This home had the most spectacular view of Mt. Hood.
Perhaps I find beauty in decay. Maybe I’m fascinated by history. Even more so, perhaps I’m just compelled to document what’s disappearing from our state or already gone. Each property begs the questions: What did people do here? What were their lives like? Why did they leave?
Abandoned Oregon, Finding Beauty in Decay
Since 2013 I’ve been traveling and documenting, and this is a collection of favorite images I’ve taken over the years. Some of these places have already been demolished, lost to fire, or destroyed by high winds. The lucky ones are still standing proudly. As a photographer, I do not condone trespassing. Everyone has a duty to respect the age of these structures, potential dangers, and uphold
practices. Leave No Trace
Take only photos, leave only footprints.
The Carson homestead, Grant County.
An abandoned schoolhouse in Columbia County.
Related: A Photographer’s Journey, Capturing Over 250 Old Schoolhouses in Oregon
Graffiti lines the walls of an old concrete structure that once was part of a mill complex.
The old juxtaposes with the new. This house was once part of a stop along the Oregon Trail. Now it sits on a wind farm in Central Oregon.
The beautifully-dovetailed Schoolteacher’s Cabin, Wasco County. Multitudes of daffodils bloom around the property during the springtime.
Once a general merchandise store, now a popular stop for cyclists in Washington County.
The Portland Gas & Coke building before demolition in 2015.
This old peach-painted farmhouse still stands in Yamhill County.
Treasures of humanity can sometimes be found amongst the decay.
The calendar had been hanging in this same spot on the wall since 1973.
The Millican Store has been sitting abandoned for years along Hwy. 20 in Eastern Oregon.
At one time in the near distant past, this building was part of an old stage stop on the way to Sisters, Oregon.
The old Heesaker House of Forest Grove. The home finally succumbed to a wind storm one night, late in 2014, and is no longer standing.
This home sits on a Columbia River floodplain…likely the reason it was eventually abandoned.
This structure was likely a hotel servicing miners long ago in Cornucopia, NE Oregon.
The Willamette Valley house containing this old piano was demolished a few years ago, likely due to trespassing and the fact that it was purportedly haunted. O_o
An old homestead in Baker County.
A beautiful old Gilliam County farmhouse.
Shelburn is considered a ghost town today, but at one time it was a thriving stop along the railroad in Linn County. This is one of the first abandoned houses I ever photographed and sadly no longer stands today.
I fell in love with this rural Marion County home from the moment I saw it. Today it has been purchased to be moved, restored, loved, and lived in again.
Fairview Training Center was a place to send the disabled and infirm. Many horror stories have arisen over the years, and the entire complex that stood in Salem, completely demolished. “1908” was an administration building on the property.
Related: Fairview Training Center Reveals a Dark Time in Oregon’s History
The colors in this Eastern Oregon farmhouse were vibrant, cheerful, and extraordinary. I got the overwhelming sense that life was wonderful here.
Sparta is a ghost town that’s a loooooong way off the beaten bath in NE Oregon.
Related: Maxville, The Oregon Ghost Town That Flouted Jim Crow
The Italianate architecture of this home was likely beautiful in its heyday. It was the first home in the Willamette Valley to have gas-lighting installed, but was sadly razed a few years back.
Upon entering this old farmhouse, I was shocked to find that the electricity was still on and the ceiling fan was spinning. Eerie, to say the least!
When the famous Charles Nelson House of Wasco County burned to the ground during the Dalles Substation Fire, I mourned. Here it is in better days, surrounded by yellow fields. Scroll to the end of the article to watch on OPB as I become the last person to ever photograph the inside of the Nelson House.
An old Ford Model A rusts away under Grant County snowfall.
Who slept here? An old bed and frame are still present in the upstairs bedroom of this Grant County farmhouse.
The Captain George Conrad Flavel House, Astoria, Oregon.
Even the railroad is abandoned in this Clatsop County ghost town. The structure used to be a general store.
Related: This Ghost Town Road Trip in Oregon is The Perfect Adventure
The abandoned Homestead Schoolhouse, Wallowa County.
Dundee Substation, a vestige of the old Oregon Electric Railroad.
I leave you with the most spectacular view of Mt. Hood.
Watch as I explore Abandoned Oregon with the crew at Oregon Field Guide:
Danielle Denham is an award-winning and published photographer who loves her home state of Oregon. Recently she was featured on a regional-Emmy-winning episode of Oregon Field Guide, and is currently writing a book on Abandoned Oregon. When she isn't out and about exploring for derelict places to photograph, you may find her hanging around in Eugene Oregon with Tyler Willford and his two awesome kiddos.