Searching for abandoned places in Oregon? You’re in the right place. Below are 21 of my favorite abandoned places across the great state.
Abandoned Places In Oregon
1. Burns Air Force Base
Burns Air Force Station was established as part of Air defense Command’s planned deployment of forty-four mobile radar stations across the United States to augment the permanent US air defense radar network established during the Cold War.
Burns Air Force Station, manned by the 634th AC&W Squadron, was established in 1955 and became operational on June 8, 1955. In January 1961, the site became a SAGE System location, and on September 30, 1970, Burns AFS and the 634th Radar Squadron were deactivated.
Burns Air Force Station is now inactive. The site’s structures have been degraded and badly vandalized. On top of the butte, it appears to be a ghost town. While most of the buildings are in ruin, it offers an apocalyptic foreground in front of the starry night sky.
2. Abandoned Tillamook Bay Railroad Line
The Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad, which has a history dating back to the early 1950s, is a small line owned and maintained by the Port of Tillamook Bay along Oregon’s Pacific coast. Over 100 miles of former Southern Pacific trackage are owned by the railroad.
Between 1906 and 1911, the Southern Pacific Railway was constructed through the coast range. In 1983, the Port began operating the line from Tillamook to Batterson as the Southern Pacific Railroad began to abandon it in later years.
The Port kept the train running until December 2007, when floodwaters from a big storm wrecked huge sections of the roadbed in the Salmonberry River Canyon’s hilly terrain.
The mainline of the railroad stretches between Hillsboro and Tillamook; however, it is no longer in operation because of storm damage. As reconstructing the damaged rail bed would be outrageously costly, the Port decided to use FEMA funds to expand and improve its industrial park and airport services.
It’s a truly amazing place to hike and photograph the overgrown and broken-off railroads. Be cautious as the terrain is rough and many places have sudden drops with little to no cell service in the area. Despite this, this is one of my favorite abandoned places in Oregon as you can hike the overgrown tracks for miles.
3. Wreck of the Peter Iredale
THE PETER IREDALE is known as a four-masted steel barque sailing ship. It washed up on the Oregon coast on its way to the Columbia River on October 25, 1906. The Oregon Journal stated the day after the ship sank that the wreck proved to be a tremendous attraction and despite the fierce gale, dozens rushed to the scene of the calamity. Despite the fact that the ship has been broken up over time by waves, wind, and sand, the wreck of the Peter Iredale remains a famous tourist destination.
There’s not much left yet imprints of the metal ship frame, as well as a few other metal fragments, droops from the sand. Looking at the rest of the ship and learning a little about the wreck’s history is fascinating. You can stroll around close to the frame at low tide; at high tide, it’s completely surrounded by water.
I picnicked here with my girlfriend during the summer season. While there isn’t a whole lot to see, it’s worth checking out if you’re in the area.
4. Shaniko Ghostown
Shaniko was a transit point on the Columbia Southern Railway in the early 1900s. The town was in the middle of 20,000 square miles of wool and wheat-producing land at the time. The soil around Shanika was not suitable for farming, but it was suitable for sheep and cattle.
Shaniko had 172 residents in 1900, the year the railroad opened. Shaniko earned the label “Wool Capital of the World” in 1903. No Oregon community has experienced more rapid expansion and decrease in a single decade than Shaniko. Between 1901 and 1911, the town went from being the Wool Capital of the World to become the state’s liveliest ghost town.
Every year, tourists flock to Shaniko to see the ghost town, but water shortages restrict large-scale tourism. The historic wooden water tower, city hall with an old jail, the school, and the old post office are all still standing. While this isn’t one of the most authentic abandoned places in Oregon, its history alone secures its spot on this list.
5. Collins Beach UFO Boat
A mystery sits on a not-so-lonely nudist beach on Sauvie Island’s north end. The spacecraft is a Ferro cement experimental boat built just up the river in the 1970s. It was built as a self-righting sail and took a local family on adventures for several decades before vanishing. The boat actually sheltered a family for three months in 1973, despite its unappealing exterior. The boat is now best known for its diverse graffiti and, well, for being a bit of a mess.
There’s a lot to see and do on this 24,000-acre island, whether you’re hiking, bird-watching, or visiting one of its beaches. You might wish to look for the abandoned UFO boat near Collins Beach during your stay. It’s truly a unique opportunity as not many UFO structures have survived during their popularity in the 70s.
The UFO boat is abandoned on the beach, between the second and third parking spots, among the trees. Until you’re about 200 feet away from the boat, you won’t be able to see it.
6. White River Falls Abandoned Water Turbine
Some 35 miles from The Dalles, a treasure of Oregon nature can be seen descending into the Deschutes River canyon over an exquisite sequence of cascading waterfalls. The falls were also home to a minor hydroelectric generating unit from 1910 to 1960.
The river empties from a height of 90 feet on a volcanic basalt shelf to create White River Falls. The waterfall, which is sometimes referred to as Oregon’s mini-Niagara, is most eruptive in the spring and most quiet in the summer due to the lower water level. The facility was troubled by siltation issues and was eventually rendered useless in 1960 when the Dalles Dam on the Columbia was completed.
A steep trail leads down to the abandoned powerhouse, which still has most of the original equipment and provides access to the river below the falls. The ancient powerhouse’s generators are still inside, but due to safety concerns, no access is permitted. With the only light coming from the windows, doors, and gaps in the roof of the aging stone house, the image offers an intriguing play of light and shadow.
7. Friend Ghost Town
Friend is a small abandoned settlement in Wasco County, Oregon, United States. George J. Friend was the inspiration for the name Friend. His residence was the site of the community’s first post office, which opened in 1903. In 1904, the railroad was established.
The line was built in 1908 to connect Dufur and The Dalles. On January 5, 1928, the depot was shut down and services ceased; the route was abandoned in 1935. Today, the physical rails and the town that served as their terminal are both completely extinct.
It is now a ghost town, consisting of an abandoned schoolhouse, a cemetery, the old general store and post office, and an unidentified concrete structure in a field. The old cemetery is littered with the gravestones of residents who lived and died during the town’s brief existence.
8. Douglas Hollow Schoolhouse
The Douglas Hollow Schoolhouse is a historic one-room schoolhouse in Wasco County, surrounded by farmland. It was most likely used to help the youngsters of the rural communities in the area of Dufur and The Dalles. This site was nearly destroyed by the Dalles Substation Fire in 2018. However, it is currently undisturbed and in excellent shape. If you look hard enough, you can find a few remnants of the past. Over the years, students and tourists have left their imprints.
The abandoned Douglas Hollow Schoolhouse still stands in a remote corner of Eastern Oregon, waiting to be explored. Wind turbines in the Columbia River Gorge can be spotted in the distance if you look closely. The Pacific Northwest’s landscapes are as diverse as they are beautiful.
The schoolhouse is one of the more popular abandoned places in Oregon with photographers and history buffs, but its rare to ever run into anyone else up there at the same time.
9. Latourell Ghost Town
Latourell, Oregon, was formerly a bustling village located along Latourell Creek, less than half a mile downstream of Latourell Falls. Joseph Latourell founded the town in the late 1800s as a lumber town, railroad station, and local gathering area for Columbia Gorge visitors. The first post office in the area, named after the natural feature Rooster Rock, opened in May 1876.
The nearest of the great Columbia River Gorge waterfalls to Portland is Latourell Falls, which is also one of the most photogenic. It is a 224-foot single-plunge waterfall that pours over the border of an undercut amphitheater of tall columnar basalt pillars. The Latourells were well-known among their neighbors for being both industrious and lively.
Commercial logging did not begin in effect until the 1880s. In comparison to its previous years, the once-thriving village of Latourell is now quiet, with few businesses and residents. If you look closely you can find many abandoned homes and businesses tucked away in the treeline.
10. Vernonia’s Oregon-American Sawmill
Vernonia was a remote outpost of 150 people in 1921. The Oregon-American Lumber Company (1917-1934) and its successors, the Oregon-American Lumber Corporation (1934-1953), the Long-Bell Lumber Company (1953-1956), and the International Lumber Company (1956-1957), were all based in Vernonia, in the Nehalem Valley.
From its 30,000-acre holdings in Columbia, Clatsop, and Tillamook states, the firm logged nearly 2.5 billion board-feet of timber. Before the mill sawed its first log in 1923, the town’s population had risen to over 1,500, making it Oregon’s fastest-growing town.
The office building of the Oregon-American Company was added to the National Heritage list of Historic Buildings in 2002. The Vernonia Pioneer Museum now occupies the space. This abandoned mill in Oregon is quite the sight. The floor is now covered in fallen leaves, moss clings to the graffiti walls, and the only ceiling is the sky.
11. Witch’s Castle
The Witch’s Castle (also known as the Stone House) is built on land that was claimed by Danford Balch in 1850 after he and his family set out west on the Oregon Trail. He needed to employ someone to clear the area because it was so large, so he recruited Mortimer Stump.
Stump and Balch’s daughter Anna fell in love over time, and Stump eventually sought Balch for Anna’s hand in marriage, which Balch declined and warned him against. In November of 1858, the young couple ignored the warning and proceeded to elope. Balch was enraged by the occurrence and shot Stump in the face with a double-barreled shotgun. Balch was sentenced to death and hanged as a result of his crime.
It didn’t take long for ghost hunters in Portland’s haunted forests to hear tales of a Witch’s Castle. The home was never a house in the first place. It served as a public restroom for hikers along the woodland walk when it was built in the 1930s. The paths are very accessible. You’ll cross beautiful streams, small waterfalls, and moss-covered branches along the walk.
12. Mary D. Hume Shipwreck
R.D. Hume built Mary D. Hume in 1881 for his Gold Beach Cannery. He gave the ship his wife’s name. The Mary D. Hume still retains the record for the Pacific Coast’s longest-serving vessel, with 97 years of active service. When the Mary D. Hume retired in 1978, they tried but failed to turn her into a museum ship.
The Mary D. Hume was finally retired to Gold Beach in 1978, where she still stands, slowly sinking into the dirt, and just a few hundred feet from where she was built. The ship was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Despite being a shipwreck, the Mary D. Hume is one of the more accessible abandoned places in Oregon right off the riverbank
13. Bull Run Ghost Town
Bull Run is strongly rooted in the history of Portland. One of Portland’s pure drinking water sources is the Bull Run River. In 1869, a tiny camp was established after the mine was located high on a mountaintop.
Bull Run, on the western foothills of Mt. Hood, Oregon, was a major source of electricity for Portland, and it even supported a settlement in its early days. In 1904, Bull Run had a population of forty men and one lady, the superintendent’s wife.
The Bull Run Powerhouse was closed in 2007 after Portland General Electric stopped operating it.
14. Kent Ghost Town
Kent, located in southern Sherman County’s rolling grain fields, is another Oregon village largely inspired by railroads. Between Grass Valley to the north and Shaniko to the south, Kent is located at the crossroads of US Route 97 and Dobie Point Road. The population had grown to 250 by 1905. Kent has preserved its post office and zip code over the years, even though it has lost the majority of its population, which became 67 in 2018.
Kent’s abandoned café/gas station was closed a few years ago. The owners were told by the EPA that they needed to start carrying one million dollars in liability insurance and construct a concrete retaining wall in case the underground gas tanks leaked.
Unlike more popular abandoned places in Oregon, you’ll be hard-pressed to run into any other tourists in the area.
15. Fort Rock Homestead Village
Frank and Vivian Stratton came up with the idea for the Fort Rock Valley Historical Homestead Museum. The Strattons founded the Fort Rock Valley Historical Society in 1981 with six other local history enthusiasts. To preserve the Fort Rock Valley’s pioneer past, the society envisioned and sponsored the creation of Fort Rock Homestead Village in 1988.
So, it was opened with only two buildings, the Webster Cabin and Dr. Thom’s Office. In the following years’ multiple buildings, from surrounding homestead sites, were added to the collection such as a church, school, cottages, homestead cabins, and other structures.
The museum is currently open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The museum is open to the public for self-guided walking tours from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Historic exhibitions, publications, gifts, and public restrooms are all available at the visitor center.
If you’re looking for legal abandoned places in Oregon to visit, this is one of the best places to start.
16. Blue Heron Paper Mill
W. P. Hawley bought a mill site in Oregon, in 1908, that had previously been used as a flourmill, saw-mill, and paper-mill. In 1909, The corporation started its paper production and started investing in advanced paper-making equipment, and, ultimately, it had the western US’s largest newspaper production machine by 1928. From 1948 onwards, a series of ownership transfers began. The Smurfit Stone Container Corp., eventually sold the Oregon City operation to workers and a New York private equity company in 2000, becoming the Blue Heron Paper Co.
Blue Heron made newspaper and paper bags out of recovered wastepaper. The corporation battled to keep costs down while purchasing more expensive raw materials. There was a 10 percent pay cut in 2009 and the firm was forced to close in 2011.
As of today, officials in Oregon City believe the property, which has panoramic vistas of Willamette Falls, has redevelopment potential as a mixed-use center that would help revitalize the historic downtown area. Some city officials have urged that the mill be included in the urban renewal district.
17. Centennial Mills
Balfour-Guthrie and Company, a San Francisco-based investor, developed Crown Mills in 1910, which became Centennial Mills in 1949. Crown Mills continued to expand its operations in the mid-1920s, adding warehouses and grain elevators to boost daily production.
However, Balfour-Guthrie had several hurdles, and financial survival was tough during the 1930s. They needed to spend heavily in the mill after WWII, therefore the Portland site was sold to Centennial Flouring Mills, who upgraded the facility with new technology. Prosper Portland acquired Centennial Mills property in 2000 to fulfill the River District Urban Renewal Plan to enhance the waterfront.
The Portland Mounted Police refurbished and reused the warehouse. Most of the surviving structures, which were in terrible condition and beyond repair, were demolished in 2015-2016 after a dragged public procedure. The six-story concrete flour mill is still standing, ready to be renovated as part of a proposed redevelopment.
18. Battery Russel
Battery Russell was built at Fort Stevens in 1903. It was named after Bvt. Major David A. Russell who fought during the U.S. Civil War. When Battery Mishler was decommissioned in 1918, Battery Russell was utilized as a practice battery for National Guard artillery forces.
As World War II loomed, Battery Russell was slated to be replaced by eight 12-inch mortars mounted on railway carriages, and Battery Russell was operational from 1941 until 1944. Fort Stevens was also attacked by a Japanese submarine I-25 that fired 17 shells close to Battery Russell.
There are several batteries at Fort Stevens today, but Battery Russell is one of the few that is completely open to the public. There are two different levels to discover. Old ammo chambers, offices, guardrooms, and storage rooms are all located on the bottom floor. On the upper level, there is an old gun pit that once held two 10-inch disappearing guns.
Battery Russell is one of the few abandoned places in Oregon that is legal to explore freely without a guided tour.
19. Simnasho Church
Simnasho is a small unincorporated settlement in Wasco County, Oregon, United States. Within the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, it is located at the intersection of Simnasho Road, Wapanitia Road, and Simnasho–Hot Springs Road.
There’s an old tribal church that’s been abandoned and has a lot of charm. It’s in central Oregon, in the Indian community of Simnasho. In 1886, a post office named Sinemasho opened here, but it closed in 1887. Another one began operations in 1894 and lasted until 1954.
Today, Sinemasho is a calm place to visit. It has a small market, and an elementary school that became part of the Jefferson County School District in the 1960s.
20. Whitney Ghost Town
The town of Whitney was founded in 1900 and has never had a population of more than 100 people. It was mostly populated by workers from the nearby sawmill, as well as a few railroad personnel. In 1918, a fire destroyed the Oregon Lumber Company’s local lumber plant, causing the town to rapidly deteriorate. During the next 20 years, logging railroads were erected in all directions from Whitney.
In 1911, the Nibley Lumber Company established a massive sawmill south of town while loggers “daylighted” the neighboring enormous stands of yellow pine. Whitney was home to nearly 150 individuals at one point. The town was abandoned after the railway was abandoned in 1947.
Whitney is a great ghost town to explore nowadays, and it’s located off the main route connecting Sumpter and John Day. Whitney was the primary stage stop along the Sumpter Valley Railroad. Today, several wood homes can be seen there. Some of them are still occupied.
21. The Astoria Underground
Founded in 1811, Astoria is the oldest city in the state of Oregon and was the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. Although Astoria has been featured in several well-known classic films, there is also plenty of fun and history to be found underneath the city in century-old tunnels just waiting to be discovered.
Astoria Underground Tour provides a unique perspective into the city’s history. Artifacts and entirely recreated rooms where people used to live are featured during the tour. The 45-minute tour includes historical details of the tunnels’ origins and purposes, as well as the role the system had in developing Astoria.
While most of the tunnels remain closed to the public, Daly has carefully restored a portion of Astoria’s subterranean tunnels, complete with visual effects, to give visitors a unique view into a location that is rarely seen and, until recently, entirely forgotten. Of all the abandoned places in Oregon on this list, the Astoria Underground is rumored to be the most haunted.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Oregon, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.