Bull Run cabins: the official version
David Shaff, the director of the Portland water bureau, has sent us a response to our posts of Saturday and yesterday regarding the city's renovation of a house and a cabin on the site of the Bull Run reservoir. Here it is, in relevant part:
As you noted in your two posts on the subject, there are two sites in the watershed that have historic structures.
There are three log cabins at Bull Run Lake that were built in the early days of the Water Bureau -- around 1917 when the Water Bureau built a small dam at the outlet of Bull Run Lake. One of the cabins, the most prominent one that overlooks the lake, was badly damaged when a tree fell on it during a winter storm before I came to the bureau in 2005. We received Council authorization to restore that cabin in 2007/08.
Here is a picture of the cabin with the tree on it and a picture of the cabin before the restoration work began:
Also included are a couple of pictures of the work in progress and the final product (although the chimney has still not been restored). The other two cabins continue to slowly deteriorate. We have no plans to restore them at this time.
The other site is at dam 1. There are two "cottages” remaining out of the several structures that were built to house the workers who constructed the dam in the early 20's. The one that you have in your first post is called Bear Creek House and was where the supervising project engineer lived during construction of the dam. The second one is frequently called Little Bear Creek House or Bear Creek House No. 2 and is about 50 feet away from Bear Creek House. Bear Creek House is used as a stopping point for our tours and education program and is occasionally used for meetings. Little Bear Creek is in poor condition and isn’t in use.
During the time I have been Administrator, the interior of Bear Creek has been painted and a retired bureau carpenter built new kitchen cabinets and tiled the kitchen countertop. It has a stove and refrigerator. The bathroom sink and toilet were replaced and the floor was re-tiled (there is no tub or shower). He also rebuilt the fireplace hearth. One of the two bedrooms contains a desk, phone and some historic wooden distribution pipes. The other contains a conference table and chairs. We purchased two sofas and a coffee and end tables and some lamps for the living room. The art consists of pictures taken in the watershed by employees over the years. Our carpenter also replaced the porch decking and we constructed a short concrete ramp that is ADA compliant to enable wheelchair access into the house. A more complete description of the work performed (and the history of the two houses) can be found in the documents Andrew included in his comment on your first post.
I don’t know if your original reader was mistaken or if the person s/he was speaking to misspoke, but overnight stays are not allowed in either Bear Creek House or the cabins (or anywhere else inside the watershed for that matter). While Bear Creek is available for use as a meeting space, it isn’t very practical due to the distance from town, its small size and the logistics/restrictions on access to the watershed. Also, as you can see from this picture, it isn’t very accessible sometimes.
Let me know if you have any questions. My offer to take you up there still stands, by the way.