Upper Sandy Guard Station
Year Built: 1935
Location: Near Government Camp, Oregon
The Upper Sandy Guard Station Cabin, situated in the Mt. Hood National Forest near Ramona Falls, was built in 1935 to house an administrative guard who was to prevent intrusions into the area, part of the City of Portland’s water supply area. Of the 700 Forest Service administration buildings built in Oregon and Washington between 1933 and 1942, it is reportedly the only one built with both stone and logs as its principal materials. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
According to the National Park Service, the Upper Sandy Guard Station Cabin is an exceptional expression of a “rugged” rustic style U.S. Forest Service building constructed by skilled local carpenters and laborers assisted by men employed under one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal work relief programs. Funded by the Emergency Relief Appropriations (ERA) Act of 1935 and funds from the City of Portland, the cabin was built along the newly constructed Timberline Trail specifically to provide housing for an administrative guard to protect the Bull Run watershed, the source of the City of Portland’s drinking water supply.
The guard station is no longer used as an administrative site and is now managed by the Zigzag Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest, and is currently shuttered. For years after it ceased to serve an official purpose for the Forest Service, the Guard Station was a popular waypoint for hikers and equestrians, many of whom used the cabin as a place for shelter, rest, and caching of supplies.
The cabin faces a number of serious threats to its long-term stability, the most serious of which is gradual neglect. Since the building currently serves no purpose for the Forest Service and is not being maintained, the structure is continually exposed to extreme mountain weather and the intrusion of moisture due to failure of the roof. While the structural integrity of the cabin has not yet been compromised, each passing year of rain and snow collecting inside the cabin adds uncertainty to its future.
Vandals have also caused substantial damage to the building, pilfering original hardware, damaging interior and exterior walls, and using the site’s original benches as firewood.
Immediate intervention and a plan for ongoing use and maintenance are needed to ensure that the cabin does not suffer eventual demolition by neglect.
Restore Oregon staff met with the Regional Forest Service staff to discuss next steps
Listed as one of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places