Upper Sandy Guard Station

The Upper Sandy Guard Station

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.

News and Updates:

September 2016

Restore Oregon staff met with the Regional Forest Service staff to discuss next steps

November 2015

Listed as one of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places

Historic Significance

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.

Why it’s Endangered

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.

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4 Responses to Upper Sandy Guard Station

  1. Lee Dexheimer March 31, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    Hello Restore Oregon,

    This is Lee Dexheimer who nominated the Sandy Guard Station. As of October when the cabin was put on Oregon’s MEP the weather was such that any work would likely have to wait until Spring. Given the heavy winter, I am curious what your plan is for assessing and building a restoration plan. I would love to be a part of it and have a list of volunteers willing to help!

    Thanks and all the best,

    • Denise Bartelt April 1, 2016 at 8:54 am #

      Hi Lee, we are currently re-staffing our Field Programs. We hire great people who go on to receive some great job opportunities. We’re on the brink of hiring our next fabulous preservation professional and Oregon’s Most Endangered Places will be a priority. Please feel free to email us directly at info@restoreoregon.org. And once our new person is in the office, we will have direct contact information for them.

  2. Cara Kaser November 16, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    I can’t believe this building has deteriorated so much in just a few years! Here’s a link to photos of the guard station that were included in the National Register nomination taken a few years ago http://tinyurl.com/sandyguardstation2008 — the guard station was in much better shape, with windows intact, etc.

  3. gene blick November 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Best of luck with this project. Hopefully the forest service is a bit more cooperative than a few years back with the Northwest Forest Conservancy. People should definitely not go in there. The floor isn’t stable. It needs help asap!
    It could also serve as a great emergency shelter in a storm for people on the wrong side of a rising Sandy River.

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