I Waited Twenty Years for This and It Was Worth It

Lime, Oregon abandoned Cement Plant Mellissae Lucia

This place has called me for over twenty years, hidden along interstate 84 in eastern Oregon. Last fall during my 6,500 mile road trip I made a note of what exit it was and how far it was from the next largest town. I always forget exactly where it is, and this time I was able to calculate what time of day I would be there and prayed it was still standing. For a variety of reasons it never fit into the flow of past trips, but as I got closer and closer I was praying so hard that I could kick off this two-month walkabout with my first visit there. Passing the newer cement plant in Durkee on the north side of the interstate I wondered if the graffiti covered acropolis would welcome me today. Calculating how to get there was part of the adventure because the Burnt river and the train tracks run along one side of the highway so deciding which exit to take was important. In my brief notes I had written down the name Lime, but the exit I tracked was the one beyond the plant. I assumed there was a road up to the site, but I was following my inner navigator now. As I considered what to do my instincts told me to take the Lime exit that was before the deserted cement plant revealed itself. I get really giddy before exploring new places, and I was about to jump out of my skin at the potential of what was around the next corner. As I flowed up the canyon road the first huge tanks came into sight and I was quivering. It was about 5pm on a Saturday evening, 85 degrees and the warm summer sun was bathing the towers in soft light.


Lime, Oregon abandoned Cement Plant Mellissae Lucia

Deciding to enter abandoned spaces is always a major intuitive process. I am a petite female who is usually alone, and there are lots and lots of unseen energies lurking around. There is also the potential of other humans, and that is much more threatening to me than the disembodied Spirits and possible animals there. I have been doing this since I was a child with my parents, but being more psychically conscientious about the process emerged a couple of decades ago as I recognized my highly intuitive nature. I actually spend a lot of time alone on the land and exploring interesting spots so I cultivate a strong connection to my animal instincts in where to go and not go. Apprenticing to my Earthen Body and Painted Body ritualistic photography work was the greatest training I have gotten in listening, following, and being safe. I have taken the ceremonial pictures over seventy times across the world, disrobing and meeting the energies of different earthen places. I learned during these initiations to trust my instincts and that my Spirits will protect and guide me. I have hidden like a rabbit on the land when I get the sense not be seen, and I also just honestly do not desire to have other humans interrupt my open, explorative states. There are times when I have clearly been denied entry to locations and I remember that knowing. When I lived in rural Texas near Pecos there was a gorgeous abandoned factory with a saw tooth roof that I was jonesin’ to check out. Each time I passed it and asked my Spirits if I could go I got a very clear no. I trusted that. There is a lot of gang activity in Pecos and it may have been some negative energies that were best not to meet. I do not know, but because I have had so many other incredible times I release the ones I am not to experience.

Lime, Oregon abandoned Cement Plant Mellissae Lucia  graffiti

I had been asking for about forty miles if I would be welcomed to explore this abandoned site and I had not gotten a clear answer. Wondering if my excitement was clouding my judgment I let the impressions float through as I got closer and closer. When I parked beside the big metal silos I got a clear confirmation that I could proceed. I had wolfed down some jerky and crackers, knowing the thrill of the hunt for new patterns and patinas would overcome my physical hunger. I grabbed my big fanny pack with a water bottle, an extended charger for the sacred iPhone, and a little tripod. I felt like I was going to explode in this oddly grounded way and surveyed the scene. The big silos most visible from the main road were starting to go into the dusk so I decided to go up the hill to the other structures to catch the best light. I could see graffiti everywhere, and wanted to simultaneously inhale it all while slowly and methodically examine every inch of the site. I headed up to the right seeing a pink cartoonish horse on one building as I was drawn to an open-air theater missing its roof with a beautifully arched cover at one end. The end-cap’s inner structure was exposed and looking up into it was a graphic delight. There were hanging metal tubes and rusting framework and a ladder that I was to learn brave artists would climb throughout the site to make their mark. There was something so elegant about the broken out windows framing the expansive space with the crumbling debris along the floor, and the regal pitched roof holding court at one end of this space waiting to be met. I could see a music video being filmed here with a crew of dancers spinning throughout the space.

Lime, Oregon abandoned Cement Plant Mellissae Lucia

One of the major concerns during summertime desert adventure is snakes. We are in their prime habitat in the heat and there are lots of great places to curl up and rest. I realized later that at certain points I was so caught up in the excitement of the hunt that I was less cautious about their existence. At times I will toss rocks ahead of me into the grass to warn rattlers and also pound the dirt as I walk to let them feel my vibration. I ended up only encountering one snake that did not rattle towards the end, and I this was a major miracle. I did speak to the snake Spirits beforehand humbly asking for us to be in different spaces and this time it worked. At the entry to this open theater there were tons of black, thin rubber tire strips that looked so snake-like I had to stop and consider where they came from. In an older post about this plant someone had pictures of rooms covered in abandoned documents strewn about the collapsing space. I did not see any sign of that, but these black strip were a little creepy in the same way I bet the papers were because they seemed overly abundant and out-of-place.

Lime, Oregon abandoned Cement Plant Mellissae Lucia

I took some photos and found some baby birds nestled in an old hanging scoop. Leaving this space I headed up the hill to the main attraction. An entire village of deserted structures looked over the site and was beyond compelling. Some of the walls were calling out to be the backdrops for steam punk performance pieces with exposed rebar and crumbling cement. The wind really began to pick up and my Pendleton Rodeo cap was having a hard time staying on. I had to get creative since I forgot my favorite multi-use accessory, the holy bandana. I took my sparkly paisley tunic off and wrapped it around my hair to keep it from whipping into my face as I ambled around the property. The graffiti called from every surface, but not so heavily decorated that it became overwhelming. It was as if the artists has curated the spaces, leaving the majority of the gray cement exposed. It was a treasure hunt to see where they had painted a wall or nook, many of the most enchanting pieces hidden down underground in spaces that required crawling through small doorways and opening that had practical uses in the past.

Lime, Oregon abandoned Cement Plant Mellissae Lucia

I scaled the dirt mound to the center of the complex and was in awe of how beautiful a deteriorating building can be. The combination of crooked wooden steps with rusty* hanging shoots and bright punches of spray painted artwork was such a pleasing combination.  (*This is so funny, my brain was not bringing up the words for when metal breaks down {rust} and so I googled some combination of when metal turns red and decays I got the Wikipedia entry on ruin porn!!!! I had no idea that term existed but I am willing to travel the world checking more of them out). The sounds here were also so interesting. There were the pigeons, quail, and swallows swooping around, the blowing wind, and then the clashing jolts of unhinged doors slamming against their framework. From this central point I kept being drawn to the two huge smoke stacks that would make great Hipstamatic surreal images. I took tons of shots of those spires from every angle. I continued down finding some great pieces of graffiti hidden in cloistered spaces and kept bopping in an out the rooms I could easily enter. I am a little crazy, but not nuts, and being alone doing these things I do wish to come out the other end so really risky descents and pathways I shy away from. After getting my fill of the main campus I decided to climb up the hill and see what was up there. I got some more great shots of the valley through the framework of the cement structure’s “windows,” and at some point I will make a video of the best shots. I could see the top of a large painted yellow piece above and headed up to check it out. It ended up being a lego-like face whose mouth was the entrance to more underground tunnels that has even more graffiti. This entire place is a wonderland of bright, wild-style artwork that reminds me of the freedom the painters had at the 5 Pointz artists lofts in Long Island. The entire building was legally covered in graffiti until it was torn down and was called an Aerosol Art Center. Because graffiti is generally illegal it is an underground artwork, and the Lime plant actually reinvigorated my desire to do some of my own graffiti. The level of artistic talents some of these folks have is incredible, and I love the colorful brilliance mixed with “low-brow” spaces that truly makes it such a hidden gift.

Lime, Oregon abandoned Cement Plant Mellissae Lucia graffiti

Heading down I saw the one snake and thanked it for moving off the path. I was getting tired and thirsty so I went back down to the big silos and took some video inside their cool-ass tunnels. The train came by and I was able to get some video of it through the doorway of the silo structures. As I was coming through one of the buildings I heard a district growling noise and wondered if there was a wild dog or a person had come. I had only seen one car pass when I first arrived and I was considered if I would be safe if a human had arrived. I also heard the jangling sound of a dog collar, so I carefully came out and looked around and no one was there. Later when I researched the history of this place I found an entry in a ghost hunters blog called strange destinations that said people have reported hearing growling noises!!!! It also said people have returned to a spot they had just visited and things had been moved. I guess the paranormals are pretty happy to show off for the visitors. Enjoy these photos and look for a video of the adventure when I get it done. I am off the Moab today and Santa Fe in two. Happy adventures all!

Here is some history about it:


2 Replies to “I Waited Twenty Years for This and It Was Worth It”

  1. Thank you again and again you Magikal Goddess you. ❤ Thank you for your determined explorations into your passions. Today was the perfect time to read this; needed the inspiration and soul food this brought.
    I love following your adventures and I LOVE YOU!


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