Blame it on Progress, inevitability, or liability, but every year there are fewer scenic barns in the West. In Frenchglen, Oregon, Weather and Gravity have finally brought this one to its knees. It hasn’t collapsed entirely, but it’s only a matter of time until the roof rests with the grasses. I photographed it one evening as a storm passed in the distance, on the lower slopes of Steens Mountain. The barn was retired years ago, no longer required for hay or farm implements. It aged well and was a magnet for painters and photographers, mice and birds.

Farther north, in Umatilla County, the beautiful red barn owned by Andrew Leisinger met a more sudden demise. Located in the rolling wheat country between Pendleton and Helix, Oregon, it sat along a seasonal creek bed between two knolls, and even knowing where to look it still came upon you as a surprise. Like its cousin in Frenchglen it had retired from active work, and served mostly as a favored meeting place for pigeons…and then criminals. When meth labs became a problem, and the roof began to fall in, it wasn’t long before the barn was dismantled, to the dismay of artists and residents alike.

The pigeons, for their part, continued to come, roosting on the weathered piles of lumber until the last historical remnants were hauled away.


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