Tillamook Creamery Visitor Center Development

Geotechnical services and seismic analysis for one of the Pacific Northwest’s most beloved dairies.



Tillamook, Oregon

Tillamook County Creamery Association (Tillamook) is well-known throughout the Pacific Northwest as a maker of premium cheeses, ice cream and other dairy products. Their headquarters and main production facility is in Tillamook, Oregon, in the heart of a seismic zone atop unstable soils. In 2016, Tillamook began a complete redevelopment of their visitor center and contracted with GeoEngineers for geotechnical services.

GeoEngineers began with a detailed geotechnical investigation. The team performed boring and cone penetration test explorations to depths exceeding 100 feet. They found soft to very soft silt with organics that create liquefaction and settlement design issues.


The soft soils under the development site combined with the risk of seismic activity created a design challenge for the geotechnical team. After evaluating several deep foundation alternatives, GeoEngineers recommended a foundation consisting of 14-inch diameter auger-cast piles. It was an economical solution that gave the needed structural support, even in predicted seismic conditions.

During pre-construction the contractor approached another geotechnical engineering firm to attempt to save construction oversight costs. But the alternative designs required piles more than twice as long as GeoEngineers’ original design. After realizing this, the client went forward with GeoEngineers’ economical design and retained the team for construction monitoring and oversight as the piles were successfully installed.

In addition to geotechnical recommendations for the visitor center itself, GeoEngineers did additional work on related aspects of the development, including subgrade and pavement recommendations for a new six-acre parking lot and the guidelines for the foundation of the crane to be used for construction.


The completed Tillamook Visitor Center is a 38,500 square-foot facility with a multi-story tower. GeoEngineers’ geotechnical designs and seismic analysis for the facility provided a foundation strategy that balanced cost with robust structural support.

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