First Advisor

Evan Kristof

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering and University Honors


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Pisé -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area -- Evaluation, Soils -- Composition, Weathering of buildings, Building materials -- Testing




This paper evaluates the viability of rammed earth construction in the Portland, Oregon Metro area. The study evaluates local soil conditions and local weather for their impact on the viability of rammed earth. A prototype wall was constructed on the Portland State University campus and left exposed to natural weathering. Weathering on the wall was observed for a period of seven months from August 2017 through February 2018. Numerous shrink/swell cracks were observed throughout the wall, as well as delamination cracks in the upper layer. An analysis of soil composition in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County was conducted using information from the USDA’s Web Soil Survey, and GIS Software. Analysis of soil composition indicated 1.7% (23,956 acres) of the total area investigated has soil ideal for rammed earth construction. Of the total area investigated, 0.4% (5,246 acres) has soil ideal for rammed earth construction and is zoned for low to medium density residential development. This study indicated the potential for rammed earth to be viable in Portland under a limited set of circumstances.


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