Posted by: wadahp | November 5, 2009


From DAHP staff, Russell Holter:

Good news can wait; so first the bad news.  The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has reassigned their training coordinator and has suspended their cultural resources training program indefinitely, that according to a member of the training steering committee.  This news comes despite the fact that the program broke-even, thereby not costing the DNR more than the staff time to coordinate.  The DNR had implemented their cultural resources training only two years earlier.  It had been the expectation of DNR staff to expand the program to allow additional time for more regulatory and compliance topics.  They had also planned to expand the program from an annual to a biannual training. 

Cultural Resources Training (CRT) sponsored by the Department of Transportation and DAHP will be pulling up stakes and re-locating to Ellensburg in the Spring of 2010, that according to Scott Williams, the Environmental Manager for WSDOT’s Environmental Services Office.  The program had been facilitated from Wenatchee in 2009 after it was decided to discontinue the popular training at the Dalles, Oregon.  The Wenatchee location offered several museums for participants’ use.  It also offered a wonderful opportunity to learn the importance of Traditional Cultural Places at Peshastin Pinnacles State Park outside of Cashmere.  The downside was a lack of any really interesting archaeological sites such as those found near the Dalles.  The CRT Steering Committee members are hopeful that the move to Ellensburg will provide a greater opportunity for teachable moments by visiting sites in areas such as Olmstead and Gingko State Parks.

Washington State Parks, which has been reeling from budget cuts and staff re-assignments, is slowly gearing up to bring back the Principles of Preservation training program.  The program, taught biannually at Fort Worden State Park, was unceremoniously cut due to budget considerations last year even though it was required for all Park Rangers to take the class for their cultural certification.  Alex McMurry, Parks Cultural Resource Specialist and Training Coordinator, says they plan to start leaner and meaner than before — hopefully by the fall of 2010.  Undoubtedly few of these training slots will be made available to agencies outside of Parks as they attempt to get their staff caught up on necessary certification. 

The Ritzville Public Development Authority (RPDA) took its first steps toward establishing a preservation trades program in Eastern Washington by hosting a Windows Workshop in early October.  Eight participants from Adams, Lincoln, Spokane and even Jefferson Counties arrived to learn the fine art of window restoration from Kevin Palo of the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.  Palo said eight participants was the perfect size for this type of training.  Everyone gets some one-on-one attention.  As the workshop progressed, the eight participants began working as a team and managed to restore several of the large windows in the Spanger Building in downtown Ritzville.  The windows were in such bad shape that they had been covered with plywood 25-years ago.  This just goes to show you that a good window can be salvaged no matter how long it has gone without maintenance!  The RPDA is so happy with the outcome, they are planning on holding several follow-up classes including an Introduction to Historic Preservation; a class on Documenting Structures for the National Register; a class on Balloon Framing techniques; a class on tuck-pointing and another windows workshop are being considered between now and next summer. 

The Pacific Northwest Field School was considered a great success.  University of Oregon graduate students are in the process of compiling a maintenance manual for the Gordon House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright built home in Oregon.  This report will be turned over to the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy and the Friends of the Gordon House when complete.  The five-week long field school had participants working on damaged and deteriorated wood finishes in the living room and dining room of the Gordon House for three weeks.  The other two weeks were spent at the Poultry Exhibition center at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem where several massive windows were reconstructed.  The final week was spent on log-constructed kitchen shelters at Silver Falls State Park.  This has been truly one of the most unique field school experiences since the program began. 

The next Pacific Northwest Field School will be held at Bayhorse State Park in beautiful Challis, Idaho.  This mining ghost town community pre-dates Idaho statehood and contains a wide variety of structures (mostly associated with silver and lead mining) in various states of decay.  The high country atmosphere and severe climate conditions have placed a heavy toll on the balloon-framed structures.  Planners of the field school hope that several homes, a hotel and some stone structures will be stabilized as a result of efforts of the participants.  The Pacific Northwest Field School will return to Washington State in 2011. 

Consultants need to be reminded of the DAHP workshop coming up November 18th from 9am to 3pm.  The purpose of the training is to provide consultants with a clear understanding of DAHP expectations of their survey and inventory work.  Many case studies will be examined and you will have an opportunity to learn about Section 106, Governor’s Executive Order 05-05 and when they apply.  Currently, there are several slots available but they will go quickly the closer we get to training day so sign-up now by contacting Russell Holter at; it’s absolutely free.   

Do you know a tradesperson who is interested in a Preservation Degree?  Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon began offering an Associates of Arts degree in Historic Preservation.  Classes began this fall.  Please check their website for program details.


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