Following is the diary of the construction of Hank’s Ranch. Included is the story of why Hank’s Ranch is called “Hank’s Ranch.” It is also called “the Summit Prairie House.”
First a brief timeline
2008 (late spring) Architects and family members view site.
2008 (summer through December 10th). Trees felled, footprint cleared, foundation poured, walls up, metal roof on, house wrapped in tar paper and plastic.
2009 (summer through late fall). House sided, windows installed, interior walls up and wall board installed, floor tile started, bathroom tile and fixtures started, house sealed up for winter with cadet heaters left running to avoid mold.
2010 (summer through late fall) House finished. Cadet heaters and fans left running.
2011 (winter). Family and friends snowshoe in and thoroughly enjoy good times at the Ranch.
Condensed summary of the project
Construction started late in the summer of 2008 because the snow was slow to leave. The project was run by SJM Construction. It was left as a shell for that first winter. The crew worked hard and took pride in their efforts. I was not there every day and was encouraged to keep out of the way. Construction started up again in 2009 and it was a late start because my contractor, Stewart, had other things to do. Meanwhile, the economy was tanking. For the first part of the season everyone worked really hard, but by the end of the season Stewart pulled off all but two crew members and, while they did good work, the remaining crew didn’t work as hard as previously. I was very naiive in not being more alert to the change of pace. During the winter of 2009 into 2010 it became apparent that SJM Construction was in financial trouble and that Stewart had never intended to complete the job. I held family pow-wows, got financial advice (much of the pot of construction funds had mysteriously been depleted). I took stock of my options and decided with the advice of the job captain from the first summer, Dan Laney, to become my own contractor. I patched together financing. Most of the work of the last year (2010) was done by Dan and able worker Jimmy Packard from the first two summers, with the addition of other SJM crew members who had also been left in the lurch, and now were working other jobs. Everyone worked on the project worked for reduced wages because they had such an emotional stake in seeing it to completion. Doing the right thing. I paid the crew directly and was the procurer of materials that weren’t delivered directly to the site. I learned so much and the crew who worked on the project were given the opportunity to do things they’d never done before. I was “hands on” — there every day and doing all the small tasks I could. Family members volunteered as well. The results speak for themselves. The house became more than the sum of its parts.
The diary of construction starts with the most recent entries first and goes backwards to the earliest. A few of the entries are out of order, such as the diary of the deck party is in a lump, not backwards, spread out over the days it happened. Many of the entries from the beginning construction are missing. I still have those photograhs but the dialogue disappeared some how. In time I’ll just add the photographs and captions. If you have questions or comments you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When my brother and only sibling, Read Richardson, passed away we all felt a gaping hole in our lives. He owned a piece of property near Government Camp (.41 acres) that he affectionately called his “ranch,” hence Hank’s Ranch. The house built on that property is a tribute to him and a place for the living to enjoy the company of family and friends.
Hank Richardson, Thanksgiving 2004
The Oregonian obituary:
Read Richardson , Welches, Oregon (edited)
On September 23rd we lost a good friend, son, brother, step-father from complications of two strokes.
Read was born in Portland, Oregon on May 21, 1944. He graduated from West Sylvan Grade School, 1958, Lincoln High School 1961, Portland State College (now Portland State University) in 1965 with two degrees in Business Administration and Psychology.
He served 1965-1968 United States Air Force (Viet Nam era), receiving an honorable discharge.
Work career: Omark Industries, (human resources), independent commercial fisherman out of Newport, Securities Travelers RVs in Boise; Community Action Center in Vancouver, Washington; a fly-by-night employment agency (he turned state’s evidence because they were corrupt — the company no longer exists), Zeidell, Schnitzer Steel – and other non-ferrous agencies for over 25 years. Read, most recently, was working for Metro Metals NW and Pacific Coast Shredding.
He had a passion for gun collecting, hunting & fishing, books, local history (particularly Mt Hood history); Oregon Public Broadcasting; jokes & puns; his friends and family; wilderness places.
“Hank” was his nickname and he will be long remembered for his unflinching honesty, his loyalty to those who believed in him and in whom he believed and his simply phenomenal sense of humor.
Ann’s eulogy from the Memorial Service:
Omens. Messages from Mother Earth or the gods. I believe in them.
On August 19th when my brother didn’t show up at the memorial service of our dear friend Randy Proctor, I was concerned. Hank always showed up.
If he said he was going to be there, he was – sometimes a little early and always eager to share a good meal with lots of laughter. When I couldn’t find him after the service, I became very worried and my Saturn and I took off speedily, going up the mountain to his home.
As I pulled up to his house, his beloved Mitsubishi Montero was in the driveway with a bright yellow leaf on the front window. The leaf told me that something was very wrong and I needed to act: NOW.
That moment was followed by more than a month and a half of roller-coaster rides. And then, before dawn on a Saturday, his body finally said “enough.”
Step-sister Holly showed up on the following Sunday at the funeral home to be with me as I signed the paperwork to dispose of his earthly remains. Thanks for showing up, Holly. We went out for brunch and then I headed off to see Mother and Dave.
I try to stop by every Sunday. I pulled over on SW First Avenue, under some gloriously yellow beech trees, to call and say I would be in Newberg shortly. Just before I pulled back on the street, Sara Proctor, Hank’s step-daughter, phoned me, just to check in. She has been so good about touching base. As we chatted, a single bright yellow leaf floated in my window and landed on my lap. It seemed to me that Hank was thanking me for dealing with his shell, saying: “Brugli Other to Sisti Ugler, I know that wasn’t great, but I appreciate it.”
Leaves were turning color everywhere and falling on my deck, in my hair, on the 4×4 as Dennis Taylor and I tried to find gun clips and get Hank’s vehicles running. “Just checking in and saying thanks,” he said.
There are so many people to thank. I won’t name you, as for certain I’ll forget someone really important. But I do want to thank all of you who came to visit my brother over those 6 weeks—those who called and who responded to emails.
I want to thank his coworkers and Metro Metals NW who visited and kept his paychecks coming. I want to thank my coworkers who stocked my frig with deli frozen dinners and all of the Wu crew who covered my back during my frequent absences. And my boss who came to support us today. Most importantly, I would like to thank you all for showing up. Look at you all!
In the days, weeks, months, years ahead, the leaves will continue to fall. When you find them on your doorstep, on your rig, on your lawn chairs – do smile and say: “Thanks for showing up”
We must not be sad, but we should raise a glass to the cause. Be kind and celebrate the good times…oh yes, and recycle!
Hank and Ann at cousin's wedding near Silverton, 2005
Next comes the construction diary