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Restore Oregon offers workshop on barn restoration techniques

Public invited to help in rehabilitation of historic Shipley-Cook Barn in LO


Lake Oswego’s historic Shipley-Cook Barn (1862), one of only 18 pioneer-era barns still standing in the Willamette Valley, will be the site of Restore Oregon’s annual Heritage Barn Workshop set for Sept. 26.

The day-long program will teach participants about barn styles and types, provide instruction on documentation and assessing barn conditions, introduce best practices for rehabilitating historic barns and demonstrate the types of tools used to build and restore them.

The Shipley-Cook Barn is one of seven properties listed as one of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places for 2015 by Restore Oregon, a statewide historic preservation nonprofit. With the organization’s help, $40,000 in grant funding has been secured for its stabilization and rehabilitation. The in-progress work will be showcased at the workshop providing a firsthand look at the historic rehabilitation process.

Located at 18451 Stafford Road, the Shipley-Cook property was settled by Adam Shipley in 1862, at which time a house and barn were constructed. J.P. and Suzie Cook purchased the farm in 1900 and, 115 years later, the property — albeit much smaller than the original Donation Land Claim — remains in the Cook family. The farm is a Clackamas County Landmark, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and has been designated a State Century Farm and Oregon Heritage Tree Grove. The property is adjacent to the Urban Growth Boundary.

The barn is a particularly rare example of Oregon pioneer era building craft. It was built with hand-hewn timbers with mortise and tenon joints and is one of the oldest structures of this type in Clackamas County. According to a 2013 regional survey of pioneer houses and farmsteads, the barn is one of approximately 23 pre-1865 barns that still stand in the Willamette Valley.

While the house was rehabilitated in the 1990s, the barn is in great need of stabilization and rehabilitation. Significant sections of the foundation and large support beams are in need of repair and replacement. The structure needs to be weatherized, with portions of the siding in need of in-kind replacement. The hayloft floor is buckling in some areas and a sensitive approach to its repair needed. The large hay door on the east side needs to be raised and secured. And, as is the case with many urban-adjacent properties, a plan to protect the property against eventual urban expansion is needed to secure its long-term future.

A condition assessment and preservation plan must be developed for the Shipley-Cook Barn to ensure physical work is sensitive to the integrity of the building. Once a plan is conducted, a review of financial incentives will be necessary to determine how best to phase the needed repairs. Once critical deficiencies are remedied, a long-term strategy for use, protection from urbanization, and continued upgrades will be needed.

There are at least 11,000 barns in Oregon that are over 50 years old, the minimum age for historic designation. But unlike urban commercial buildings, these icons of the rural landscape are rarely restored for reasons ranging from the sheer cost to functional obsolescence. Members of Restore Oregon’s Heritage Barns Taskforce are trying to inspire more preservation through these hands-on experiences. All are welcome to participate.

Tickets are $25 for Restore Oregon members and $35 for nonmembers. Registration includes lunch, snacks, and all necessary materials. Tickets may be purchased online at RestoreOregon.org or by calling 503-243-1923.