Odell Butte Lookout
US 466, OR 63

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 466, OR 63 (view other lookouts in United States, Oregon)
Date Registered March 1, 2003
Location Deschutes National Forest
Klamath County, Oregon
Coordinates N 43° 28.250' W 121° 51.807' (view using Google Maps)
N 43° 28' 15" W 121° 51' 48"
N 43.470830° W 121.863450°
Elevation 6,931 ft (2,113 m)
Built 1961
Administered by U.S. Forest Service
Cooperators Crescent Ranger District


Odell Butte was used as a patrol lookout as early as 1907. In 1915 it was established as an emergency lookout and used as such until the tower was constructed in the Fall of 1932. A 12' x 12' frame cabin atop a log crib built in the 1920s. In 1932 it was replaced by a L-4 cab on a 20' tower. A R-6 live-in flattop cab with catwalk on a 30' treated wood tower was constructed in 1961 and continues in active service.


Change Basemap

Visit Reports

October 4, 2003: Jim Shotwell


Needs paint? No Response
Shutters OK? No Response
Condition of wood OK? No Response
Stairs OK? No Response
Glass intact? No Response
Good condition? No Response
Comments: Keith Argow 374 Maple Avenue East, Suite 310 Vienna, VA 22180 Greetings: It was good to meet you last Sunday. I also enjoyed meeting all the other enthusiasts. I have enclosed a copy of the Volney Engineering recommendation for stabilizing the R-6 lookout building. Norbert Volney rated this improvement to withstand a 120 mph wind. The R-6 building was not designed to withstand the wind loads common at some lookout sites. A strong wind load breaks the wall at its weakest point where the wall studs are toenailed to the header. Then the wall collapses inward. In the worst case scenario, the roof and walls are then sheared off the tower. This Volney Engineering improvement maintains the original appearance of the P-6, but the walls must be almost completely dismantled to accommodate all the metal clips, straps and hurricane anchor brackets. The window f rames need to be trimmed to accommodate the new 4A studs. But the original shutters that are integral to the window f rames can be saved to retain the historical appearance of the building. At Odell Butte, we decided to rebuild the walls completely from scratch. We used three 4x4s for studs instead of the recommended two, and reduced the seven windows in each wall to four. The additional 4A stud in each wall increased the horizontal wind load resistance by at least 25%. In the process, we also opened up window space as the seven windows and their extraneous frames restrict visibility quite a lot. We took the ceiling down to install the H5/H6 brackets and the A34/A35 clips between the rafters and the lintels. We took advantage of this opportunity to install insulation in the roof and walls. The windows are custom built single glazed 1/4" thick and tempered with a wind rating of 80 mph. Doubleglazed windows were considered but were not chosen because of the multiple reflections and distortion caused by two panes of glass. If the lookout was to be used in the winter, the double-glazed insulated glass would be a better option. The window frames were made of aluminum because of Odell Butte's severe weather at 7,057 feet, but in most applications vinyl frames would be more practical as the aluminum frames have an interior frost transfer problem in sub-f reezing weather (they weep and puddle up). The original shutters were integrated into the window f rames so we had to fabricate a new shuttering system, too. A design similar to the L-4 shutter was used. The dif f erence is that our shutters are hinged at a mid point and fold up once before being lifted and attached to the eaves for summer. The metal brackets, clips, and straps are quite cheap - especially considering the time it takes to dismantle the building and reassemble it - so we placed them at every structural point that had a horizontal or vertical shear potential due to wind loading. This also added a considerable amount of earthquake protection. Since Uncle Sam has already paid for this engineering evaluation and recommendation, please feel free to share it with anyone who needs it. The R-6 is the worst design for a lookout that I have seen. These improvements go a long way to making it a good place to work and live. Jim Shotwell Odell Butte Lookout Crescent Ranger District Deschutes National Forest Crescent OR 97733

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? No


Staffed? No

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? No Response
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? No Response