My name is Rick Cook. For the past three years, I have served on Restore Oregon’s Heritage Barn Taskforce, a volunteer role that has led me down the path to restoring my family’s own heritage barn. I would like to convey a message in regards to your continued support of Restore Oregon. Ever wonder what happens to the money you donate? Well here is one story of what donations from people like you can do.
As the overseer of the Cook family farm in the Hazelia area of Lake Oswego, I am in charge of a barn and house built during the years between 1860 and 1862. The barn is one of only 18 Pioneer-era barns still standing in the Willamette Valley. Although originally built by the Shipleys, the property has been in our family for 116 years. It is a Century Farm and home to a Heritage Tree Grove designated by Clackamas County and the State of Oregon. It is, of course, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As I sometimes joke, “Great Grandpa bought the farm… Now what do I do?”
Trying to acquire information on preserving our “treasure,” I crossed paths with Peggy Moretti many years ago. Enlightened and encouraged by her knowledge, I became a fan of Restore Oregon and knew I had found a “GREAT” resource. Overwhelmed by the scope of the challenge of restoring a hand-hewn timber frame Pioneer barn, I reached out to the Restore Oregon staff for help. Boy did I hit the jackpot. The organization’s Field Programs Manager, Brandon Spencer-Hartle, and chairperson of the Barn Taskforce, Gina Drew, made a site visit to our property in 2011 to have a look at what I was challenged with.
After a nervous 20 minutes or so of their inspection with keen eyes and quiet voices, I thought there was nothing they could do. Thank goodness that after they rounded the last corner of the barn they stated “it was rare example of a Pioneer-era agricultural building, a significant asset that needed to be saved for future generations.” My heart swelled with pride and anticipation of what was to come.
Having only to be asked once if I would like to become a member of the newly formed Restore Oregon Barn Taskforce, I jumped at the opportunity. Numerous meetings and a host of newfound friends later, I was encouraged to put in an application to place the barn on the list of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places in 2015.
Having been selected for this designation, Restore Oregon has helped put into motion a plan for saving this treasure for generations to come. Restore Oregon’s assistance in securing $40,000 in grant money will allow for completion of a “phase I” stabilization of the barn.
Without your support of Restore Oregon, “Endangered Places” like the Shipley-Cook Barn will struggle to survive. Your donations will help develop and sustain programs, toolkits, and resources for barn owners and enthusiasts to learn about how to maintain and reuse older and historic agricultural buildings.
Please join me and the entire Cook family in supporting this great organization. As a small gesture of our appreciation for Restore Oregon and its marvelous staff, the JP and Susie Cook family has made a donation of $100 to the Year End Campaign. We hope you can too.