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The Story of John Jehuennes Baker (1785-1868) and Elizabeth Derryberry (1791-1872)

August 9, 2022

Oregon Pioneers of 1853 from Tennessee

Contributed by Charlotte Lehan, President, Pleasant View Cemetery Association

John and Elizabeth Baker are buried in unmarked graves at Pleasant View Cemetery, located in Clackamas County between Wilsonville and Sherwood. In 2020, some of the Baker descendants decided to honor them with an upright granite headstone to acknowledge them, and their children, whose names will be listed on the back of the stone. This led to two years of research across several states. The family is still finalizing the artwork for the monument, but here is their story.


Although John Baker was born in Maryland and Elizabeth Derryberry was born in Kentucky, they both lived most of their lives in Tennessee, naming several of their eight children after places in Tennessee. By the time of the 1850 census they had all relocated to Missouri, probably in anticipation of immigration to Oregon. John and Elizabeth Baker, at the ages of 68 and 62, began the journey west in April of 1853, less than 30 days after the marriage of their youngest son,  16-year-old Terry, to his 17-year-old bride, Barthenia Burton.

We don’t know the size of the wagon train, but the Baker Party, with at least 26 individuals, was a big part of it. John and Elizabeth traveled with seven of their adult children. Only eldest daughter, Mary Polly, who was married with three children of her own, remained in Missouri. Of the seven adult children who came West, five were married. Collectively they had 12 children, the youngest just a few weeks old and the oldest not yet ten. Two of the women were pregnant and another gave birth within a month of leaving.  It is likely that the family had other relatives, in-laws, and hired hands traveling with them as well, so their party was probably one of the larger ones in the train. Even with a dozen infants and young children, all the members of the Baker Party survived the nearly 2200-mile journey.

Pleasant View Cemetery has only one other resident who was born before 1800, John and Elizabeth Baker were in the upper age range of folks making the grueling crossing. The Baker families took land claims in the vicinity of the cemetery, including the land holding the cemetery itself, which was officially donated to the community in 1866, but had likely been in use as a cemetery even before the arrival of the Bakers. One of the earliest recorded burials was 3-year-old Mary Baker who had just recently crossed the trail.

The Baker graves are in the open area in the center of the historic cemetery. All six of these obelisks are other Bakers, three are children and three are grandchildren.

All seven of John and Elizabeth’s children who crossed the plains are buried at Pleasant View Cemetery. Only Mary Polly is not with them, and despite assistance from researchers in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Texas, we have not yet found her. The Bakers had eight children, 48 known grandchildren, and 193 known great grandchildren, many of them also buried at Pleasant View, including Terry and Barthenia, the teenagers who married just before leaving on the trail, whose marriage lasted nearly 50 years until Barthenia’s death at age seventy-five.

The cemetery in mid-summer, dressed in Queen Anne’s Lace. The large obelisk in the back is the eldest son, Endymian.

Why John and Elizabeth’s graves are unmarked when nearly all their children have quite significant monuments will likely remain a mystery. When their new monument is installed there will be a dedication to recognize this important patriarch and matriarch in Oregon Trail history.  

MentorCorps: Why Serve?

July 27, 2022

MentorCorps is a mentorship program serving heritage organizations across the state. Mentors walk alongside a heritage organization for a year to help them with specific goals. Currently, 20 mentors with various expertise and careers in different sectors of heritage work, volunteer their time to help meet the needs of Oregon’s heritage community. Recently we sat down with several of the mentors to learn why they chose to give of their time and expertise.

Sarah Cantor is the Director of the Holy Names Heritage Center and Archives in Marylhurst, Oregon. When asked about her experiences and why she mentors, here is what she had to say:

I really value the opportunity to provide assistance and to share the knowledge that I have and that I have been given. I have had a lot of help along the way and I know what it is like to work at a place with limited resources. I want to help other institutions deal with some of that overwhelm and find ways to modernize and be sustainable.

A mentor works with a mentee on a card catalog.
Mentor helping with a card catalog.

Kathleen Sligar is the Director and Curator at the Oregon Military Museum. She has expertise in collections care, museum management, and large collection moves! She shared this about her reasons for volunteering:

I’m a native Oregonian and I came from a rural poor area of the state. To me, going to college and becoming apt at a particular field, especially a historical one, it was important to give back to my state and my heritage… So when this came up, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. It gave me a chance to give back to Oregon. Free information for people to use, developed by professionals!

Kathleen wishes she could give even more and mentioned that she appreciates that the program has connected her with heritage professionals in other disciplines that she wouldn’t normally interact with.

Michael Panhorst is a retired museum professional. Michael has expertise in board development, nonprofit management, museums, and strategic planning. He serves because:

It’s a great opportunity to give back to the history/museum community. I’m now retired and have benefited from similar things over the years.

Theresa Rea is a reference archivist with the State Archives. This past year was her first year as a Mentor. Theresa has expertise in all things archives, collections care, disaster planning, outreach and advocacy. She chose to serve because:

It is really gratifying to help people and I like to be involved in the community. I’s cool to check out what other people are doing.

Mentors stands in front of a room teaching .
Mentor conducting a training.

Katie Henry, Oregon Heritage Commission Coordinator, oversaw the MentorCorps program for 6 years. In that time, she also used her expertise in collections management, board development, and museum administration to serve as a mentor. She said:

Having been in that position of being a one staff member at a heritage organization feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders regarding collection-based decisions, it’s important to me that other people in that position have a place to go as a sounding board. Even if it’s just someone supporting your plan of action. Not feeling alone in this field is really important and MentorCorps provides that network and support.

Mentor teaching object labeling to two individuals.
Labeling workshop at the Bush House.

Mentors choose to volunteer for many different reasons, professional development, getting to know others in the heritage community, a chance to give back, or a chance to stay in the game after they have retired. No matter what their reason is, these mentors make a difference in our state. Their commitment is greatly appreciated!

If you are interested in serving as a mentor, learn more on our website!

Excellence on Main: Celebrating Success!

July 6, 2022

We at Oregon Heritage firmly believe in the importance of celebrating success – big and small, personal achievement or community-wide endeavors, significant milestones or completion of a project well-done. One of the ways we acknowledge communities is through our Excellence on Main annual awards which honor the people, projects, and activities that are outstanding achievements across Oregon in enhancing the sense of place of our historic downtowns and traditional commercial districts. Check out 2021 winners here.

The Excellence on Main award recipients are selected by a jury of downtown revitalization peers who review nominations to evaluate how the nomination meets the criteria described under each of the nomination categories. We recently checked in with one of reviewers, Timothy Bishop, Economic Development Director with the City of La Grande, to get his perspective on the awards as he has served on the committee every year since the awards were initiated in 2010.

Sheri: Why do you enjoy being on the panel?

Timothy: Every year I’m excited to open the nominations packet and see the amazing and transformative work that is happening in downtowns across the state of Oregon and how local Main Street programs are constantly rising to the challenge of making their communities a better place. 

Sheri: What is your perspective on why these types of awards are important?

Timothy: I think these Awards are an important opportunity to celebrate the often hard-won successes of our local Main Street partners, by showcasing the best downtown revitalization activities in a way that both recognizes the success of each individual project or program, and inspires other communities facing similar challenges. 

Photo credit: Astoria Downtown Historic District Association

Sheri: Do you see any trends happening with our awards over the years you have served on the panel?

Timothy: Over the last decade I have been amazed by how local Main Street programs have engaged community partners to address truly complex and complicated challenges in their community.  In particular, the response to the COVID 19 pandemic saw an immediate response from local Main Street programs to help local businesses adapt and find new innovative ways to succeed and, in many cases, grow their businesses during a period of intense uncertainty.  In many cases the Local Main Street program was leading the way forward in their communities, reminding members of their communities how important small businesses were to the health of the local economy and helping municipal leaders understand what businesses really needed, and creating “out of the box” solutions to help them succeed.

Sheri: Do you have a favorite award category?

Timothy: The big transformative physical projects like streetscapes and large adaptive reuse projects are always exciting. But, my favorite nominations are the volunteer nominations.  While it’s nice to recognize big projects, it’s exciting to learn about the individual volunteers who are the driving force for positive change in their communities and the incredible amount of work and leadership that they contribute to help make their downtowns, better and more vibrant places.   It’s easy to see the impact of big bricks and mortar projects, but behind all of those projects there is usually a local champion who’s work often goes unseen.  Hearing those stories and recognizing those volunteers is always a highlight of serving on this panel.

We thank Timothy and all our panelists for their contributions to the success of these awards! Nominations are currently open for the 2022 Excellence on Main Awards. Applicants are the local main street organization in communities participating in the Main Street Track of the Oregon Main Street Network. Application information can be found here.

Photo credit: Beaverton Downtown Association

“Little” Joe Monahan

June 10, 2022

In honor of Pride Month in June, a member of the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries researched and shared the following story.

On the furthest reaches of the Eastern Oregon border, at the entrance of Idaho’s Owyhee country, sits a small, unassuming cemetery. The Rockville Cemetery is less than an acre in size, protected by a barbed-wire fence, and home to just twenty-six people laid to rest. Most of the gravemarkers have long since been worn away by all the elements imaginable in the harsh Eastern Oregon climate; for this reason, caretakers of this site have installed a single monument recognizing all who are interred at Rockville. One of the people identified on the memorial is “Little” Joe Monahan.

Monahan was born around 1850, though his early years are murky and speculative. He journeyed west, likely from New York, and settled in the Silver City area of Idaho, trying his hand at mining. It turns out Monahan had a knack for mining and made a small fortune, equivalent to around $85,000 today. Though, his luck ran out when he trusted his money with a crook of a supervisor and lost everything.

Joe decided to give up on mining and try his hand in a different industry, settling on the Succor Creek and starting a cattle ranch with just one head of cattle and a few chickens. He eventually grew his business to be sustainable enough to survive, though he lived a very meager life, living in nothing more than a dugout shelter in the earth. 

Joe was known for keeping to himself, working hard, and never complaining. One resident was quoted as saying, “He had fought his way through with many of us … suffered hardship and hunger in early days and never whimpered … the cowboys treated him with the greatest respect, and he was always welcome to eat and sleep at their camps.” Though he tried his best to keep to himself, he was well known for his shooting skills, accomplished horsemanship, and being a tough-as-nails cattle driver.

In the last days of 1904, Monahan came down with something akin to pneumonia. Trying his best to fight off the sickness, he finally gave in to seeking help from his neighbors. Sadly, the pneumonia overcame him, and Joe passed away.

None of Joe’s life is particularly remarkable for the life of a pioneer. It wasn’t until his body was being prepared for burial that it was discovered Joe was born female, making his life quite exceptional. Joe successfully lived his life as a man for at least the entire time he lived in Oregon and Idaho. Though described as a mere five foot tall, wearing men’s clothes much too big, having small hands and no facial hair, he was never questioned by anyone in his community about his sex. He was recorded in three censuses as male. He voted in every election and participated in his civil duties as a juror several times.

When news of Joe’s sex swept across the community, the story was quickly picked up and was sensationalized all across the country for a short period. Reports of his upbringing and early life grew into gossip with very little factual evidence; I can only imagine how the modest “Little” Joe Monahan would have felt about his life being so public.

We’ll never know precisely why Joe Monahan lived his life as a man. His decision could have been for financial security or better opportunities not offered to women at the time. Though I think the researcher Peter Boag said it best when he stated, “Perhaps the frontier lured these transgender people. They, too, bought into the promise of freedom and opportunity. Maybe they believed they could remake themselves in this new, undeveloped place. In many cases, these cross-dressers and transgender individuals lived and even thrived in the new territory.”

Joe was laid to rest in the community he thrived in, at Rockville Cemetery with his friends and neighbors. As one Rockville resident, Jess Strode, said, “She (sic) lies just about in the center of the cemetery. The best you can say is that “Little” Joe lies among her (sic) neighbors along the crick.”

So, 118 years after his death, this pride month, let’s all honor and celebrate “Little” Joe Monahan for living his life years ahead of his time with the most authenticity and freedom he knew possible.

Citations

Wikipedia Contributors. “Little Joe Monahan.” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Joe_Monahan. Accessed 28 March 2022.

Ashworth, Suzanna. “Find a Grave Memorial 75787251.” Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/75787251/joe-monahan. Accessed 28 March 2022.

Friedman, Ralph. Tracking Down Oregon. Caxton Press, 1978. Google Books. Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. Penguin, 1987. (link)

Sudermann, Hannelore. “A Re-Dress of the West.” Washington State Magazine, https://magazine.wsu.edu/2015/01/30/a-re-dress-of-the-west/. Accessed 28 March 2022.

Death Betrayed Her: For Eighteen Years Joe Monahan, A Woman, Masqueraded As A Man. (Jan. 16 1904). The Corvallis Times, pg. 1. (Link to article)

Boag, Peter. Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past. University of California Press, 2011.

Compliance Connections

May 13, 2022

By Jessica Gabriel, Review and Compliance Coordinator for the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office

At its surface, the regulatory side of historic preservation gets a bad rap. Words like compliance and mitigation have a way of clouding what is actually a pretty amazing opportunity. When we’re dealing with state and federal preservation laws, it is easy to lose sight of the get-to-do as we focus on the have-to-do. Yes, most state and federal agencies with properties over 50 years old will eventually have to consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Yes, they’ll have to stop, look, and listen before making decisions that impact potentially historic properties and yes, they may even have to mitigate for those impacts. There’s no way around it, we have to do the have-to-do!

But there’s room for more. In my role as a compliance specialist, I propose we give the get-the-do more credit.  Because it is definitely due.  Yes, agencies have to consult, but in the process, they get to learn more about the pieces of Oregon history for which they are ultimately stewards.  Yes, agencies have to reach out to the public, but they get to have the opportunity to connect with local communities and stakeholders.  Yes, sometimes agencies have to complete mitigation, but they also get to tell a story.  They get to be a part of that story; of Oregon’s story.

You would be hard-pressed to find an aspect of Oregon’s story that historic preservation compliance hasn’t touched and one of the ways I focus on the get-to-do of my job is to appreciate the ways compliance is connected to our everyday. For example, like many folks my age, I grew up knowing that “Goonies never say die” and fell in love with Astoria, years before getting to live there for a few years myself.  As recently as 2021, SHPO consulted on a project involving Astoria’s iconic Riverwalk that’s featured in the opening credits of The Goonies. A small story for Oregon, but one that’s beloved nationally for its connection to movie nostalgia. Our records show a total of 369 compliance cases in Astoria and while the outcome of these projects may not have ultimately been physical preservation in every case, the history of these properties has had the opportunity to be told via the compliance process.

March is Women’s History Month.  Compliance connection? SHPO has a review case for Portland Women’s Forum State Park. The Portland Women’s Forum began in 1946 to address issues concerning civic, state, national, and international affairs and ultimately became a driving force for the preservation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (for which we have at least 45 associated cases by the way). We get to celebrate the role women have had not just in the preservation of Oregon’s natural and historical resources, but in civic engagement as well.   

The upcoming 2022 World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field. Compliance connection? While the historic Hayward Field was not preserved, the University of Oregon and SHPO worked together to find creative ways of conveying the history of the old field to a new generation of athletes and spectators alike. That story can now be told on an international scale as this is the first time the championships have ever been held in the United States. We get to share that story with the world! 

We currently have record of about 42,496 cases in our files. Each one of these started as a have-to-do. But they also represent the opportunity for a connection uncovered, a history shared, and the chance to turn a regulatory process into a get-to-do

Preserving Central Oregon’s agricultural history at a homestead house

March 29, 2022

Written by: Julie Brown, communication and community relations manager, Bend Park and Recreation District

I admit that historical preservation expertise isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a park and recreation agency. But a recent collaboration with our historical society may start to change that in Central Oregon.

Hollinshead Park is a former working ranch donated by Dean and Lily Hollinshead to Bend Park and Recreation District (BPRD) in 1984. Much of the park is open fields in place of the original Hollinshead orchard. The renovated Hollinshead Barn hosts 150+ events annually including workshops, classes, conferences, and weddings attended by more than 15,000 people in 2019. The park is also home to the Hollinshead-Matson Share Croppers House, now an informal museum.

The Hollinshead-Matson Historic House has been maintained for nearly three decades through a relationship between Sharron Rosengarth, one of the five Matson children, and her late-husband Tony Rosengarth, and the park district.

In late 2019, BPRD was awarded an Oregon Heritage Grant to work alongside Deschutes County Historical Society to preserve and care for historical items in the Hollinshead Home, and develop interpretative panels to tell the agricultural and family history of the property. The project was completed in 2021 and is a great example of a park and recreation project leveraging grant funds and partner expertise.

The Hollinshead-Matson House project seized an opportunity that would have been soon lost if not acted upon. The personal connection of Sharron Rosengarth who was born in the home and tells her family story directly about the house and its contents, combined with BPRD’s commitment to honoring the historical use of the property and the Deschutes County Historical Society’s expertise to interpret the story was a powerful trifecta.

The project:

  • Preserved an early 20th century homestead family historic house and accompanying archival collection.
  • Allowed BPRD and Deschutes County Historical Society to pool resources in order to meet our shared goals of preservation, heritage education and long-term care of the Hollinshead-Matson Historic House collection and exhibits.
  • Set up a post-pandemic volunteer-led public tour approach to teaching agricultural history in a highly visible and highly visited public space.

Kelly Cannon-Miller, Executive Director, Deschutes County Historical Society, provided project oversight on behalf of DCHS. During her thirteen years at DCHS, she has worked closely with Sharron and Tony Rosengarth on several projects, including oral history gathering. Her relationship to the Rosengarth family aided in the emotional transition of management of the historic house from the family to BPRD.

“This project really represents the massive demographic and economic shifts in Bend’s population over the past thirty years, on two different levels,” said Kelly Cannon-Miller. “On the one hand is the shift from agriculture as a part of the local economy to subdivisions and population explosion. On the other hand, it’s the change from a small town where everyone knew who Dean and Lily Hollinshead were and Sharron can have her home phone number on the sign out front to call for tours, to a small city where two thirds of the population is new and disconnected from the town’s past.”

“But in the rough edges between Old Bend and New Bend, there is a shared love of our parks—by bringing forward the shared history within these spaces, we can honor the past while connecting its newest residents to it,” she added.

A simple tool to re-energize your volunteer recruitment

March 15, 2022

We noticed a theme emerge in this year’s Oregon Main Street Network Annual reports that matches comments from other areas of our heritage world—volunteer engagement is down. It’s no wonder. This month marks two years of pandemic life. We’ve experienced the ups and downs of closing, opening, learning new technology, and going virtual- in all aspects of our lives. People are tired, and things have changed.

We’re also on the cusp of spring, looking ahead to outdoor event season, and excited to refocus on the work we all love.

If it’s time to re-energize your volunteer recruitment, here’s a concrete tool from Main Street America to get started. It’s simple, easily adaptable to any organization’s work, and here’s why it’s brilliant—it creates a giant, structured brainstorm. The goal is to think broadly about who you know in your community and how they may be a good connection to your organization. This is a great chance to focus on inclusivity and welcoming new volunteers.

Not an Oregon Main Street community? Don’t worry, you can easily modify this Word Template to fit your type of heritage organization. The idea is the same.

Here are the steps:

  1. Have each board/committee member fill this out in advance of meeting together
  2. At your next meeting, put up categories for your open volunteer positions on a wall
  3. Board members refer to their list to start throwing out names that fit under each category
  4. Develop a recruitment plan
  5. Divvy up contacting new volunteers

The outcome of this exercise should be lots of fresh, new, or re-inspired contacts you can approach to focus on the activities and objectives that meet your mission!

For more resources on volunteer engagement and management, check out our outreach initiatives page. And don’t forget, Volunteer Appreciation Week is just around the corner in April!

Baker County Culture & Heritage Passport

March 1, 2022

Written by Lynn Weems, Baker Heritage Museum Director, and Teresa McQuisten, former Director

Years ago, Ginger Savage learned about “Mr. Carnegie’s Grand Tour of Washington,” a passport that encourages travelers to visit Carnegie libraries. Ginger is the executive director of Crossroads Carnegie Art Center in Baker City, an art center housed in Baker City’s restored Carnegie Library. The Carnegie passport got her to thinking—what if Baker County could develop a passport to get people traveling around our county visiting our primary culture and heritage sites?

Over the years, Ginger held onto that idea and thought of ways to implement it, but it was tough to get enough people on board to get the idea off the ground. In 2020, Ginger floated the idea, again, to the directors and volunteers of the Eastern Oregon Regional Museum and the Baker Heritage Museum. This group put their heads together, analyzed previous attempts at the passport and developed a simple, easy to use, paper passport that would guide visitors from Baker City’s most visited heritage sites out to the smaller sites, which lay just off the beaten path in Baker County.

As the program started to come together in 2020, it seemed the program might, once again, fall into peril due to the oncoming pandemic. However, Ginger and her colleagues at the museums quickly came to realize that the passport could be more valuable than ever during the pandemic. Heritage museums and art centers became a place where people could visit during the pandemic and easily maintain safety protocols like social distancing. More visitors to Baker were planning “staycations” and traveling regionally by car down the interstate, instead of traveling abroad. The passport allowed the primary heritage sites in Baker to get these visitors off the interstate and far out into Baker County to experience our heritage sites and to stay in our hotels and campgrounds and to stay long enough to enjoy our shops and restaurants.

Over the 2020 season the museums handed out over 455 passports (stamped), and another 800 passports (unstamped) distributed to schools in Baker City, Haines and Keating. For a first year with a pandemic we counted this as a success year. We also offered a grand prize at the end of the season to someone who visited all the sites. We had very good responses from those who participated in the passport program and plan to continue the program this season.

The biggest benefit, however, was that the passport gave the staff and volunteers of Baker County’s museums and cultural institutions a reason to come together. The passport became the driving force in bringing the people who operate our heritage sites together to get to know one another and develop a strong heritage network in Baker County. Despite the isolation of the pandemic, the passport brought us together.

Refreshing a Block of Buildings in Downtown Stayton

February 15, 2022

Written by: Julia Bochsler, Revitalize Downtown Stayton

Back in the olden days when grant cycles were scheduled years in advance, Revitalize Downtown Stayton (RDS) president, Steve Poisson, witnessed several building improvements going on in the Main Street District. He started a conversation with the building owners. Let’s write a $200,000 grant to complete facade improvements for seven buildings. This included five building owners and more than twenty tenants, all in the 300 block of N 3rd Ave in Stayton. The goal was to develop community solidarity with downtown as the core, beautify downtown with a cohesive aesthetic, and thereby increase foot traffic.

It was summer of 2018 and RDS hired an architect (funded by a Marion County grant) to create renderings. Building owners gave input and started creating budgets, while Steve created owner agreements. These ended up being the three most important things for a very creative grant: a vision, a budget and the small details.  When the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant was awarded by Oregon Main Street (OMS), Stayton’s population of 8,415 people, collectively did a happy dance! 

The vision helped keep building owners on track. Budgets allowed owners to shift monies here or there when they opened up a ceiling and found a surprise. The small details in the owner agreements helped make grant administration a lot smoother. Former president Steve Poisson commented, “Our agreement required owners to put up their match first. I wasn’t going to make RDS responsible for anyone’s match.” Steve chuckled, and added “I wish we would have included a phrase that said all receipts up to June 30 of every year, must be submitted by July 15th in order to get paid.” OMS requires fiscal year responsibility so that work done, gets paid in the year it was done. It’s in the small details. 


While the small details make a big difference, the OMS grant had a huge impact on the downtown core. The grant budget was $283,000, though more than double that amount has or is being invested in these seven buildings. As the 300 block nears completion, seven other buildings within two blocks, have made or are making significant improvements. Our vacancy rate is down and one grant recipient joined RDS in 2019 and is now the Vice President.

During the 2018 Main Street Refresh, Stayton citizens biggest request was for historic downtown to have more shopping and a place to have an evening meal.  In recent news, RDS publicized ten new businesses opening, reopening or expanding their presence in Historic Downtown Stayton. Advertisements state that there are more than twenty shops, a first-rate movie theater and ten, YES TEN, eating establishments in our main street district. A true testament to what Oregon Main Street and OMS grants can do to revitalize a small community. 

Oregon SHPO Continues to Improve the Historic Sites Database

February 4, 2022

As many who use the Oregon SHPO’s online Historic Sites Database may know, over the years, the Inventory has grown to nearly 67,000 individual property records, some dating back to as early as 1972 on paper forms with black-and-white photos glued to them. Since that time, the way we have tracked the locations of these has changed several times, starting with not at all, through things like Township/Range/Section (imprecise), postal route numbers (abolished), property addresses (changed), UTM (rarely accurate before GIS), and finally latitude and longitude, which we use today. Despite periodic efforts to update locations as the method changed, as far back as 2014 our office realized that about 16,000 property did not include mappable location data, causing them to not map at all.

At that time, with the help of OPRD’s GIS team, we developed a list of all the properties not mapping, and began the long work of attempting to locate these with latitude/longitude. Sixteen thousand. One. By. One. Eight years later, through staff changes, budget cuts, increasing workloads, natural disasters, including a global pandemic forcing many of us out of our offices, and with the help of staff, interns, temporary employees, CLG’s and Landmark Commissions, and many private citizens across the state (and beyond!), we have made substantial progress, reducing that number by a little over 70%!

Today, the work goes on, and the remaining 4,600 or so unmapped records continue to slowly get addressed. Our goal remains to map as close to 100% as possible of the properties for which we have records, and with the help of everyone we continue to approach that goal.

Everyone can help out, just by reaching out to our office whenever an unmapped property is definitively located – some of them may be in your community! Sometimes they’ve been moved, other times they no longer exist – let us know that, too! Send any information you have to Jason.allen@oprd.oregon.gov.