Hawley Powerhouse collection

Art Contemplates Industry--Hawley Powerhouse
June 26-27, 2008

A heritage and art legacy project, managed and sponsored by Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation & Portland General Electric to document an Oregon City icon before it disappeared.   (Click on images for full size viewing. For full resolution images contact the Foundation. All images copyright protected.)

Morning of the first day found the group trooping out through the Blue Heron Paper Company to the 1916 powerhouse, under PGE supervision. The Hawley Pulp and Paper Company powerhouse, our destination, perched on Black Point, at the edge of 50' Willamette Falls. Once out to the structure, we had a safety orientation from PGE staff.

New decking contrasted with aging paint and lichen-covered machines that had tolerated 92 years of spray from the falls.

Film-maker Lawrence Johnson and artist Shelley Herschberger were obviously attracted to the first close views of falling water.

Photographers and other image-catchers tried to absorb the richness of the exterior context of Hawley before touring
the interior with PGE staff as guides.

Accompanied by Rusty from PGE, two enthralled participants, Alissa and Martha Wilcox, carefully explored rusting 1890's turbine outfalls of Station A, providing onlookers with a good perspective on the size of historic hydropower processes.

Dean Walch, stereo photographer and one of the three Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation co-curators for this project, shows Deb Schallert, of PGE Parks and Relicensing, a sample of his 3-D technique.

Zeb Andrews' holds the pinhole camera that he will use to produce a unique interpretation of Hawley for public exhibit as part of the "Art Contemplates Industry-Hawley Powerhouse" collection, now on display at the West Linn Library Gallery, through January 29.  The exhibit has been selected by the Clackamas County Arts Action Alliance to be on display at the new Willamette Falls Hospital Gallery in Oregon City from mid-February through May 14.

After two days of plein aire painting, sketching and photography, Hawly was swiftly prepped for deconstruction by PGE's contracted crews. Beginning with the windows and doors and the roofing, the structure underwent complete dismantling during July and August, including the scrapping of the turbines and other hydropower equipment within its tall foundation.  The work was staged in large part from a ship and barge on the river below, working with a huge crane, and the spectacle attracted considerable local attention. Today the site of Hawley Powerhouse is home only to the capped foundation of the former building, which is now called The Dance Floor and may someday be open to public viewing of the falls, under a future Blue Heron mill site redevelopment plan.

Editor's note: We deeply regret the unexpected passing of Shelley Hershberger, August 1, 2011.
May her creative spirit rest in peace.