Arizona Avenue Railroad Scale House
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 44° 02.878 W 121° 19.216
10T E 634563 N 4878572
This history sign is located in Bend's Old Mill District near the Art Station (the historic Railroad Depot).
Waymark Code: WMD5AB
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 11/20/2011
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 3

The Arizona Avenue Railroad Scale House was relocated to this location in Bend's Old Mill District near the Art Station (which is the relocated Railroad Depot).

Marker Name: Arizona Avenue Railroad Scale House
Marker Text: The Arizona Avenue Railroad Scale House was installed on Arizona Street in Bend, Oregon in 1943 by two giants of the saw mill industry, Brooks-Scanlon and Shevlin-Hixon.
The building housed the scale head that was used to weigh all of the rail cars going to and from the area mills until the final mill was closed in 2002.
The Scale House was restored and relocated to its current site through the efforts of the Southern Crossing Neighborhood Association, River Bend Limited Partnership, Nunzie Gould, Jim Guild, B&C Smith Contracting, and many dedicated volunteers.
Built: 1943
This plaque was donated by the Southern Crossing Neighborhood Association and River Bend Limited Partnership.

Below is the text of a handout which may be available during special events when the Scale House is open for public viewing.

Restoration and History of the Arizona Avenue Railroad Scales in Bend, Oregon
Adapted from text by Tony Rosengarth, member of the Board of Directors, Deschutes County Historical Society
Credits: A special thanks to Jim & Nunzie Guild for restoring the Arizona Avenue Railroad scale house before you, which was an important part of the timber industry in Bend, Oregon. Bill Smith has graciously agreed to provide a home for the historic scales in the Old Mill District for future generations to view and enjoy.
Railroads played a key role in transporting logs to mills and lumber to markets during Bend’s 80 years as a timber town. Bend’s famous Brooks Scanlon & Shevlin Hixon sawmills began operations in 1916, with Brooks Scanlon on the east side of the Deschutes River and Shevlin Hixon directly across the river. At that time, these mills were considered the largest pine mills in the United States with each producing 1,000,000 board feet per day. This equates to a total of 50 railcar loads per day leaving Bend. All that product had to be weighed.
Prior to 1943, all rail cars for outbound lumber shipments from these two mills were weighed at the Bend Rail Depot, where Greenwood Avenue & the Bend Parkway currently intersect. At that time, lumber shipments from Brooks & Shevlin represented 95% of all rail traffic leaving Bend, heading to many different destinations all over the United States.
The two mills installed the Arizona Avenue railroad scales in 1943 with the scale shack. The now-restored scale shack was located next to the scale bed. This is where the weigh master operated the scale. A large round bell was located on the north wall of the scale. As each rail car was weighed, the weigh master would signal the locomotive by ringing this bell so the next freight car could be moved into position. This had to be a very loud bell to be heard over the sound of the engine. For years, this bell could be heard over the southern part of Bend day & night.
Dave Miller, a life long resident of Bend, worked for Brooks Scanlon for many years. He retired as Maintenance & Engineering Manager for the mill in 1994 when it finally ceased operation after 79 years. Dave still remembers the process of weighing rail shipments during the early years. As a boy, he lived on Colorado Avenue, close to where the Arizona Avenue scales were built in 1943.
Dave’s first memory of the scale installation was watching a large steam shovel digging the pit so the scale could be installed below the rail grade. A large pit was needed to hold the balance beams and other scale components that were necessary to weigh such heavy rail cars. The scale bed was long enough to weigh one full rail car at a time as it passed over.
The scale was manufactured by Fairbanks Morse with a rated capacity of 300,000 pounds. The calibration tag shows that it was last calibrated in 1998. The last mill to use these scales was the Korpine plant, which processed planer shavings into particleboard panels for furniture. This product was also shipped all over the United States. This plant produced the equivalent of 16 to 20 rail cars per day, shipped both by rail & truck. The Korpine mill ceased operations in 2002.
The railroad played a key role in the timber industry during the past century. The Shevlin mill, located on the west side of the river, used the same rail line that the scales were installed on to access their mill. Beyond the scale site, the rails would pass over a wooden trestle across the Deschutes River, just north of the existing Colorado Bridge.
Both sawmills used their own steam locomotives and rail cars to haul logs from the forest to the mill sites over private & dedicated rail lines. Shevlin’s rail line ran south along the west side of the Deschutes River up to Benham Falls, where it crossed the river and continued south to the town of Chemult.
In the early years, The Great Northern Railroad hadn’t completed the tracks south of Bend over the lava fields (completed in 1932). For a number of years, they used the Shevlin tracks west of the river to connect with their line at Chemult. Because of this, Shevlin obtaind right, after 1932, up until they shut down in 1950, to use the new Northern Line as needed. Shevlin sold out to Brooks in 1950 because of dwindling timber supplies.
Brooks also had their own steam locomotives and rail lines. One track went south to China Hat road and then southeast along the edge of the desert. Brooks also had a second line that went west, crossing above Shevlin Park and continuing past the town of Sisters to Green Ridge. The trains came in twice a day at about 8:00 am and around 4:00 pm.
One thing unique to Brooks Scanlon was the maintenance yard to maintain rail equipment. It was complete with a round house and turn table to turn the engines around. The round house was located just north of the old power house in the Old Mill District. The logging trains started to be phased out in 1955, with the CHina Hat rail going first and the Sisters rail in 1957. All logs were then transported via wide bunk log trucks over the old rail beds.
The Brooks Scanlon facility was initially sold to Diamond International, then in 1980 to Sir James Goldsmith of England. In 1985, the mill was sold to DAW Forest Products and finally to Crown Pacific, who closed the mill in 1994. This made the Arizona Avenue Scale and scale house obsolete. The Southern Crossing Neighborhood Association took an interest in the shack after a query from a neighbor and started the shack’s path toward restoration in 2007.

Historic Topic: Modern Age 1900 to date

Group Responsible for placement: Historical Society

Marker Type: City

Region: Central Oregon

County: Deschutes

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

Web link to additional information: Not listed

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Volcanoguy visited Arizona Avenue Railroad Scale House 10/05/2011 Volcanoguy visited it