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Grain loading at Biggs Junction

February 24, 2010
Biggs Junction grain elevator

Sunlight creates an interesting glow between silos as grain is loaded from a Biggs Junction silo into a barge for shipping downriver. Copyright Mark B. Gibson

On assignment in Biggs, a truck stop on the Oregon shore across from Maryhill Museum of Art, I noticed a grain barge being loaded from a large grain silo on the river’s edge. I had the canoe on top of the Jeep, so when I finished the assignment I launched and paddled around the loading area.

Chain and shadow

A huge chain casts rippled shadows on the angled bow of a grain barged moored near Biggs Junction. Copyright Mark B. Gibson

The barge was floating at an acute angle as it was loaded front to back…or perhaps back to front, I don’t know if the square-ended barges have a “bow” or not. As it filled, the barge leveled. A lot of wheat is harvested in Wasco and Sherman counties, the vast majority dry-land winter wheat on a two-year planting rotation.

I then explored a pair of grain barges anchored offshore on the edge of the shipping channel. They have been there 10 years or more. The chains in the photograph are huge, each link fashioned from inch-thick steel.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2010 20:15

    To tell you the truth…I was moved to tears. You are a powerful writer, Mark.

  2. March 3, 2010 20:16

    I love the artistry of this photo–and the one about the chains. I also like your story of how you got the picture.

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