• 10 Feb 2015 5:16 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)
    To all Chapter presidents and PLSO Board members:

    Greetings from your executive committee. This is a request for you to place an item on the agenda for your next chapter meeting. The issue here is clarification on how auction proceeds are used for both scholarships and outreach, and how the scholarship program works.

    Over the last two years, the PLSO Board has decided to split the conference auction proceeds between the scholarship fund and the outreach effort, which is administered by the Education Goals and Action Committee, or EGAC. Tim Kent said it best: We won't need a scholarship program if there are no Geomatics students to apply (that's a paraphrase).

    At the 2014 conference we started two new fund raisers: the bag-of-cash 50-50 auction and the bag-of-cash raffle. This year, we included an option to donate on the registration form as well as Paddle Raise at the Auction. Here is how things work:

    Dollars funneled into scholarships do NOT go straight to scholarships. Rather, they go into the scholarship fund that is administered by the Oregon Student Assistance Commission (OSAC). That money becomes a permanent part of the fund, and the principal cannot be used. Only the investment dividends can be used and are distributed annually in the form of scholarships. As the fund grows, so do the dividends. Presently the fund holds approximately $260,000 (that's over a quarter million dollars), and in 2014 the fund made enough for PLSO to award $14,500 in scholarships. That is actually more than was contributed to the fund.  

    Over the last two years the Board looked at the fund and the demand for scholarships and decided that the scholarship fund is healthy and that the need for outreach has become critical enough to start splitting the auction dollars between said fund and EGAC. The actual split is decided each year at the board meeting following the conference.

    The company or individual donating items to the auction were able to designate which fund their item proceeds would be directed. The proceeds of the newly added donation activities mentioned above are explained below:

    The 50-50 Raffle and Registration Donations are directed to the Outreach Fund. The Bag O’ Cash Raffle and Paddle Raise are directed to the Scholarship Fund.

    This year PLSO raised $7,200 – thank you to everyone that participated. In April, your Board of Directors, with guidance from Scholarship Committee Chair Ben Stacy and EGAC Chair Lee Spurgeon, will look at amounts not specifically designated to particular funds from this year’s efforts and vote on where the money will be directed. It is important for PLSO members to understand how their donations are being used and to appreciate the critical need for outreach to attract young people to the profession. Members have a voice in how auction funds are distributed. That voice is their chapter's leaders, board members who represent their chapters and who decide how the auction dollars are used.

    Thank you for sharing this information with your chapter.

  • 10 Feb 2015 4:30 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    NSPS Executive Director Curt Sumner has recently been approached by the Skill Assessment Team of Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to again assist in a U.S. Department of Labor effort to identify occupation experts who can help to insure that occupation descriptions listed in the O*NET database are current and accurate. The two categories for which descriptions are being updated are Surveyor and Surveying Technician.

    Volunteer participants identified by NSPS should have five (5) or more years of experience, or supervisory/training experience, in the respective categories for which they will provide input. Participants will be asked to complete O*NET questionnaires. The O*NET team has specifically asked that NSPS seek out current Surveying Technicians as part of the group that reviews the technician category.

    Anyone interested in participating, or has staff they believe can contribute, should contact Curt Sumner. Please include your name, address, phone and email. There is likely to be a time lag between the time a person volunteers and when they are contacted by O*NET.

  • 27 Jan 2015 10:09 AM | PLSO Office (Administrator)


    January 25, 2015, Tigard, Ore. – The Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon (PLSO), a non-profit trade association that represents the surveying profession in Oregon, announced David Williams as the 2014 Surveyor of the Year. Williams is President of Hickman, Williams and Associates in Bend.

    “Surveyor of the Year is one the highest honors that PLSO bestows,” explained John Thatcher, Chairman of PLSO’s Board of Directors. “The honoree has to demonstrate a history of high competence, integrity and professionalism, as well as assisted other surveyors in advancement within the profession. David Williams has demonstrated this throughout his career and I am proud to have handed him his award.”

    Williams, Oregon PLS 2686, is a graduate of Oregon State University in Mechanical Engineering. He started his career managing pipeline camps in Alaska before settling in Bend in the mid-70’s, where he thrived in the engineering and surveying business as project manager for George Cook Engineering. His years with Cook established William’s local reputation as a bright, hardworking, honest and business savvy surveyor. As he moved on to Century West Engineering Corporation, he and future partner Gary Hickman pushed the envelope of cutting edge technology before forming their own firm in 1987. Hickman, Williams and Associates, a full-service surveying, engineering and land use planning company, is now solely run by Williams and one of the first companies in Bend to fully commit to using GPS and RTK as a standard tool for increasing efficiency without compromising accuracy under our wide open satellite filled skies.

    Williams is well known in Central Oregon as an amiable and sensible proponent for the land surveying profession, particularly in the area of conducting business professionally and profitably. He keeps in contact with other local surveyors and is always open to discuss survey related issues, contentious or otherwise, with his peers from competing firms. He has forged friendships and alliances with local builders, developers, realtors, planners and title companies – often stressing the importance of hiring a professional land surveyor to ensure property boundaries are established and marked.

    In addition to his firm, Williams has been a member of PLSO since 1977, currently serving on its Board of Directors as the Central Chapter President for the second time and has spent time teaching classes at Central Oregon Community College. He and his wife Trudy have two grown daughters, Katie and Kelly.

    # # #

    The Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon, based in Tigard, represents more than 500 licensed land surveyors and associates. It serves the land surveying industry in Oregon through professional education and outreach, holding paramount the interests of the public. To learn more visit Executive Secretary Aimee McAuliffe may be reached at 503.303.1472.

  • 08 Dec 2014 5:28 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Remember to include an item or two for donation to the 2015 PLSO Auction during your shopping this Christmas holiday.  You might even find some special bargains by scrutinizing sales after Christmas. 

    Register your donations early to assist tracking and organizing the auction.  Donors will automatically be entered in a raffle with any donation having a fair market value of $50 or more.  Donations must be registered by December 31, 2014.  The three cash prizes to be awarded are: 1st - $50; 2nd - $30; 3rd - $20.

    Click here to register your donation.  The blank donation form is to be printed and completed, then sent to the PLSO Office by mail, fax or email.  Please contact the PLSO Office if there are questions.

    Gary Johnston

    Auction Chairman

  • 08 Dec 2014 4:55 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Children’s book about bridges will be released soon

    By: Inka Bajandas in Architecture and Engineering November 19, 2014 4:31 pm

    A five-year volunteer effort to create a children’s book highlighting the history and engineering of Portland-metro bridges will culminate next month when 5,000 printed copies are distributed to public schools in Portland and Vancouver, Wash.

    About 1,500 copies of “The Big and Awesome Bridges of Portland and Vancouver – a Book for Young Readers and Their Teachers” will be available for sale to the general public, said bridge historian Sharon Wood Wortman, who co-authored the 240-page book with her husband, Ed Wortman, a retired bridge engineer. The pair also co-authored “The Portland Bridge Book,” a guide to metro-area bridges.

    The book soon will be for sale online at and in the gift shop at the Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave. in Portland, Sharon Wood Wortman said. Copies also will be available for purchase on Dec. 7 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Oregon Historical Society’s “Holiday Cheer: a Celebration of Oregon Authors” event and at the “Big and Awesome Bridges” official launch party on Dec. 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Community Hall Annex at Portland Community College’s Southeast campus, 2305 S.E. 82nd Ave.

    A $25,000 donation from Portland Public Schools helped get the books printed. They will be especially helpful for teaching a bridge unit that has long been a part of the district’s third grade curriculum, Sharon Wood Wortman said.

    “The Big and Awesome Bridges of Portland and Vancouver” includes historical information about 22 bridges that cross the Willamette and Columbia rivers in Portland, Oregon City and Vancouver, and interviews with bridge operators and engineers. It also has instructions for teachers to help their students build and load-test their own bridge models.

    The printing process is nearly finished. Copies will be ready to deliver to school libraries and classrooms in Portland and Vancouver by mid-December, Sharon Wood Wortman said.

  • 05 Nov 2014 11:16 AM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Reviewing Chicken Scratches on Unofficial Returns

    By: Darrell W. Fuller, PLSO Lobbyist


    “It was a dark and stormy night” and when all the ballots are counted, the numbers will have changed little in the Oregon Legislature.  All 60 House seats were up for re-election while 16 of the 30 Senate seats were on the ballot (76 total legislative races).  Let’s look at the numbers.


    After the 2012 election, the Oregon Senate had 16 Democrats and 14 Republicans and the Oregon House of Representatives had 34 Democrats and 26 Republicans.  After this year’s  election, the Oregon Senate will have 17 Democrats and 13 Republicans*and the Oregon House will have 35 Democrats and 25 Republicans.


    Millions and millions of dollars -- much of it from out-of-state billionaires -- were spent on these 76 Legislative races, all for a net partisan shift of only one seat in the State Senate and one seat in the State House.  And out of 61 incumbents running for re-election, 59 won.


    Of the 16 State Senate races, 15 had an incumbent running and 14 of those 15 incumbents won.  The only incumbent to lose: State Sen. Betsy Close (R-Albany).  This race is why Democrats gained one seat in the Senate.


    Only one State House incumbents lost: State Rep. Jim Thompson (R-Dallas) lost in the May Primary to a more conservative Republican.  Of the 60 House members, 46 campaigned for re-election and 45 won.


    While a partisan shift of +1 Democrat in the Senate may seem insignificant, next year’s Legislative Session will likely demonstrate how important a one-seat shift can be in politics.  With last session’s razor thin 16-14 Democratic majority in the Senate, conservative-leaning Democratic State Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) sometimes sided with the GOP on controversial bills, creating a 15-15 tie. (Controversial?  Think gun control, for example.)  Those controversial bills never made it to the Governor’s desk.  Now, with a 17-13 Democratic majority, even if Sen. Johnson continues to vote with the GOP on controversial issues, they will pass 16-14, assuming Senate Republicans can’t convince another Democrat to cross party lines.


    Across the nation, Republicans had a big night on election day.  The GOP took control of the U.S. Senate and substantially increased their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Oregon was an outlier.  Democrats will continue to control the Office of Governor, the state Senate and the state House of Representatives.


    Aspirin, anyone?



    *The State Senate numbers assume State Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) wins re-election.  As I write this,

    he has a 123 vote lead out of more than 30,000 votes counted with thousands still to count. (Moral to this story: Yes, every vote does count.) If State Sen. Starr loses, the Democratic majority will be 18-12.





  • 06 Oct 2014 10:29 AM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Friday, October 31

    8:00am – 11:30am                       “An Inside Look at Donation Land Claims”


                                                         Ron Scherler, BLM retired and CFedS Chairperson


    This session will examine how the administrative process established by the Surveyor General for the filing, survey and patenting of Donation Land Claims can affect how we survey the claim boundaries today. The discussion will include: 1) The process claimants were required to follow to perfect their claim and receive a patent. 2)The practical effect of filing the Notification. 3)Where the case files can be found. 4)How metes-and-bounds descriptions were amended to aliquot part descriptions.5) The Surveyor General’s role in resolving disputes. 6) How Claims were placed on the rectangular plat and how that has created uncertain rights along section and aliquot part lines.


    11:30am – 12:30pm Lunch provided as part of the registration fee.


    12:30pm – 4:00pm “A BLM Cadastral Survey Protest”


    Stan French, BLM Chief Cadastral Surveyor of Idaho


    A case study of legal principles, evidence, local surveys and 2009 Manual verbiage and interpretation.

    This is a case study of a 2011 survey protest in Idaho that involved BLM’s rejection of certain corner points determined by local surveys in an area of high value private property that adjoined federal lands. It demonstrates the challenges the land surveyor may face when evaluating evidence of prior local surveys for their ability to serve as proof of the location of the federal estate.  The fundamental arguments in the protest, which involved interpretation of verbiage in the 2009 Manual, included:  1) the local surveyor as original surveyor, 2) “positive evidence of intentional departure from legal principles”, and 3) repose as applied to public domain lands.  The presentation will include an overview of federal case law that define legal principles for the survey of the remaining federal lands, bonafide rights & good faith location, and unwritten rights as applied to federal lands. 


    This course will be  worth 6 Professional Development Hours (PDH)


    Registration Information

    Register at


  • 03 Sep 2014 2:41 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    As Congress continues its August recess, Representatives and Senators are in their home states meeting with constituents and taking part in events. NSPS members and state surveying societies should use this time period to contact their Senators and urge them to cosponsor the soon-to-be-introduced "Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act of 2014." Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) plan to introduce the Senate companion to H.R. 916, a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House by sponsored by Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rob Bishop (R-UT), that has already been approved by a House committee.

    This bill would formally authorize a comprehensive, multi-purpose inventory of Federal land by the Department of the, Interior which will provide surveying and mapping data for our national assets and liabilities on a parcel-by-parcel basis.

    Senators Hatch and Lee have requested help from NSPS in identifying Democrat Senators as cosponsors. The challenge is for surveyors and state societies to contact your respective Senators and urge them to join Senators Hatch and Lee in cosponsoring this important bill. Visits, meetings and communications should be focused on Democrat Senators.

    Read Summary Points

    Read Issue Paper

    Targeted States and Democrat Senators are: AK: Begich; AR: Pryor; CA: Feinstein, Boxer; CO: Udall, Bennet; CT: Blumenthal, Murphy; DE: Carper, Coons; FL: Nelson; HI: Schatz, Hirono; IL: Durbin; IN: Donnelly; IA: Harkin; LA: Landrieu; MD: Mikulski, Cardin; MA: Warren, Markey; MI: Levin, Stabenow; MN: Klobuchar, Franken; MO: McCaskill; MT: Tester, Walsh; NV: Reid; NH: Shaheen; NJ: Menendez, Booker; NM: Udall, Heinrich; NY: Schumer, Gillibrand; NC: Hagan; ND: Heitkamp; OH: Brown; OR: Wyden, Merkley; PA: Casey; RI: Reed, Whitehouse; SD: Johnson; VT: Leahy; VA: Warner, Kaine; WA: Murray, Cantwell; WV: Rockefeller, Manchin; and WI: Baldwin.

    You can also contact these Senators’ legislative staff in Washington, DC. To help identify staff, or for further assistance, please contact NSPS lobbyist John "JB" Byrd at or 703-787-6665.

  • 25 Aug 2014 3:19 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)


    January will be here before we know it, and we will be reuniting with our colleagues and friends at the Annual Conference in Salem and enjoying all the programs at the event. It is time to think about nominations for the Awards Banquet.

    Surveyor of the Year (SOY) and Life Member are the only awards subject to the bylaws, so let’s start there. The SOY nomination process is covered in Article 15 (1) of the bylaws:

    • Nominations need to be presented to the Board at the meeting prior to the annual meeting. That meeting is to be announced, but will take place in October.
    • Nominations must be written, endorsed by five PLSO members in good standing and they must contain a bio, resume, photo and reason(s) for the nomination.
    • Minimum requirements for SOY:
      • Corporate member of PLSO for five or more years.
      • Demonstrated history of high competence, integrity, and professionalism.
      • Assisted qualified and interested people in advancement within the profession.
      • Career long service to the profession.

    The Life Member nomination process is covered in Article 3 (3) of the bylaws:

    • Approved by vote of the Board and awarded at the Annual Meeting.
    • Life Members retain Corporate membership status.
    • Nominations shall be presented to the Board and shall include a record and bio.
    • Minimum requirements for Life Membership:
      • Career long service to the profession and to PLSO.
      • Served as Chapter President.
      • Corporate membership is current and extends back 10 years prior to nomination.
      • Approved by vote of 2/3 of the board by secret ballot.

    For the other awards, look on the PLSO website for the nomination documents. Click on the Members link, then the “Membership Resources E Binder" link in the left vertical ribbon.  That will bring up the section on awards. This is the fun stuff. Each chapter can nominate chapter members for the following awards:

    • Article of the Year
    • Outstanding Associate or Special Member
    • Good Humor Award
    • Brush Cutter Award
    • Team Player Award
    • Bright Idea Award
    • Contagious Attitude Award
    • Diversity Award
    • Hidden Talent Award
    • Community Service Award

    Awards have been scarce the last few years. Let’s have some fun with it and give out lots of awards in 2015. Your Awards Chair is John Thatcher, and he will be happy to assist you or answer any questions about awards. Email him at here.

  • 06 Aug 2014 11:52 AM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    In July, an appeal was made for donations in support of the 2015 Education and Outreach Auction.  The article also reminded everyone that the auction was renamed “PLSO Education and Outreach Auction,” even though many of us still refer to it as the scholarship auction.  This commentary addresses why outreach, as well as the scholarship fund, deserve support.

    Each year, PLSO scholarships assist a limited number of students.   For the 2014-2015 academic year, a total of $14,500 was awarded to five winning applicants.  The scholarship fund presently has a balance of about $250,000.  This amount virtually guarantees that annual awards will amount to more than $14,000 whether we add monies to it or not.  Funding scholarships is important, but outreach is equally, if not a more important issue for PLSO.

    Outreach has risen to a high priority because of numerous challenges and opportunities that confront the survey profession.  Enrollments have been declining at survey institutions in Oregon and other states.  A large percentage of professional surveyors are well over the age of 50, so there seems to be great potential for young people who choose to enter this field.  The survey profession needs to promote a better understanding of its services to allied career fields and to the general public.  In recognition of these matters, the PLSO Board recently decided that it should expand and enhance outreach efforts.

    In the last issue of “The Oregon Surveyor,” three articles spoke to the importance of outreach, particularly noting that our profession faces extinction if we don’t make a concerted effort to increase public awareness.  These articles stated that additional outreach efforts will require increased financial and organizational support from PLSO.  Devoting part of the auction proceeds to outreach will help that cause monetarily, and will focus more attention on this important issue.

    Proceeds from the auction will either be assigned to outreach or to the scholarship fund.  The PLSO Board distributed funds from the 2014 auction to both endeavors.  In the future, individual donors might prefer to designate their contribution to a particular program.  The auction committee is considering a suggestion that would allow donors to designate their contributions for one of three options: (1) Scholarship; (2) Outreach; or (3) A combination at the option of the PLSO Board.  The proposal is still pending final consideration by the auction committee and the Board.

    Whether you more strongly support scholarship or outreach, your assistance is essential to the success of the PLSO Education and Outreach Auction.  Participate in this important event by donating one or more special items and by making a purchase at the auction.  Your generosity will promote the survey profession wherever it is used.

    Gary Johnston

    Auction Chairman

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