Bye, bye barn? 'The only option left is to tear it down'

Bye, bye barn? 'The only option left is to tear it down'

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. - It's been a fixture in the Cottage Grove community for close to a century.
Set back among trees on the old Highway 99, the "Dr. Pierce" barn is hard to miss.

Around the community it holds a lot of historical significance. It was placed on the National Historic Register in the 1990s.
But while it may have historical value, it's owner Doug Stout says it's doesn't have much else.

"There's no value in the property to fix the barn," said Stout.

He bought the property, which includes the barn and a neighboring house, in 2008 with the intent to fix it up. But it became a liability.

"That's dry rot," he said on a tour. "The roof leaks, there's big holes in it."

Stout put the property on the market for a year, but got no bites. "After we got done with the house, we tried to sell it, and no one was interested in even taking a look at it," said Stout.
And he says it's too costly to repair and the city doesn't want anything to do with it.

"I talked to the city about buying this piece of property, and they said they weren't interested," said Stout. "The only option left is to tear it down."

But that's not sitting well with the Cottage Grove Historical Society.

"To him, it's just a piece of property," said society member Marcia Allen.

She says the society helped save the barn once before, back in the early 1990s. The society was able to get an easement on the property, which basically means they took over basic care of the barn. But that ended in 2010.
She doesn't want to see the barn torn down now.

"It makes me sad," said Allen.

She says the society has offered to help make repairs,  but Stout has turned them down. "He said 'we'll just hold off on that for a while."

The group hasn't given up hope on the barn, she says at this point, they're holding their breath.

"It's one of the finest because it's the only one, and when it's gone, it's gone."

Stout says he's working to get a permit from the city to tear the barn down, but it's a long process.

KVAL News contacted the Cottage Grove city planners office to get their side of the story, but they were not available for comment on Tuesday.