tricks for approach fish passage barrier prioritization, planning, design, and construction. If your jurisdiction is interested, we would be happy to share these lessons learned with you over a lunch meeting!

This year we have had the pleasure of supporting several cities with their programs to repair and replace aging storm and sewer pipes. Looking back at a year of repairs, we are excited to see we have designed close to 80,000 LF of storm and sewer pipe repairs and replacements in 2021! Proactively approaching management of a citywide storm and sewer pipe network helps to avoid larger emergency projects that often result from failing systems. From our NASSCO-certified staff reviewing CCTV footage to prioritizing, planning, designing, and supporting construction of repairs and replacements, OCI enjoys working closely with public agencies to ensure a healthy and long-lasting pipe repair program.

We are inspired by the cutting-edge work coming out of our Stormwater Research and Compliance group, including our recent study on Structural Stormwater Controls (SSC) published on the Washington Stormwater Center website here (and more information posted in our recent blog article here), as well as multiple successful studies on the effectiveness of various stormwater BMPs and Education & Outreach programs for agencies across the state. We also celebrated several successful grant applications to support our clients’ future work. Our research team includes staff in Spokane and Western Washington who are assisting clients with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) compliance and more!

Our Landscape Architecture and Urban Design group has continued to progress innovative solutions for schools, including the award-winning outdoor learning at Salish Coast Elementary, which features a community garden and bike/walk lanes. We are proud to support projects like this that create meaningful, place-based collaborative learning. In addition to several new and improved school and playground projects, our team has enjoyed developing projects with OCI’s civil engineers, such as regional stormwater systems and fish passage improvement projects.

This October marked the opening of the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge in Seattle! OCI is proud to have developed the stormwater management design, which relied on close coordination with multiple stakeholders. The site is located on North Seattle Community College campus, crosses through and over private parcels, WSDOT right-of-way, City of Seattle right-of-way, and a WSDOT-owned park and ride lot. Additionally, stormwater mitigation for the nearby Sound Transit station improvements was relocated as part of the project. We developed a stormwater design that met standards and criteria from all these stakeholders. In addition to the complex stakeholder coordination, the site itself is constricted, limiting the possible options for stormwater management. Our approach to managing stormwater onsite worked within the surrounding conditions and provided dispersion where possible, reducing the amount of stormwater runoff and further helping to improve water quality in the basin. Check out this awesome drone video of the completed bridge:

We are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had this year to work, dream, build, and create together. From all of us at Osborn Consulting, we wish you happy holidays and a joyful new year!

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