From the start, Delford Smith envisioned a unique water park experience that could be tied into his love of aviation. Previously, he had purchased Howard Hughes' famed Spruce Goose so that he could add it to his Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, which features more than 200 exhibits, including military aircraft and helicopters as well as commercial and private aircrafts. He went on to call a meeting with some local project managers to brainstorm -- telling them that he wanted something to complement his aviation collection. Smith sought a structure that would not only get people talking, but something they would have to see and experience for themselves.

After nine months of engineering and design work, construction crews secured two cranes in May 2010. Employing one of only seven Boeing recovery slings in the world, they began hoisting the Evergreen International Aviation B747-100. One hour and eight minutes later, the 328,000-pound plane, which had logged more than 25 million miles during its aviation lifetime, was bolted cleanly into place.

The massive plane became the anchor for the Evergreen Wings & Waves water park, located about one-quarter mile west of the Spruce Goose. It is billed as "the only water park that comes with an aviation and space museum" -- the first in the country to combine water-borne fun with educational themes that help visitors learn about the power of water and its effects on the world.

The 71,350-square-foot park features 10 water slides -- four of them exiting directly out of the fuselage of the Boeing 747 sitting atop the roof -- a wave pool and the children's museum. The fastest of the slides is the Nose Dive, a two-person inner tube ride that combines a fast initial drop into a high-rate bank turn. It leads the riders into a dark oscillation section before "breaking out of the clouds" through a hologram image and into the circular bowl below. Other slides include the Tail Spin, Sonic Boom and the Mach 1.

Protecting the building from water damage

Reflecting on the project, Dave Garske, operations manager for Hoffman Construction of Portland, explained that one of the more interesting challenges was how to figure out a way to protect the building from all the water. "Tile was a major part of this project," he said. "Basically, the entire inside of the building is a big swimming pool. There is water and tile everywhere -- in the pool, in the bathroom, along the walls. Chlorine can be very corrosive. So we had to figure out a way to keep the building from rusting from the inside out. We had to manage the chlorinated water. We spent a lot of time working on keeping the water safe for the visitors and the employees."

Hoffman worked closely with Paragon Tile of Tigard, OR, to map out the project. That's when Paul Luttrell, Vice President of Sales for Paragon Tile, called Laticrete sales representative Mike Werner. Paragon selected and delivered a number of high-performance Laticrete products for the job, including Laticrete® SpectraLock® Pro Grout, Laticrete 4-XLT, Laticrete 254 Platinum, Laticrete 255 MultiMax™ and Laticrete Latasil™.

"In particular, we used Laticrete Latasil because we needed something that would not crack or deteriorate in the wet coved areas and corners for the life of the installation," said Luttrell. Considering the amount of tiling prevalent throughout the facility, Luttrell used Laticrete SpectraLock Pro Grout, a product designed to be used for swimming pools, fountains and other wet area applications.

Paragon used the products in the entryway, in each of the restrooms, in the water lines in the pool, in the mezzanine and on a lot of the wainscoting throughout the building. "Everything needed to be waterproofed or have crack isolation, so we chose Laticrete Hydro Ban® to use behind all the tile," said Luttrell. "This was ideal because it is a thin, load-bearing waterproofing/crack isolation membrane that does not require the use of fabric in the field, coves or corners. In the pools, we used Laticrete 4-XLT; on the water lines we used Laticrete 254 Platinum; and for the floors, etc., we used Laticrete 255 MultiMax. Everything was grouted with Laticrete SpectraLock Pro Grout. It's such a strong, high-performance product; we couldn't use anything else."

Working in and around the other contractor schedules, the job took Paragon nearly five months to complete. "The pools and the shapes were pretty unique," said Luttrell. "At some of the counters, you have half of an airplane sticking out of the wall, so that's unique right there. It's an eye-catcher. As far as the installation of the tile, it was a pretty standard install, except for some of the custom mud floating work we had to do. We were confident to use Laticrete products for the water park, as we know they perform at high levels, and the company stands behind its products, as well. This was a project we clearly won't forget."

Today, the water park and museum park have become one of the most popular tourism attractions in the state. "Helping turn this vision into a reality was one of the coolest things we've ever done," Garske said.