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Cultural Resources

Cultural Resources Program

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has a long history in cultural resource management and protection. From the creation of roads and bridges which harmonized with the landscape at our inception, to highway beautification programs that included “Beaver Boards” which highlighted our cultural heritage, to our regulatory role responding to laws from the 1960s, we understand the intimate connection between human pathways and heritage. We consist of a qualified staff of professionals who meet Secretary of the Interior's (SOI) Standards for Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

We assist the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in following the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Section 106) and the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (Section 4(f)). We maintain a Section 106 Programmatic Agreement with FHWA, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which outlines how we handle both complicated cultural resource interaction and innocuous projects which have limited, if any, effects to historic resources. Our Cultural Resources Staff review all Section 106 documentation, work directly with the FHWA and SHPO offices, develop Section 4(f) documentation, and conduct all Tribal Consultation. Oregon is a state rich in cultural heritage – our program seeks to strike that balance between a growing transportation framework with protection of Oregon’s significant cultural resources. 

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​Cultural Resources Consultant Qualification Program

ODOT’s Cultural Resources Consultant Qualification Program is designed to outline document expectations for cultural resources, increase communication efficiency and improve cultural resources documentation quality overall. Details are as follows:
This Program applies to consultants working on ODOT-related projects (i.e. Federally Funded Local Government Projects, Statewide Transportation Improvement Projects, etc.) 
ODOT holds this training twice a year, every two years. Consultants must attend the course and pass a written exam with a minimum passing score of 80%.  
To remain qualified, consultants are required to take a refresher course every two years to stay current on the latest requirements. 
The aformentioned list​ notes those consultants who passed the written exam and are considered “qualified” to do cultural resources work* for ODOT. Please note that this program only applies to qualification for ODOT projects and should not be used as a tool to hire consultants for other state agencies. 
*Those existing agreements/contracts that are in place will continue to function as is. Upon expiration, those contracts will be updated and amended to include this new requirement. 
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State transportation projects and archaeological resources have been intertwined since the creation of ODOT in 1913. Such resources vary greatly in their nature, content, context, extent, and are non-renewable finite resources. Over 30,000 sites have been recorded in Oregon to date with less than 10% of the state actually surveyed. Each resource and circumstance must be evaluated individually, and appropriate procedures and steps are developed on a case by case basis.

This program is administered by Carolyn Holthoff, ODOT Cultural Resources Manager in the Geo-Environmental Section. While some fieldwork is conducted in house, most is performed through interagency agreements and private contracts. Our team is a nationally recognized program. We also have conducted several educational events such as the Ashland Mock Dig and the Elk Trail Elementary School Mock Dig.

ODOT has the responsibility of reviewing all scopes of work and final products for sufficiency. ODOT Archaeological Staff are responsible for all Tribal Consultation on ODOT projects.


Carolyn Holthoff

Cultural Resources Program Manager




Data Recovery
in Region 4

Dogbane Outreach


Discovery Region 3 


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Historic Resources

As our communities in Oregon change through the years, the recognition and protection of our vital historic resources becomes increasingly important. Our work at ODOT is to both see through better transportation connectivity without forgoing the historic fabric that tells us who we are.

The following links are provided to documents which you will need to comply with the regulations designed to balance our historic fabric with transportation development. Click here for descriptions of the various laws and regulations which protect Oregon´s historic resources.

          Historic Resources - Guidance & Resources

The ODOT Historic Program, in coordination with the Bridge Preservation Program, has developed a state-wide Historic bridge guide that will captures the known Historic bridges in the state. Click below on the Bridge Preservation link for a PDF version of the book.

Bridge Preservation Unit

Covered Bridge - Portland, Oregon

Twin Tunnel Area - Columbia River Highway

Vista House at Crown Point - Columbia River Highway​

Chris Bell

Historic Resources Program Coordinator


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Cultural Resources Podcasts

ODOT strives to maintain transparency and keep the public informed of transportation issues through a variety of media outlets. We have undertaken a modest pilot project to create nearly 20 heritage-related podcasts available for download. This project offers a unique opportunity for our agency to engage the traveling public and increase awareness of cultural and natural resources along our state’s highway.
This type of public outreach provides a special opportunity for a state agency to connect with Oregon residents and national/international visitors. Initial podcasts will focus on the early development of ODOT, impacts of World War II on Oregon’s transportation infrastructure, the historic ferry system, and archaeological resources in Clatsop County. Future podcasts will explore Conde B. McCullough, ODOT’s master bridge designer, balancing cultural resources and transportation needs, the highway park system, and ODOT’s efforts to reestablish natural resources in the Salmon River Estuary.
The goal of the podcasts is not only to connect with the public but also to share the agency’s enthusiasm and interest in creating awareness of Oregon’s unique heritage. We look forward to any comments you would like to share. 

Archaeology in Clatsop County
Scrap in the 1920's
Highway Department during World War II
Early ODOT
The Balancing Act: Transportation and Cultural Resources
Coastal Bridges
NeahKahNie Mountain
Pre-History U.S. Highway 30
McCullough Memorial Bridge
Technical Issues
Having Technical Issues?  Here a few helpful tips.
  1. If your default audio/visual player does not activate on the selection of the link, then try a different player such as Windows Media Player or similar software.
  2. If you choose to download the file, simply do the following:
    • Right-Click on selected file
    • Select Save Target As
    • Select file destination
    • Browse to file and select application to play podcast.
  3. For further help feel free to contact us via the contact information below.

Kurt Roedel



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