DEA’s History

The First 25 Years


The history of David Evans and Associates, Inc. is one of entrepreneurial individuals staking a claim in the consulting engineering services industry with a simple philosophy of “hiring outstanding professionals and giving them the freedom and support to do what they do best.” It is the story of how talent and an inspiring philosophy ignited — allowing a two-person firm in Portland, Oregon to grow and diversify into an ENR Top 500 Design Firm with more than 950 employees who are committed to serving private- and public-sector clients across the nation.

1976 to 1981: The Wonder Years

David Evans and Associates, Inc. was founded by David F. Evans, PE, PLS, and David H. Gould on April 1, 1976. Specializing in subdivision design, the firm experienced tremendous growth during the national housing boom. Developers appreciated the firm’s gift for coaxing the maximum number of lots from a parcel of land while retaining existing trees, natural features, and the beauty of the landscape. This creative approach to design increased the value of the lots. The firm’s sought-after services soon led to new offices in Washington State and adding the disciplines of land surveying and landscape architecture.

With the dawning of the recession and Savings and Loans crisis in the 1980s, the firm contracted due to the evaporation of its client base, and faced the first of many economic and market challenges.

1982 to 1987: Surviving the recession through diversification

The dismal private-sector market led DEA to diversify its services as well as acquire and merge with firms that served the public sector. Through the acquisition of Walsh and Associates in Southern California, the firm established its foothold in California and provided services to municipalities, utilities, and telecommunication companies. A merger with Timberland-McCullough, Inc. significantly strengthened the firm’s surveying services, and DEA began serving such public-sector clients as the US Army Corps of Engineers. Talented planners, intrigued by the firm’s philosophy, joined and established planning services.

1988 to 1992: Growth, diversification, and civic participation

DEA surged to the forefront of providing route surveying and design of fiber optic cable systems across the Western United States, including hydrographic surveys of cable landings. The firm added the disciplines of structural engineering, construction inspection, and natural resources, and expanded geographically into Arizona and Idaho. A speech by Peter Ueberroth exhorting businesses to be good citizens and get involved in public education led to DEA “adopting” Abernethy Grade School in Portland, Oregon and helping it purchase educational items not covered in its budget. Staff became involved in various volunteer opportunities at the school. DEA also began its association with MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) which has a mission to engage minority and women students in science and engineering professions. At Dave Evans’s behest, DEA began to sponsor public television in the Pacific Northwest. During this time period, DEA codified its company values: Honesty, Openness, Consideration, Enjoyment, Involvement and subsequently Entrepreneurial Spirit and Financial Security.

DEA also acquired advanced technology – becoming an early adopter of Global Positioning System (GPS) surveying equipment and the second firm in the Northwest — and one of less than 40 firms in the nation — to have a state-of-the-art geographic information system (GIS) system. The firm also purchased a survey vessel to respond to client needs for hydrographic surveying.

1993 to 1997: Celebrating 20 years and answering Hollywood’s call

Through an acquisition, DEA entered the Denver, Colorado market. Significant structural projects included the design of an 850-ton residential barge within the breakwaters of San Francisco Bay and the rehabilitation of the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, Oregon, the oldest active lift-span bridge in the United States. Hydrographic surveyors were asked to map the Santa Margarita, a 1601 Spanish Galleon wreck in the Northern Mariana Islands.

When a hydrographic survey was needed for the Kevin Costner movie “Waterworld,” DEA answered the call and provided mapping off of Kawaihae Harbor, Hawaii, the movie’s shooting location. Next time you watch the film, look for DEA’s name in the credits.

1997 to 2001: A new millennium

From the islands of Hawaii to the mapping of Zapadni Bay, St. George Island, and the Pribilof Islands in Alaska, the travels of DEA’s survey vessel are a metaphor for the journey of growth, diversification, and client service during the firm’s first 25 years. These years also marked the addition of preeminent transportation, transit, and traffic engineering professionals whose work continues to shape our future. With the survival of Y2K and the introduction of 3D laser scanning, DEA ventured into a new era that is reflected throughout this website.

2002 to present: Looking to the future

With our founder now a member of the firm’s board of directors and after another recession, DEA has adapted and changed while staying true to its values and commitment to client service. Our past is as extraordinary as our mapping of the Grand Canyon. We are proud of it and invite you to visit our recent and award-winning projects featured on various pages of this website. We think you'll like what you see.

We are excited about our future. Welcome to DEA.

DEA Legacy Projects

  • Kingsgate in Durham, Oregon, a 156-unit subdivision nestled into an abandoned nursery, conifer forest, and orchard. DEA located and preserved 91 percent of the 8,000 trees – creating buildable lots and a visually pleasing, environmentally sensitive development.
  • Canyon Lakes and Kennewick Park subdivisions in Washington, each with more than 1000+ lots
  • Mercantile Village, Lake Oswego, Oregon
  • Tektronix, Forest Grove, Oregon
  • Forest Park Estates, 2000+ units in Portland, Oregon
  • Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corp., Puyallup, Washington
  • Cedar Mills Trunk Sewer, Portland, Oregon
  • Snohomish Cascade, 3000+ units in Snohomish County, Washington
  • Fort Lewis Mobilization Master Plan, Washington
  • Comprehensive plan for the City of Happy Valley, Oregon
  • Landscape Architecture for more than 20 KinderCare learning centers
  • Surveying services for Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, Oregon
  • 185th Avenue, Portland, Oregon
  • 40-Mile Loop, Oregon
  • Utility redesign for Pioneer Place, Oregon
  • RiverPlace, Oregon
  • Surveying and HEC II analysis of the Cowlitz and Toutle rivers after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, Washington
  • US 97 Lava Butte, Sunriver, Oregon
  • Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon
  • Pier 39, San Francisco, California
  • San Francisco Aquarium, including the underwater tunnel, San Francisco, California
  • GPS surveying and mapping of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
  • San Jose Liberty Canyon Retaining Wall and Slope Stabilization, San Jose, California
  • GPS surveying of 20 mile section of the Snake River floodplain, Jackson, Wyoming
  • Telecommunications surveying from Spokane to Yakima, Washington
  • Forest Heights, Portland, Oregon
  • Surveying services for the Seattle District, Walla Walla District, and Portland District of the US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Route surveying for SR 241, Eastern Transportation Corridor, Orange County, California
  • Construction inspection of US Postal Service Facilities in California after the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989
  • Telecommunications surveying and design, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to Billings, Montana
  • Cascade Highlands Resort, Bend, Oregon
  • Mapping and Hydraulics Projects for King County, Washington
  • Civic Center Master site landscaping and grading plan, city of palm desert California
  • Ranchero Road Grade Separation, Hesperia, California
  • Transportation master plan for city of Wilsonville
  • Pre- and post-dredging surveys for the Port of Portland
  • Design and planning of the City of Bend Oregon’s central business district
  • Federal Correctional Institution, Sheridan, Oregon
  • Yellowstone Park projects, East, NE and West entrance roads into the park, Yellowstone, Wyoming
  • Design, environmental impact of I-405 HOV lanes, Washington
  • Healing Garden, Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, Oregon
  • “Main Street – When a Highway Runs Through It: A Handbook for Oregon Communities”
  • Schultz-Wautoma Transmission Line Survey, 60 miles of 500 kV transmission line from Benton County Oregon to Ellensburg, Washington for Bonneville Power Administration
  • Preliminary engineering for Phoenix, Coyotes’ arena, Glendale, Arizona
  • Cyrax scanning of Denver light rail, Denver, Colorado
  • Design-build participation in for an 8000 foot long segment of Rose Garden arena to Portland expo center
  • Civil site work for the Port of Tacoma, Tacoma Washington
  • Transportation planning Yosemite National Park
  • Transportation planning Grand Canyon
  • Spokane Regional Light Rail
  • Ladera Ranch, 4000 acre master planned community Orange County, California
  • San Juan Island submarine cable study, San Juan , Washington
  • Three-year on-call Bridge Design Services contract for the Oregon Department of transportation
  • On-call services for BNSF Railroad in Washington, Organ, Idaho, and Montana
  • Survey of more than 400 telecommunications microwave sites throughout California
  • South Central Avenue Transit Center, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Downtown Parking Lots for the City of Los Angeles, California
  • Banfield Light Rail Improvement, Portland, Oregon
  • Portland Airport MAX Extension, Portland, Oregon
  • South Snohomish Regional Transit signal priority implementation
  • Charleston Slough restoration, Mountain View, California
  • Portland Performing Arts Center, Oregon
  • Snake River Correctional Institution, Ontario Oregon
  • Environmental studies in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and throughout the Western US for the Seattle District of the US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Bend Downtown Plan, Bend, Oregon
  • Palm Desert Civic Center Park, Palm Desert, California
  • Pyramid Lake Torpedo and Bombing Range Remediation, Nevada