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  • 06 Aug 2018 3:49 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Where We Live: The Willamette Stone

    It established the basis for land claims in Oregon and 


    By: Ken Boddie   (Click for original article with photos)


    PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- One of Oregon's most important historical landmarks is also one of its least known.

    Surrounded by forest, down a tree-lined path in Portland's West Hills, you'll find the Willamette Stone.

    It's the exact spot where the first official government surveys were done, establishing the basis for land claims in Oregon and Washington as settlers flocked to the Oregon territory in the 1850s after the Donation Land Act.

    "And they could say, 'This is the block of land that goes to this family,' and 'This is the block of land that we're going to give to that family for them to start settlement on,' so it made a clear grid-like system that made the whole process easier," Oregon Park Ranger Deb Hill said.

    The project was led by John B. Preston, Oregon's first surveyor general. His crew used solar compasses, from the initial point to establish the Willamette Meridian and the Willamette Baseline.

    The surveyed lines run all the way from Puget Sound to California, from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho -- avoiding the Columbia River and Vancouver Lake.

    Many of the original surveys are still used today.

    Hill told KOIN 6 News, "So it's pretty amazing how accurate they were, given the time and the tools that they had."

    From a wooden stake in 1851, a stone obelisk was installed as the marker in 1885 -- the Willamette Stone. But after constant vandalism, the federal government replaced it with another marker in the 1980s. 

    The Willamette Stone State Park was established in 1945, which is where the Willamette Stone marker can be found. It's located just off Skyline Boulevard in the West Hills. It's one of 37 initial survey points throughout the U.S.

    So, when you take a look at the skylines and neighborhoods for towns in Oregon and Washington, know that it all started with the Willamette Stone.

  • 11 Jul 2018 8:10 AM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has been providing the Pacific Northwest with clean energy since 1937, and it has been responsible for surveying its infrastructure since inception.  Over the course of our 80 year history, we have been fortunate to preserve cadastral records across our seven state territory.  We are in the process of creating an ArcGIS Online (AGOL) environment where the individual cadastral records are georeferenced and original field notes can be searched.  We now have Idaho, Montana, and Oregon available for research and want to share this information with you!

    The data can be accessed through ArcGIS Online by searching for ‘BPA Cadastral’, then open the ‘APP’ icon at the bottom of the search.  You can also reach the same maps here:

    BPA Cadastral Control - Idaho

    BPA Cadastral Control - Montana

    BPA Cadastral Control - Oregon

    Please note that the location data was pulled mostly from GCDB values and should be used for research purposes only.  There is no warranty that monuments as noted should be held.  Please be sure to perform additional research and utilize this information for its’ historical value in perpetuating evidence.

    We will be periodically adding to the database, with Washington cadastral records to follow.  We continue to survey across BPA’s service area and will update current records at a regular interval, to be determined.  Please share this with others who may benefit as well.

  • 15 Jun 2018 12:14 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    ODOT Maps and Plans center is now online and open to the Public. The following link will take you to the web page where you can link to the “TransGIS” data portal to graphically locate the highway, route No.(ODOT secret highway number), and Mile Point (ODOT official MP) for your area of interest.

    Then go to the “Online Map Center” link and search for RW maps or Construction Plans using the information you got from the “TransGIS” to search, view and download PDF copies.

  • 14 May 2018 1:37 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Help Willamette Chapter Celebrate Student Appreciation Night

    The eighteenth PLSO Willamette Chapter Surveying Student Appreciation Night will take place on Monday, May 21, 2018 at OSU in the AG Science Room at La Sells Stewart Center from 6 to 9 PM.  Social period will start at 6 PM and dinner will start at 6:30.  

    The speaker will be Leonard A. Rydell, PE, PLS and WRE.  He will be speaking on "What Do You See".  He is a fiftieth year graduate of OSU in Civil Engineering and he will be sharing his reflections on his life and his profession.

    The event is free for surveying, geomatics, students and $35 Dollars for PLSO members and other attendees.  There will be a drawing for student door prizes at the end of the meeting.

    The Caterer needs a head count so interested parties need to have their registration completed by Monday, May 14th.  

    Register at

  • 07 May 2018 1:15 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    By: Lee Spurgeon, Education & Outreach Chair

    Last year there were more summer internships available than we had surveying students to fill those positions. There were about a dozen positions open that we were unable to fill. If you are thinking about hiring a summer intern, go to the PLSO Job & Internship Board and set up an ad earlier, rather than later. Once again, our goal is to get a surveying internship for every student that wants one.  Last year, we had one-hundred percent of the students who wanted an internship placed for the summer and we hope to repeat that success.

    If you are a student and want an internship, please go to the online Resume Bank and place your ad there.  Remember that you are in very high demand, so you can be a little bit picky about finding the situation which will best fit your needs in terms of salary, but infinitely more important, the learning opportunities you can hope to pick up this summer which will bolster the relevance of your course work and provide a better chance to put what you do in school into a real world context.

    This is truly a win-win program and I hope everyone can take advantage of what this program has to offer you.

  • 05 Mar 2018 3:40 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)


    February 28, 2018 – Las Vegas, Nevada

    The onsite part of the 2018 NSPS Student Competition began on Saturday February 17th with a logistics meeting and reception. The field exercise was done on Sunday on 80 acres of BLM land that was marked off into 12 individual sites (one for each team) upon which the only reference marker was the center point of what was to be a one-acre square parcel. Each team was instructed to lay out a one-acre square parcel and conduct a topographic survey of the parcel. A plat was to be drawn showing the boundary lines/monuments and the contours of the parcel. On Monday the teams moved inside to do their computations and create a boundary/topographic plat, and prepare for presentations to a panel of judges on Tuesday. The Competition concluded with presentation of awards on Wednesday 21st

    Regardless of their placement in the results, the teams showed visible relief that this intense time was over. Professional Surveyors who visited the presentation of results were impressed by the high standard of work done by ALL of the teams.

    2 year degree program first place went to: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (Green Bay)

    4 year degree program first place to Oregon Institute of Technology (Klamath Falls); second place to Texas A&M- Corpus Christi; third place to Utah Valley University (Orem).

    Congratulations to them and the other eight teams who received honorable mentions which are listed below in no particular order:

    • University of Akron Great Basin College (Elko, NV) Northern Illinois University (DeKalb) East Tennessee State University (Johnson City) Idaho State University (Pocatello) California State University (Fresno) University of Puerto Rico (Mayaguez) New Mexico State University

    Video interviews with the teams at their posters, and videos showing each team’s oral presentation, are being processed and soon will be available on the NSPS YouTube channel.

    In honor of Mike and Anne Besch, University of Akron, the First Place award, in both divisions, has been named after them

  • 05 Mar 2018 2:12 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)
    National Surveyors Week is Coming Up

    By: Frank Lenik, NSPS

    The theme for this year’s National Surveyors Week is communication. 

    A few years ago, then NSPS vice-president Cavell placed National Surveyors Week under the charge of the publicity committee, understanding then that the purpose of NSW is to get the word out. That the land surveying profession is vital to a stable democracy where land ownership is the basis for most family wealth accumulation. He never directed how it should be done, only that it become a part of the bigger picture of how the National Society of Surveyors engage with our constituents and the public.

    There are many ways to address surveyors in general and the public and we have continued in those tried and true veins. NSPS is again working with NOAA and the National Geodetic Survey on how to improve the geoid models for elevation so we can move towards better elevations from our instruments and migrate our data, both vertical and horizontal in 2022. This is a call for more GPS on Benchmark observations. We have done this for years but it is still an important educational tool for surveyors and the public. Many of you are already alerting the public and political entities in our regions through displays, news articles and proclamations. But there is more work to be done.

    I often hear surveyors lament about how GIS has negatively affected our profession. This is a misunderstanding of the problem caused by a misreading of the symptoms. GIS was perhaps the second major event caused by the democratization of technology in our field. The hand-held calculator was probably the first but I expect this will cause many discussions (steel tape, edm, etc). The development of hand held computing devices coupled with GNSS antennas has placed the ability to locate oneself on the earth at everyone’s finger tips. Everyone now has an answer, but few know where it comes from or how it was determined.

    This is an opportunity for the National Society of Professional Surveyors, and every state society to stake our claim as the experts in mapping points on the Earth. We can do that by opening our umbrella a little wider and reaching out to all those organizations who are using mapping tools in their work. This means departments of transportation, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Geological Survey, the Department of the Interior, universities and technical schools, construction companies, geographic information systems purveyors, drone operators and others who may possess the tools but not the understanding of accuracy and precision. It should be an educational effort not a prescriptive effort, using our knowledge as doorway to attract new members and perhaps even new customers.

    This is a call to arms that each one of you speak with, call, write or email someone in your circle and invite them to participate in National Surveyors Week. Remember that we are following in the footsteps of your forebears, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and so many others. Rise to the challenge and make a difference.

  • 08 Feb 2018 2:10 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Each year, PLSO awards scholarships to individuals pursuing a land surveying career, including those community college applicants who intend to transfer to eligible four-year college or will complete a degree leading to land surveying at the community college level. 

    Application deadline is March 1st!

  • 20 Nov 2017 12:04 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    NSPS Scholarship Deadline January 15th!

    Each year, through the National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation, over $30,000 dollars in scholarships funded by a variety of individuals, companies, and organizations are made available to encourage and support college education in geospatial sciences. These scholarships are a great opportunity for college students in surveying, mapping, geographic information systems, and geodetic science programs. The application deadline is January 15, 2018.

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