“I’ll Be Dammed! So That’s What They Did in That Building: The Story and History of the Troutdale Materials Laboratory"
Tue, 06/26/2012 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
McMenamins Edgfield: Power Station theater
2126 SW Halsey Street
Troutdale, OR 97060
About the Event
Every day we walk by buildings and structures that are backdrops to the landscapes in our lives, but we
know little about their history or impact on our community. For Len Otto, growing up in Troutdale a mile
from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Materials Lab had its disadvantages. He remembers
lugging 30 pound concrete cylinders from the facility to his father’s pickup truck. The cylinders were
discarded materials from the USACE’s Troutdale Materials Laboratory. Little did Otto know that inside
this nondescript building a variety of human activities took place that had a significant impact on the
community and the Columbia Gorge region.
Built in the early 1940s, the Troutdale aluminum plant used the building to store aluminum destined for
WWII aircraft. After the war the War Assets Administration stored and sold surplus war goods. In 1949
the USACE purchased the building and tested virtually every batch of concrete used in dam building on
the Columbia River. It also became a laboratory to test a variety of materials. Learn about these activities
and more with Len Otto and Sharon Nesbit.
Presented by: Len Otto and Sharon Nesbit
Retired from a career as an elementary educator, Len Otto
presently pursues his lifelong passion for history by recording and publishing people’s life stories. Sharon
Nesbit is a local historian and founder of the Troutdale Historical Society. She is a columnist and reporter
for the Gresham Outlook.
Cost: Free and open to the public
No registration required.
Event WebsiteThe Oregon Encyclopedia
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