A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Off Riverside Drive, a huge wall of straw

Written August 28th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

That’s a massive tower of grass straw. The bike is there just for scale.

Riding the bike along Riverside Drive southwest of Albany the other day, I could not help but be impressed by the massive amount of grass straw that’s stacked on a field south of the road.

On Aug. 25 I stopped at the field and leaned the bike against the stack to illustrate just how big that mass of straw is.

The bales, I’ve been told before, belong to Gilmour Pacific Trading LLC, which is based on Walnut Drive, a little more than two miles away, where the company has its shop and warehouses.

The company has a website that tells us that in 2020 Gilmore Pacific Trading exported about 140,000 tons of straw and hay to several countries. To learn more about the family operation and the company’s products, you can go to gilmourpacific.com.

There were similar giant stacks of straw at this location in years past, covered and wrapped with tarps against the winter rain. But then the bales were gone, presumably shipped overseas, to be replaced by the next year’s production.

Covering an area roughly 600 x 160 feet, this stack is big enough to show up clearly on the satellite maps produced by Google.

Remember the days when most grass seed fields in the Willamette Valley were routinely burned after the harvest? Then field burning was banned, and baling up the straw and selling it in the export trade has taken its place.

The smoke we get now comes from wildfires instead of from fields. (hh)

This stuff looks like it’s spoiled and left over from other years.


Seen from far above, the covered stacks from a prior year show up on Google’s satellite view.

7 responses to “Off Riverside Drive, a huge wall of straw”

  1. Pat Schlecht says:

    It still appears like little of any is being shipped out of the trans loading facility built on the old paper mill site?

    • Cap B. says:

      Thanks for the reminder, Pat S. Hasso: Could you please do an update on the off-loading facility at the old paper mill site? Is it just a failed project?

  2. Mike says:

    Nice harvest!

  3. Jeff Senders says:

    good timing Hasso. They were wrapped yesterday Monday ( Aug. 28th) in anticipation of rain for the next few days. Rain?

  4. John Buchner says:

    It would be nice if Gilmour cleaned up that portion from last year that is spoiled and piled along Riverside Drive. Neighbors would appreciate the clean-up effort.

    John Buchner

  5. Brandi Wiebe says:

    Go Gilmour Pacific Trading !!!! Woot Woot!!! Get your Stack on!!! ;)

  6. Susan Johnson says:

    I just emailed the company regarding my getting a pick-up load of that ‘discarded’ hay; now, I wait to see if they respond. If not, they have a phone # I will call. What a wasted composting resource.


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