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Quilt Barn Trail working through obstacles


Members of the Westside Quilters Guild (WQG) are well on their way to creating a Quilt Barn Trail in Washington County.

The “trail” would create decorative wooden murals emulating quilt patterns on historic barns along scenic roads and bikeways and other established tourist routes. The first group of quilt blocks will likely be mounted in Helvetia, according to guild member Jean Lasswell.

WQG members ran into a road block early in the process because Washington County’s broad sign ordinance deems the approximately 8-by-8 wooden blocks as signs, even though they would be on private property and include no words, logos, pictures or names — only quilt patterns.

But earlier this month, Washington County Planning Commission members changed a regulation so the quilt-barn trail could proceed. The amended regulations require the quilt blocks to be no more than eight-feet-by-eight-feet, outside the Urban Growth Boundary, hand-painted and mounted only on agricultural buildings.

On July 22, the Washington County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the change, which would take effect Aug. 21.

WQG members believe the quilt blocks will increase aesthetic values and honor the county’s agricultural heritage, as well as create partnerships between artists and local community groups such as scouting organizations.

In addition, the success of similar quilt-barn trails in Tillamook County and Ohio indicate they will boost tourism as well.

Washington County’s quilt designs will be modeled after quilts used on the Oregon Trail. Guild members will start designing and preparing to paint this month.

The project is gaining momentum and support. In March, it received $1,875 from the Cultural Coalition of Washington County. Miller Paint has offered to be a sponsor.

Members are still looking for equipment to help them hang the blocks later this year.

For more information, call 503-433-4057 or go to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..