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Camp 18: A walk-through history in logs

By a popular restaurant on the way to the Oregon Coast, an open-air logging museum offers the strange and ghostly beauty of ruination. A photo essay by K.B. Dixon.

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Text and Photographs by K.B. DIXON


Camp 18 Restaurant and Logging Museum is located, not coincidentally, at mile-marker 18 on U.S. Highway 26. Together with the Sunset Jerky Store (which squats near mile-marker 48), it is an orienting landmark on any trip to Oregon’s north coast.

For many the restaurant is the main attraction. A massive log cabin filled with elk antlers and chainsaw carvings, it offers a bang-for-your-buck cuisine (what the management calls “logger style meals”)—things like country slab ham, bunkhouse omelets, and cinnamon rolls the size of Frisbees.

For me, the main attraction is the open-air logging museum. I’ve always been fascinated by the strange beauty of ruination. I have a strong visceral response to entropical processes: to peeling paint, rusting steel, and crumbling concrete—a visceral response that alludes to metaphysical rather than sociological subjects—to loss, decay, and the passing of time as opposed to deprivation and injustice. Here at Camp 18 there is a festival of ruination. It is spread out over acres. Displays of dilapidated hardware and vintage logging equipment are piled everywhere. Mammoth, prehistoric-looking machines are mired in bogs of their own dissolution—things called steam donkeys and compound gear yarders. These machines that once ruled the woods have been carved by time’s chisel into large pieces of industrial sculpture. They are the collapsed travelers from an antique land half-sunk and shattered—the sort of things that will have visiting English majors reciting what they can remember of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Ozymandias.

All photographs below are from 2022.

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Restaurant

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Big Wheel

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Boiler

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Cables

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Flag

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Bronze

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Spokes

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Doorway

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Sponsor
Chamber Music Northwest First Baptist Church Portland Oregon

Sunset Tree Farm

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Water Tower

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Truck

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Water Tower 2

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Steel Tracks

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Railcar

K.B. Dixon’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and journals. His most recent collection of stories, Artifacts: Irregular Stories (Small, Medium, and Large), was published in Summer 2022. The recipient of an OAC Individual Artist Fellowship Award, he is the winner of both the Next Generation Indie Book Award and the Eric Hoffer Book Award. He is the author of seven novels: The Sum of His SyndromesAndrew (A to Z)A Painter’s LifeThe Ingram InterviewThe Photo AlbumNovel Ideas, and Notes as well as the essay collection Too True, Essays on Photography, and the short story collection, My Desk and I. Examples of his photographic work may be found in private collections, juried exhibitions, online galleries, and at K.B. Dixon Images.

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One Response

  1. Thanks for sharing these. It’s been years since I’ve stopped. Time to do it again and experience the decay.

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