Brick work at the Keizer Civic Center earned an industry award. Keizer resident Kurt Sahr managed the project for J&S Masonry. (KEIZERTIMES/Andrew Jackson)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Civic Center’s brickwork earned the Hammurabi Honor Ward by the Masonry & Ceramic Tile Institute of Oregon.

And it was a Keizer resident who was the project manager.

Kurt Sahr represented J&S Masonry, Inc. on the project. He moved to Keizer in 2007 from Corvallis, where he worked on the Reser Stadium expansion project. He also helped build Keizer Station, but said helping build the civic center provided a different sort of satisfaction.

“Building retail stores for national chains doesn’t provide the same impact and connection to the community that a project like this does,” Sahr said. “…Having a project of this significance come out successfully in the city I reside in is one of my top professional accomplishments.”

An Honor Award recognizes notable masonry achievements, like design, use of material and craftsmanship. Architects in the Portland area judged the projects as part of the bi-annual awards.

“Any project which you can walk away from and have people aware of the building is an accomplishment,” Sahr said. “At the Keizer City Hall, non-tradesman actively notice the masonry work. … From our perspective, this project was certainly a success all the way around.”

Sahr said the facility posed some unique obstacles, such as a challenging and unusual brick pattern that required careful training for crew members.

“If you messed up in one location, you’d have to tear out several courses of block to fix it,” Sahr said, “but we managed to get a system worked out that would facilitate the installation.”

Workers also had to build around the existing city hall, a repurposed school building that was torn down after the civic center was completed. Sahr said keeping the project on track while allowing normal business at city hall required precise planning.

All the brick for the project was manufactured at Willamette Graystone on Hyacinth Street – about two miles away, Sahr said.

Other award winners included the Oregon State Hospital Kirkbride Building in Salem and the University of Portland Bell Tower.