Where We Live: USS Oregon’s smokestacks find a new home

Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two important pieces of Oregon history that were headed for the scrap heap will now be preserved for generations to come.

Emmert International of Clackamas has moved everything from hotels to nuclear reactors to the famous Spruce Goose. Now, Terry Emmert is moving the smokestacks from the famous “Battleship Oregon.”

“I thought it would be a shame to lose these,” Emmert said.

The smokestacks have languished for years at Zidell Yards in Portland’s South Waterfront. In 1898, the USS Oregon helped win the Spanish-American War and demonstrated the strategic need for the Panama Canal.

Battleship Oregon’s mast is at Tom McCall Waterfront Park but the Navy League said the smokestacks wouldn’t fit. The Oregon Maritime Museum didn’t have enough space and they’ve been looking for a place ever since.

Veteran Roger Gertenrich took on the challenge.

“Well it only took 10 years to get to this point,” he said.

Gertenrich contacted Emmert who agreed to take the smokestacks and Battleship Oregon’s anchor. He plans on creating a permanent display at his Emmert Cali Marketplace and Saigon Mall on SE 82nd and Foster.

“It’s important to remember our history and how this country was founded and the veterans who fought for our country to keep it free,” Emmert said.

Welder and Portland Community College instructor Todd Barnett shored up the smokestacks for the move.

“It would just be melted down and scrapped out and now they’re saving it for future generations to be able to enjoy it,” Barnett remarked.

Emmert said he will refurbish the smokestacks while he waits for permits for the display. Until recently, Battleship Oregon was the first and only “USS Oregon.” A nuclear submarine named USS Oregon is scheduled to be commissioned early next year.

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