Harvesting History for New Headquarters

In the future, when visiting the Port’s new offices at Portland International Airport, there will be one piece of decor that you can’t miss; both for its historical value and its prominent position near the 8th floor elevator.

The Fairbanks grain scale, which will grace the foyer of the offices, was an integral part of a busy grain elevator at Marine Terminal 4. For more than 50 years, the Port relied on its accuracy to measure millions of bushels of grain – grain that played a significant role in the story of the Pacific Northwest and the early success of the Port.

The old grain scale has a new home on the eighth floor of the Port’s headquarters.

In 1919, a newly constructed Terminal 4 provided a million-bushel capacity grain elevator and berthing space for vessels. This public grain elevator, along with the contribution of Portland’s private grain elevators, solidified the city’s place as a top grain export hub.

Pacific Northwest grain continues to travel from farmers’ fields to barges heading down the Columbia River to the Port and is eventually loaded into oceangoing bulk vessels. These days, state-of-the-art automatic scales weigh the grain before it makes the journey to dozens of other countries to be made into bread, noodles and many other consumer products.

Regional grain producers are proud of their heritage and the ways the industry has helped to connect this region with global export markets. The scale is a piece of Portland harbor history and symbolizes the important economic impacts of exports.