Final demolition activities scheduled to occur at the Dale administrative site

Contact(s): Darcy Weseman (541) 278-3722


PENDLETON, Ore. – Contractors will begin removing the final remaining infrastructure at the Dale administrative site on June 1, which includes utilities, the water system, waste water system, water system building, a warehouse, and two outbuildings. This work is the final phase in the overall project to remove 14 buildings at the Dale administrative site.

The planned work includes decommissioning the water system building, removing the waste water system infrastructure, and rehabilitating the sewage lagoon. Contractors will conduct hazmat abatement on the water system building prior to demolition. In order to rehabilitate the sewage lagoon, contractors plan to drain the contents through land application on site. The biosolids from the sewage lagoon contain valuable nutrients and the application has been coordinated through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Once the sewage lagoon is emptied, contractors will pull the liners, fill in the lagoon and reseed the area with native plants.

The public is asked to avoid the area until all work activities have been completed. Once completed, the restored site will provide the public with increased opportunities for accessing the National Forest, including camping, hiking and enjoying the nearby North Fork John Day River.

Prior to the demolition work, portions of the buildings were removed and repurposed at other Forest Service sites (flooring has been reused at cabin rentals at the historic Fremont Powerhouse and cabinets were transferred to the Tupper Guard Station). 

The Dale administrative site is located on Hwy 395 approximately one mile north of Dale and 65 miles south of Pendleton. The land consists of about 37 acres and is also located within the North Fork John Day Wild and Scenic River corridor.

For more than 40 years, Dale served as both a district office and compound, as well as housing area for Forest Service employees. The compound consisted of 17 structures (including the Ranger Station, 11 houses, 2 townhouses, a bunkhouse, and storage facilities) and a water and sewer treatment plant. In 1984, the Oregon Wilderness Act was passed and a large portion of the Dale Ranger District land base became part of the newly-created North Fork John Day Wilderness. Following this, the Dale Ranger District combined with the Ukiah Ranger District to form the North Fork John Day Ranger District. The new ranger district was located in Ukiah and Dale became a work center, providing housing for permanent and seasonal employees, as well as storage.

In 2002, the Forest made the decision to close the site, based on declining facilities budgets, growing deferred and annual maintenance costs, and the need to replace the water system. Permanent and seasonal employees continued to use the family housing until the summer of 2005 when the water and sewer systems were shut down permanently.

After closing the site, the Forest Service entered into discussions about transferring the ownership of the site to Grant County. Additionally, the Forest received some local interest from private parties in acquiring the Dale administrative site. However, all those efforts fell through. In 2016, when the Forest listed the 10 buildings for sale through a bidding process, no bids were submitted. Because of this and the cumulative degrading condition of the buildings, the Forest Service is moving forward with removing the buildings and rehabilitating the site. This decision will allow the Forest to focus funding and resources on maintaining the rest of the important infrastructure the agency needs to manage the public’s land.

The North Fork John Day Ranger District currently houses more than 30 permanent and 50 seasonal employees. The district continues to actively manage the landscape, working closely with surrounding communities to provide a variety of products and services including forest products (such as timber and firewood), recreational opportunities, grazing permits, active mining claims, scenic views and more.

For more information on the upcoming Dale compound removal, please contact Shaun Oliver at 541-278-3957. Additional information on the Umatilla National Forest is available at fs.usda.gov/umatilla.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/umatilla/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD745211