One of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places, the Depression-era Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin in Champoeg, is one step closer to being saved thanks to the coordinated efforts of the Oregon State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Portland design-build firm Arciform LLC. The process of cataloguing, tagging, deconstructing, and prepping the cabin for storage kicked off on November 11th, the first major step of a multi-year project to relocate and restore the cabin away from its current location on an unstable riverbank.
Built between 1929 and 1931 as a memorial to the Oregon pioneer experience, the cabin has been used as an interpretive living history museum until this fall when the encroaching back of the Willamette River forced the closure of the museum. With the Willamette now within 20 feet of the cabin walls, moving the cabin to higher ground is imperative to prevent the structure from sustaining water and flood damage this winter. While continued fundraising is needed to re-erect the cabin on its new site, this critical step will save the building from the imperative presented by river erosion.
Ultimately, the cabin will be restored and rebuilt a half-mile away on the grounds of the Robert Newell House Museum for continued interpretative use. According to Restore Oregon Board member and Arciform owner Richard De Wolf,
“We’re honored and excited to help rescue this important historic structure. Our team has extensive experience with historic restoration projects including the Heceta Head Lighthouse, the Waggoner Farmstead and the Silver Falls Historic Log Cabin. We look forward to putting that experience to work in support of this important effort.”
Located in Champoeg State Park, the public will be able to watch deconstruction efforts over the next several weeks—albeit at a safe distance from the riverbank.