Vancouver Barracks Caretaking

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Date: August 2, 2012
Contact: Ray Cozby, Project Manager, Vancouver Barracks Project, 360.816.6238
Contact: Doug Wilson, Archaeologist and Director of the Northwest Cultural Resources Institute, 360.816.6251
Contact: Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian, 360.816.6231

VANCOUVER, WA - The National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Reserve and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is initiating important caretaking procedures this summer to preserve and protect the historic buildings and landscape of East and South Vancouver Barracks.

This caretaking includes both temporary and permanent measures aimed at preserving this recent addition to the National Park System as part of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Caretaking is a core activity of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation and is a critical first step to preserve these extraordinary structures as the recent public master planning process unfolds. This work is essential to prepare for greater public access to the barracks.

Employees from a local construction company have been implementing several temporary changes aimed at historic building preservation and ensuring building security, including plexiglass window coverings, color-coordinated door covers, and site wide lighting repairs.

"This work helps begin to bring the vision for the east and south barracks to life," said Tracy Fortmann, park superintendent," as it protects and preserves the buildings and landscapes for future use as necessary infrastructure work is developed to move forward the public vision for the site as described in the master plan."

"Since at least the 1980s, it has been recognized that temporary measures to care for buildings are crucial for their preservation," said Doug Wilson, Archaeologist and Director of the Northwest Cultural Resources Institute. "The National Park Service, with the assistance of the U.S. Army, has documented the architectural and historical significance of the buildings and their condition, has secured them to prevent damage from vandals and natural disasters, and is providing adequate ventilation to the building interiors to prevent damage from moisture," Wilson continued. "The efforts of many talented professionals will ensure that these structures and the grounds around them will be preserved while the upgrades to utilities and infrastructure are made."

Visitors will also encounter temporary changes in traffic patterns and roadway access, designed to improve safety, streamline public access to the Shopette and Barber Shop during business hours and also accommodate construction crews for upcoming caretaking project work. "We understand the importance of the Army Air Forces Exchange Service Shopette to active and retired military officials and access to this facility will, of course, remain open," added Fortmann. "Even during anticipated construction and other work, such as infrastructure replacement, the intent is to balance safe visitor access with protection of the historic structures and other sensitive cultural resources."

Permanent improvements and caretaking measures will also take place in upcoming months, including design work to upgrade the road system and aging utility infrastructure, painting of buildings, and grounds and landscape improvements.

"The first order of business is to preserve and protect these wonderful assets that have been placed in our trust from further damage while at the same time laying the groundwork to actively begin the longer process of rehabilitation and occupancy," explained Ray Cozby, project manager. "It is a privilege to be part of this exciting project which ultimately will bring a new, incredible vibrancy to this national park."

For more information on the future public vision for East & South Vancouver Barracks, East & South Vancouver Barracks Master Plan, go to: go to information about leasing building space, please contact Kristen Jontos by email or at 360-816-6209.

View of the west side of one of the large barracks buildings that frames the south side of the historic Parade Ground at Fort Vancouver NHS
Caretaking efforts--including window and door coverings and latticework covering porch crawl spaces--help preserve and protect historic buildings such as this large barracks structure in East Vancouver Barracks.

NPS Photo by Kristen Jontos

Photo of a historic window at Vancouver Barracks with a temporary plexiglass cover for safety and security
Temporary plexiglass coverings help protect and preserve historic windows such as this one in East Vancouver Barracks.

NPS Photo by Greg Shine

Detailed photo of plexiglass window covering and screw used to preserve a historic window at East Vancouver Barracks
Detail of temporary plexiglass covering in use in East Vancouver Barracks.

NPS Photo by Greg Shine

Photo of protective latticework under front porch of a barracks building at Vancouver Barracks.
Sturdy latticework, such as this example along the front porch of a historic barracks, provides elements of protection to vulnerable areas of historic buildings.

NPS Photo by Greg Shine

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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