Looking like a scene out of a sci-fi thriller, a giant green dinosaur began chomping through the former OHSU School of Dentistry building on Marquam Hill Campus this month.
A concrete pulverizer, painted reptilian green with scales, a red mouth and glowing yellow eyes, was mounted atop a Komatsu high-reach excavator. This type of machinery is used for controlled demolition and the recycling of concrete structures.
The 7,000-pound unit was painted specifically for the OHSU project. Ben Wright, project manager for Northwest Demolition & Dismantling, said the company came up with the idea because of the construction site’s close proximity to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
“It is one of our ways to give back to the kids,” said Wright.
That’s when Marsh Burns and Gavin Cook took over the project.
Burns operates Twin Lakes Jag, a custom car shop in Troutdale, Oregon. After working up a few mock-ups of a dinosaur, he handed the project to Gavin Cook, 12, a young artist who ultimately came up with the final design. Burns then used acrylic paint and clear coat to bring the dino to life.
“It was kind of scary when I got all done,” laughs Burns. “I thought it was going to bite me.”
In addition to creating the dinosaur, contractors on the job from Northwest Demo and Turner Construction also set up multiple cameras on the excavator and the construction site so people can watch the progress remotely.
The dino-demolition will continue on and off for the next few months. Clean-up efforts will continue at the site through the summer. Crews are midway through the two-year demolition project to remove the 1956 building. The building has sat vacant since the School of Dentistry moved to the Skourtes Tower on OHSU’s South Waterfront Campus in 2014.