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Birdhouses that are miniature marvels posted on 07/01/2021

Locals stopping in Welches Mountain Building Supply in Welches recently may have noticed the presence of birdsong or the “not for sale” sign hanging from an occupied birdhouse outside the store during the spring and summer months.

The presence of birds contentedly nesting in an intricately crafted miniature log cabin act as the best advertising imaginable for the wares of Mount Hood area woodworker Rollo “Dutch” Dutcher.

For the past fourteen years since his retirement, Dutcher has been crafting artisan quality bird houses that have earned him a strong local following in the Mount Hood communities for their combination of form, function and regional style.

“Every spring the swallows pick one or two homes to raise their families in. We put up a sign saying those houses aren’t available to sell until fall,” said the owner of Welches Mountain Building Supply, Rochelle Simonds. Simonds has sold the birdhouses to a steady supply of new and repeat customers at her store over the past five years.

“With his eye for detail his bird houses are as functional as they are beautiful,” Simonds added.

Dutcher’s birdhouses are miniature mountain cabins, complete with cedar-shingled roofs, river-rock masonry, and details such as ornamental chimneys and fir pillars to complement the aesthetic.

“When I retired I started looking around for something to do. There’s a lot of birds around here so I picked birdhouses,” said the 84-year-old Dutcher.

Dutcher works from his shop at his family Christmas tree farm, Dutcher’s Farm, located in Boring where he has lived for the past 54 years.

Dutcher was born in Flint, Michigan and moved to Oregon in 1964. He worked as a carpenter from the age of 18, and later as a general contractor and cabinet maker for 33 years until he retired at the age of 70.

His birdhouses are made from 60 percent organic, recyclable material. Dutcher refurbishes used cedar fencing and planes it down at his shop to make the roof shingles for the houses.

He uses fir branches from the Christmas trees for the rest of the structure and colored river rock for the masonry.

Dutcher designs the bird houses himself, and they are priced individually. Dutcher also offers his wares from his family tree farm where his son sells vegetable starts. He stated that they make for popular gifts and are frequently purchased in addition to the Christmas trees.

“We love working with Dutch. We finally got him to start signing his creations because they really are works of art,” said Simonds.

Rollo “Dutch” Dutcher’s birdhouses are available at Welches Mountain Building Supply, 67250 Hwy. 26 in Welches and at Dutcher’s Farm, 33755 SE Compton Road in Boring.

By Ben Simpson/MT

 

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