Oregon Zoo Elephant Lands

Portland, OR

Oregon Zoo


SRG Partnership


Lease Crutcher Lewis


LEED Gold Certified

Services/Project Type
Structural Engineering
Civil Engineering
Utility Infrastructure
Land Use and Master Planning
Surface Water Management

KPFF provided civil and structural engineering services for this major Asian Elephant exhibit and campus improvement project at the Oregon Zoo. Our work was coordinated with a multidisciplinary team to redevelop a large portion of the 20-acre zoo campus with major utility infrastructure improvements, new service road, new rail alignment for the Zoo Train, new Birds of Prey Holding Building, new Tiger Plaza to serve as a temporary event space, and visitor path and amenity improvements along the perimeter of the elephant exhibit project. The designs addressed complexities due to areas of historic landslide instability and seasonal high groundwater crossing the Zoo campus. The broad footprint of the project required extensive coordination of construction phasing for continuous operation of the Zoo and maintaining visitor safety. Civil services also included support of Conditional Use Master Plan Land Use and environmental permit applications for work in an environmental overlay zone.

Nearly everything about this project was novel: working with a massive landslide area instead of trying to fix it, creating usable land where there was none, tripling habitat size while at the same time improving elephant health, reducing energy demands by 60% and greenhouse gas emissions by 40%. An innovative rooftop rainwater collection/recycling system and energy-efficient geothermal heating round out an array of sustainable features. The team met a host of significant and unusual challenges with tenacity and a meticulously staged and phased construction process that engaged the public and averted complaints. Zoo attendance never fell. The most rewarding result of Elephant Lands for the team, though, was this: seeing elephants with room to roam, healthier elephants enjoying their home with new vigor and curiosity.


Awards & Recognition

DJC Top Projects, Project of the Year 2016, DJC Oregon, 2016

Excellence in Concrete, Commercial, Oregon Concrete & Aggregate, 2016

Excellence in Concrete Judge's Choice, Oregon Concrete & Aggregate, 2016

Engineering Excellence Awards, Honor Award, ACEC Oregon, 2016

Better Bricks CRE Award, Portland Business Journal, 2015