Archive for June, 2011

PARC Field Day on Kelly Butte

This last weekend I observed Portland Amateur Radio Club (PARC) conduct their annual field day at Kelly Butt in SE Portland – nearly on top of the old Cold War era Civil Defense Control Center. The members of PARC use field day as an opportunity to test their ham radio skills, which would be tapped if a catastrophic natural or man-made disaster occurred rendering first responder communication useless. During field day, the dozen or so ham operators at Kelly Butte compete with other amateur radio clubs in logging contacts. They start at low power, like 5 watts, and work their way up. Once a contact is logged, it’s sent to a national organization for verification.


I was mostly curious in exploring the remains of the Civil Defense Control Center, which I have blogged about in the past, but never seen in person. There is no way to actually gain access to the interior anymore, which didn’t surprise me, since I’ve heard stories from the past of homeless folks taking up residence when access was still possible. What was a little amazing was just how completely the City of Portland covered the entrance to the bunker. Untold tons of dirt and rock now cover the concrete facade, which featured a massive sliding steel door seen in the film “The Day Called X”. There is an escape hatch at the rear of the facility, and this was pretty easy to find, but the city has plugged the door with a big chunk of concrete. What amazed me was the all the vegetation that has grown up around the old structure. The top of the building is still roughly outlined by a small field, but the parking lot and entrance looks like it’s hundreds of years old.


1 comment June 28th, 2011


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