The barn at Circle Creek is currently used for events, gatherings, and celebrations. It will come down to make way
for the brand new Circle Creek Conservation Center building, which will include offices, as well as space for community activities.
This summer, North Coast Land Conservancy is breaking ground on the Circle Creek Conservation Center—a goal more than 10 years in the making.
The project is more of a homecoming for the organization, which originally was headquartered at the Circle Creek Habitat Reserve before a fire destroyed the office building in 2012. Ever since then, it has been a goal for NCLC to rebuild at Circle Creek.
“We say our ‘office,’ but we really mean our home, the anchor of our organization,” NCLC Executive Director Katie Voelke says. “Circle Creek is a really special place. It’s an incredible wildlife area, hosting everything from rare birds to salmon to bears. It’s beautiful and big and wild, yet just a few minutes from both Seaside and Cannon Beach. It is a place where people can come to walk, sit, hike, listen, observe and gather. It is also a place that describes the value and critical nature of conservation, with no words required. Just being at Circle Creek answers the question: Why is conservation important?”
Since the devastating fire, other projects have taken precedence, such as the creation of the Rainforest Reserve and the purchase of Boneyard Ridge, a 340-acre property connecting Circle Creek and Ecola State Park on Tillamook Head.
The time has now come for NCLC to bring to fruition its vision of a true conservation center at Circle Creek.
Volunteers and staff gathered at the Circle Creek property for a work party July 24 to prep the barn for its demolition,
removing items and materials that can later be reused.
Construction Plans and Timeline
Circle Creek—located off U.S. Highway 101 on Rippet Road between Cannon Beach and Seaside—will serve not just NCLC but the coastal community as well. The new office building will include spaces inside and out where NCLC can invite the public for planned gatherings, celebrations, lectures, hikes, walks and classes. The reserve also includes two wonderful nature trails through forests and wetlands that are open to community use.
“It’s just so awesome to be directly connected to the work—the fresh air, the trees, the birds. To have it right there every day is a constant inspiration,” Katie says.
NCLC is working with Cove Built Construction to build the new Circle Creek Conservation Center; O’Brien Design+Build served as the design consultant. One of the old metal barns that currently sits on the property—which despite its worn condition is often used for meetings and public gatherings—will be removed and recycled making room for the new center. That work is slated to take place in late August. Site clearing and preparation will begin in September, and the new building will be staked out in early October.
Currently, the plan is to have the new building completed and operating by the end of 2024. It will include offices for NCLC staff and volunteers and shared work areas, in addition to multifunctional meeting rooms and community event and gathering space, including a covered patio, and trailhead access. The stewardship barn and Creek House will remain.
During construction, the Circle Creek Conservation Center—including the trails—will be closed to ensure public safety. Keep an eye out for signage at the property and announcements via NCLC’s website and social media for the completion of the campus and its reopening to the public.
The building project comes with a price tag of $1.2 million. Currently, thanks to NCLC’s insurance proceeds from the fire and generous donors, such as the Green family and the Graff family, the organization has $800,000 secured for the project.
With construction costs on the rise, NCLC will begin construction and continue to fundraise for the remaining $400,000. If you are interested in supporting this vision, please contact Executive Director Katie Voelke.