THE OPEN ROAD
June 23, 2017
The Pacific Northwest has a very diverse geography. Mountains, coast, temperate rain forest, high desert, low desert and grassland. This diversity has made for a very diverse agricultural history. Oregon and Washington are known for berries, apples, nuts, grass seed and beef and dairy cattle; each one of those enterprises needing it’s own kind of barn, corral, or grainery. We have the coolest job: to source and scout those structures all over the area.
When we get a hot lead on a barn or house that needs to come down, usually from the owner, we ask a few clarifying questions. How old is the structure? Where is it? What’s it made out of? Then we ask the owner to send a couple of pictures so we can see what condition it’s in. Frankly, some of these old barns are just too far gone to be salvaged. They are either too rotted and bug infested, or too dangerous to deconstruct by hand. Once we know we have a line on a good one, we head out to see it in person.
Being on the road, barn scouting, is a favorite part of the job around here. Usually the owner, Preston, will go take a look. He’ll sometimes bring Hali, our marketing manager and photographer extraordinaire, to document the place. While Preston discusses the process of deconstruction with the owner, the costs, the price, etc. Hali wanders far and wide, taking photos from all angles, inside and out. Before they leave, Preston will do a take off (an inventory of the material - how much of each size) and a lead test of any painted material.
Sometimes, they get lucky, and there is cool junk still left in the old barn. Fruit crates, burlap sacks, blue jars, tools and harnesses. Preston will make an offer to the owner on that stuff too and bring back the riches. Once cleaned up, they’re for sale in the Salvage Works Courtyard.
The best part of the job? The stories. We found out one barn was built by an old timer nicknamed “Cactus”. Another barn is affectionately known to the neighbors as “Old Red”. Plus we’re making our own stories as we go, snapping pictures all the way. Check it out on Instagram @salvageworkspdx. You’ll love it as much as we do.