North Fork Yachats River Covered Bridge

End of North Fork Road, Yachats, OR 97498

A Bridge to Almost Nowhere

What's not to love about a covered bridge? "Rats who nest in them," said an old-timer. "But," she added, "those Chicken Coop Bridges did protect us from the rain."

Once there were four covered bridges on the Yachats River. All but the North Fork bridge were torn down in the 1950s.

The North Fork forty-two-foot bridge was built by Otis Hamer in 1938 for $1,500 (the equivalent of $27,276 in 2020). It was the last bridge Hamer built.

Historically an uncovered wooden bridge usually lasted about 20 years and a covered one 100 years.

In the early 1980s, the bridge's roof was removed, so a mobile home could be delivered.

In 1987, a fuel truck crashed into the front of the bridge. A fuel tank ruptured, but fortunately, no fuel befouled the river.

In 1989 the bridge was rebuilt by Two G's Construction Company. Trusses, roof, and siding were worked on, concrete piers and footings were added, and zinc strips were put on the roof to prevent moss growth.

The bridge has a Queenpost Truss style, meaning it has two supporting posts in the trusses (the trianglular structures) on the top. Buttresses underneath the siding provide support and are why the sides are flared

An engineer on the refurbishing project said that with proper maintenance, the bridge would last another fifty years.

According to a 2020 Lincoln County Public Work's webpage, a $665,000 ($37,255 in 1938 dollars) restoration project is--pardon the pun--in the works. The bridge will be repainted, and "key components" and siding will be replaced. The National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program is covering 90% of the costs.

The bridge is currently surrounded by private property with little area to turn around and has an eight-ton weight limit.

If Wikipedia is correct, about 14,000 covered bridges were built in the United States. In 2009, fewer than 1,000 were still standing, and fifty of those are in Oregon. World wide only about 1,600 are still standing.


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