Restore Oregon’s Heritage Barn Taskforce has launched a new survey form and announced a fall Heritage Barn Workshop as part of an ongoing effort to document and celebrate Oregon’s historic barns and agricultural outbuildings.
Despite Oregon’s robust agricultural heritage, barns are a unique resource that is significantly underrepresented in existing inventories of historic properties. Linn and Clackamas Counties surveyed their historic barns in the 1980s, but since that time there has been no sustained statewide effort to document buildings from the state’s agricultural past. Although historic barns and outbuildings have been disappearing at an alarming rate nationwide, a 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture census indicated that an astonishing 11,440 barns built before 1960 still stand in Oregon. According to the State Historic Preservation Office, only about 900 of these heritage barns have been documented, and only 37 Oregon barns and farm/ranch complexes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
To aid in the documentation of Oregon’s agricultural past, a survey form has been designed to enlist public participation in surveying heritage barns. Developed by Joy Sears and the State Historic Preservation Office, the form asks for general information on the property’s history, date of construction, and the type and condition of roofing, siding, foundation, and framing. Data gathered through survey forms will be incorporated into the Historic Sites Database to support the preservation of Oregon’s rural heritage. Information gathered from the effort will be used for informational purposes only—regulations cannot be imposed on a property unless an owner consents to official historic designation. Forms are available through the Heritage Barn Taskforce.
In a related effort, courses on evaluating, surveying, funding, and rehabilitating historic barns will be offered at the second annual Heritage Barn Workshop this fall in Jacksonville. Focusing on the preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse of historic farm structures, the day-long program will provide useful tools and illustrative background for barn owners and admirers alike. The workshop will be held at the Hanley Farm from 9:30am to 4:00pm on Saturday, September 27. Tickets are available to both Restore Oregon members and the general public, though the event is anticipated to sell out.
The Heritage Barn Taskforce was formed by Restore Oregon in 2011 to raise awareness about the state’s agricultural legacy, to provide advice and assistance to the stewards of heritage barns and agricultural structures, and to support efforts to find feasible and rewarding approaches to preserving them and insuring their continued usefulness. More information is available through the Restore Oregon office.