Washington State Magazine

Summer 2007

Summer 2007

In This Issue...


It felt like coming home :: With Lane Rawlins, Washington State University has "become what a lot of people envisioned it could be." Even though he has plenty of ideas of what to do next, it is time to hand over the presidency. by Hannelore Sudermann

The presidents :: The fledgling Washington State Agricultural College hired and fired two presidents in two years. But then Enoch Bryan arrived, with his vision of a college of science and technology "shot through and through with the spirit of the liberal arts." Since Bryan, the succeeding presidents of Washington State University have established something of a rhythmic cycle of stirring things up and reconciliation, with lots of good drama and ideas mixed in. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Our Story: WSU presidents I have known (or known of) :: The secretary of Glenn Terrell and Clement French gives the lowdown on her former bosses and their predecessors. by Gen De Vleming }

Counting cougs :: Between 1995, the year before Washington banned the hunting of cougars with hounds, and 2000, the number of human-cougar encounters nearly quadrupled. Although encounters have returned to pre-ban levels in some areas, the public perception is that cougars are making a comeback—and must be stopped. But Hillary Cooley and Rob Wielgus insist that much of what we think we know about cougars is wrong. And their argument rests with the young males. by Cherie Winner

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Counting Cougs :: Stalking the wild—and elusive—cougar with graduate student Hilary Cooley in northeastern Washington. A photo gallery by Robert Hubner. }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Project CAT :: In September 2006, photographer Robert Hubner joined graduate students Hilary Cooley and Ben Maletzke on a trip to capture and collar a cougar kitten, with the help of students from the Cle Elum-Roslyn schools' Project CAT. }

Biology by the numbers:: In normal times, Europe's brown bears live in a state of happy equilibrium. But under certain circumstances, things can go seriously awry, leading the males to commit what researcher Robert Wielgus calls sexually selected infanticide. Wielgus's most powerful tool against this eventuality is math. by Cherie Winner

Hops & beer :: Raising the raw ingredients for beer can be just as complex and interesting as growing grapes for wine, says Jason Perrault '97, '01. Like grapes, hops have different varieties and characteristics. Perrault, fourth-generation heir to a hops-farming legacy, runs a hops breeding program for Yakima Valley growers, helping to ensure that Washington continues to provide three-quarters of the hops grown in this country. by Hannelore Sudermann


:: World Class. Face to Face. It's not a slogan, it's a plan. President Rawlins shares some parting thoughts on the eve of his retirement.

:: Questioning the questions

:: Happy—and healthy—ever after


:: FOOD AND FORAGE: It's rhubarb pie time!

:: SPORTS: Baseball's my game

:: SPORTS: Hoop dreams


Cover: V. Lane Rawlins steps down as WSU's ninth president, having given the University a stronger sense of itself and its role in the state. Read the story. Illustration by Steve O'Brien.

In 2005, Portland's aerial tram was seriously behind schedule and faced huge cost overruns. That's when Rob Barnard '84 'parachuted in.'

In 2005, Portland's aerial tram was seriously behind schedule and faced huge cost overruns. That's when Rob Barnard '84 'parachuted in.' Bill Wagner

Rob Barnard: An uplifting endeavor

by | © Washington State University

When Rob Barnard '84 was earning degrees in architecture and construction management, his professors scheduled project deadlines and tests on the same day.

"What that was teaching you was time management, how to work with a small amount of sleep and under pressure," says Barnard, who brought that work ethic home to Portland. During the next two decades, the once-sleepy Rose City gained acclaim for innovatively solving urban problems, including transportation woes that vex most cities. Barnard's blueprints are all over that reputation.

In magazine rankings last year, Men's Journal deemed Portland the best place to live in the United States, praising its "nearly flawless" public transit system; Prevention christened it America's best walking town; and Bicycling named it the nation's top place to pedal.

But in 2005, Portland's reputation had seemed ready to unravel.

The city was building the West Coast's only aerial commuter tram between Oregon Health & Science University on Marquam Hill to former industrial land along the Willamette River. OHSU had agreed to anchor that South Waterfront redevelopment with future expansions there--but only if the city built the tram, which would provide a three-minute ride down the hill and over Interstate 5 to connect the campuses.

Two years into the tram project, however, construction was behind schedule and far over-budget, eventually reaching $57 million. OHSU officials were worried. Residents beneath the tram route were incensed. Politicians were talking. The media was frenzied. Careers were on the line.

That's when Rob Barnard "parachuted in," as one admirer describes it.

Early in his career, the newest architect at Zimmer Gunsul Frasca worked on the gleaming Portland Convention Center before managing construction of a nearby MAX light rail station.

Vic Rhodes lured him to the city, where Barnard managed a series of transportation-related improvements that renewed the once-frayed Lloyd District into a commerce and entertainment mecca. Barnard moved to the Eastbank Esplanade, transforming neglected riverside real estate into an attractive pedestrian parkway. He was solving the city's worst railroad and roadway bottleneck when he was assigned to take over the tram project in late 2005.

Rhodes, by then a private consultant, himself got caught in the tram's political blender. He made this parting recommendation: "There's one guy I know that can get the job done for you, and that's Rob Barnard."

"His work ethic was borderline manic," says Geoff Owen ('95 Civ. Engr.), Barnard's counterpart at tram contractor Kiewit Pacific Co. in Vancouver. "He brings to the table a feeling of partnership instead of one of antagonism."

Barnard, in his own words, came in as an "agent for change" on a project mired in cost overruns due to design upgrades and spiking steel and concrete prices. Getting the tram back on track required a realistic budget, sufficient staff, complex engineering solutions, and a rededicated team.

Barnard handed over the keys to the tram December 1 last year, two weeks ahead of schedule. Once the sleek Swiss-built aerial cars took flight, the din of praise nearly drowned old criticisms. The Oregonian editorialized that ". . . the tram will burnish the city's reputation for innovation and renovation." The New York Times called the ride "a thrill."

Polite and diplomatic, Barnard refuses to lay blame and is eager to share credit. "It's not 'The Rob Show,'" he says.

The stakes went beyond the South Waterfront, where a burgeoning riverside community promises 10,000 jobs and 5,000 high-rise condominium dwellers.

"If the tram hadn't been built," says Mark B. Williams, OHSU's South Waterfront director, "right now we would be in the middle of a mega-lawsuit between OHSU and the city."

That in turn could have stifled Portland's progress.

"To do great things, you have to have partners. Nobody has a big pot of money," Barnard says. "It is just a tram, but it's a symbol for what the region does. We take a complex problem, look at innovative solutions, pool our resources, and build it."

Barnard is on to the next great thing, joining TriMet to manage the transit agency's expansion of light-rail service in downtown Portland, part of a larger plan for light rail, including ambitions to cross north into Vancouver.

"I would love the opportunity to work on those [projects] if TriMet thought I was the right person to do it," says Barnard, who works five and a half days a week for his new bosses and Sundays wrapping up the tram project. "I still have to prove myself and do a good job."

Categories: Alumni, Architecture and design | Tags: Portland

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