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Eric Apalategui

Summer 2009

Harley Cowan—Chicken sedan

There’s an old knee-slapper that goes something like this: Why does a chicken coop have two doors? Because if it had four doors (drumroll, please) it would be a sedan!

“It’s a really lousy joke,” says architect Harley Cowan ‘96, who can’t help chuckling often these days after the “Chicken Sedan” he built for his backyard flock snared two of Portland’s top architectural honors, earning billing alongside designs for major condominium projects, university buildings, and medical facilities.

Spurred by wife Carrie’s interest in raising chickens  and armed with a bit of research, Cowan designed his combination coop and sheltered run with a classic A-frame, cedar-shingled … » More …

Spring 2009

Come MapWith.Us

Orest Pilskalns had electronic mapping on his mind long before coming to Washington State University, but it wasn’t until he was teaching a senior-level software engineering class the spring of 2006 that he knew he could realize his vision.

The assistant professor knew his students at WSU Vancouver had the skills and interest to tap into publicly-available map technology and adapt it for a wide variety of public uses.

“This is where you take the knowledge you’ve gained in other classes and apply it to a real-world problem,” says Pilskalns, who earned his doctorate in computer science at WSU in 2004. “We had a … » More …

Winter 2008

Joey Nelson – What he saw

In the rough-hewn world at Columbia Vista Corp.’s lumber mill near Vancouver, the sight of Joseph “Joey” Nelson ’00 pushing spectacles into place might invoke visions of Clark Kent there among the conveyor belts and screeching saws.

But if the workers around him knew that it’s Nelson’s laser-scanning equipment–technology he started developing as a high school kid–enabling their mill to convert raw logs into perfect lumber within seconds, they’d recognize a technological Superman in their midst.
Nelson founded his company, JoeScan, from his dorm room in Washington State University’s Streit Hall in 1999, the year before earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

A … » More …

Winter 2008

Measuring a career in elephant years

Rose-Tu warily eyes the stranger shuffling toward her. He is moving slowly and grasping the arm of a human she sees almost daily. As Matthew Maberry (D.V.M. ’47) plants his cane inside the Oregon Zoo’s elephant compound, he lifts his eyes and returns the look.

“The only trouble with elephants,” says Maberry, the Portland zoo’s first staff veterinarian, “is you can fall in love with them.”

Maberry—”Doc” to some—is eager to get started. Now up close to Rose-Tu, the 90-year-old presses an instrument against the elephant’s wrinkled belly. Inside, the first Asian elephant baby to be born at the zoo since 1994 is finishing its … » More …

Summer 2006

Uncommon access: Gaylord Mink shifts his focus from viruses to wild horses

Gaylord Mink, hunched over and quiet as a mule deer, picks his way through rugged rangeland near the center of the Yakama Indian Reservation.

Mink stops, straightens, and scans toward Dry Creek Elbow in the distance. Much closer, five wild horses lift their own heads to meet his gaze. They are all well within range.

The small band’s stallion snorts a warning as the nervous mares and a colt seem anxious to bolt. Mink snorts back, and the stallion circles even closer to take up the challenge, dragging his wary entourage in his wake.

Mink is a hunter who doesn’t pack a gun. He shoots … » More …

Spring 2008

Kathleen Sayce: Keeping a heritage alive

Wielding loppers, Kathleen Sayce cuts through brambles smothering a parcel in the heart of historic and otherwise tidy Oysterville on southwest Washington’s Willapa Bay.

Between a leaning red alder and a mangled Sitka spruce, Sayce (’78 M.S. Bot.) opens a narrow trail through native bittersweet, salmonberry, and red elderberry plants. With verve, she hacks invasive ivy and blackberry vines. In the center of the thicket she unveils shredded food wrappers, perhaps the plunder of black bears living on Long Beach Peninsula.

The science officer at ShoreBank Pacific, Sayce—-sporting a sheen of perspiration and bug repellant—-is no buttoned-down banker. She is the only working biologist or … » More …

Spring 2006

Kelly Smith

You don’t want to be around him when he loses…

Kelly Smith harbors such desire to win, that the coach gets testy for days before an ordinary baseball game. From the first pitch to the last, he’s usually demonstrative, typically pessimistic, and occasionally combative. Along the baseline, his eyes seem to radiate heat while his mouth hurls verbal spears.

If you only encountered Smith at the ballpark, you might see why he playfully describes his diamond demeanor with a term that won’t appear in this article.

“I think ‘intense’ is a nicer term,” offered Smith (’80 Ed., Soc. Stud.), a former Cougar star who became … » More …

Fall 2008

ROD: A True Story

Rod Retherford ’84 triumphed as an undersized athlete, but his plucky comeback tale has always been told in spaces that were too small to fully contain it. There were plenty of headlines in 1980 after a bullet ripped through the football player’s shoulder and lodged permanently in his neck, nearly killing him. Media interest soared after Retherford mounted a miraculous comeback and terrorized opposing offenses. When he left Martin Stadium behind, the story surfaced now and then, including a segment in the Legends of the Palouse film series by Jeff McQuarrie ’98. That in turn spurred a Washington State Magazine story» More …