University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Janett, Leslie G. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 39, Number 2 (November, 1934)

Laurgaard, O.
Successful Badger engineers,   p. 25


Page 25


Successrul Badger Engineers
              Olaf Laurgaard, c'03
OLAF LAURGAARD, Wisconsin '03, and city engi-
0        neer of Portland, Oregon, since 1917, was recently
elected president of the National Council of State Boards
of Engineering Examiners. The organization, whose activi-
ties are of great importance to the engineering profession in
this country, recognized and honored by its selection of Mr.
Laurgaard, a long and effective service in the cause of en-
gineering registration. He has been a member and president
of the Oregon board of examiners since it was created
in 1919.
  The past sixteen years of Olaf Laurgaard's career have
been crowded with activity. Under his direction, the City
of Portland has carried nut a vast nro-
gram of public works involving the ex-
penditure of about $55,000,000. The situ-
ation and layout of the city are such that
its development presents unusual problems,
and the city's various engineering under-
takings have had much interest for engi-
neers throughout the country and have
received much attention fro mthe technical
press. In the midst of such important tech-
nical duties, Mr. Laurgaard has been able
to find time and energy for many other
activities. As a member of the Oregon
legislature in 1917 he prepared, introduced,
and secured passage of several important
bills, including the irrigation code and the
highway code. He was a member of the                -Co.,
City Charter Revision Committee, presi-           OLAF L
dent of the Northwest Society of Highway Engineers, presi-
dent of the Oregon chapter of the American Association of
Engineers, and national vice-president of the same organiza-
tion, and held an appointment as captain, U. S. Engineers.
  To round out his activities, he served as director of the
Y. M. C. A. and as a member of the Boy Scout Committee.
With a son in the university, he was made president of the
University of Oregon Dads.
  Laurgaard was born in Norway in the little village of
Ekne, near Trondhjem, on February 21, 1880. When he
was about five months old, his parents came to America and
settled in La Crosse, where he grew up and attended school.
After completing his high school course, he stayed out for
a year and earned money to come to the university. At the
university he confined himself rather strictly to the business
of getting an education, such being the unenlightened prac-
tice of the times. The summer vacation periods were spent
building sewers, locating railroads, and running levels for
the U. S. G. S. He was graduated in 1903 with a degree in
civil engineering.
  He had taken a civil service examination for the U. S.
Reclamation Service in the spring before he was graduated,
and as soon as the school work permitted, he accepted an
appointment as assistant engineer. The Reclamation Service
was very active at the time, and for seven years Laurgaard
was engaged in investigating, designing, and building irriga-
                tion and rnnxxxn-r nrrirto. i,, f7r-, -
ington, California, and Arizona. He left
government service in May, 1910, to be-
come chief engineer for a private company
operating in the same field. Three years
later, he became engineer on construction
for a power company in the Yakima
Valley. This was a short engagement, for
in June, 1913, he became project engineer
for the state of Oregon on an irrigation
project. In February, 1915, he opened an
office for private practice in Portland. He
continued in this practice until appointed
city engineer in July, 1917.
  The city of Portland lies on both sides
tes'
AU
                ot the Willamette waver, which is spanned
yBushnell, Port1and.  by the nine large bridges. The outstand-
URGAARD
                ing engineering problem of the city has
been to open and widen the approaches to the bridges. For
a program of widening about forty-five miles of city streets,
it has been necessary to acquire much private property for
public purposes. As a result of his contact with this appli-
cation of the power of eminent domain, Mr. Laurgaard has
become an authority on the subject, about which he has
written extensively.
  One of Mr. Laurgaard's assignments while with the Rec-
lamation Service took him to Conconully, Washington,
where a hydraulic fill dam was to be constructed for the
Okanogan Project. Romance became entangled with engi-
neering for he was married on November 29, 1908, to
Goldie May Sherer at Conconully. They have two children.
A son, Glenn, will return to Wisconsin in February.
November, 1934
Page 25S


Go up to Top of Page