Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WANDERLUST: A Tribute to Donald Shane

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 8:50 PM

The First Day of WANDERLUST, a daily photo series by Amy Hunter

Today I meandered out toward Dishman Hills to the concrete plant nestled just off Dishman-Mica Road. I pulled the car over to snap photos of the Dishman Concrete building, initially lured by the contrast of rusty reds and corrugated tin amongst the pine. What I found inside, however, proved to be the thing that really made my wandering today ... well, lusty.

Travis Shane, nephew to the owner of Vortex Incorporated (a local excavating company that now inhabits the Dishman Concrete Products building), greeted me and graciously agreed to let me poke around the yard. Next, came an offer to tour the building.

In the 30-odd minutes we spent together, Travis told me tales of his grandfather, Donald Shane, who purchased the building for his family business in the 1980s. He showed me mounds of “junk” – spare parts and tools and random curiosities – that his grandfather had collected over the years for projects that generally required taking something old, and making it into something new. Many were rusty and contorted, colors were distorted and obscured by time.

His grandfather died in 2007, but walking through the space he once inhabited, it was easy to imagine what he might have been like. A bit eccentric, sometimes even rowdy. The kind of guy who might enjoy a cold PBR on a hot summer day.

Today, the building and property are mostly used as a yard and storage facility for Vortex, but within its walls lay numerous dust-covered artifacts valuable only, perhaps, to those who know their story. And this, of course, is the beauty of taking time to wander; you sometimes find insights and inspiration in the most unexpected places.


Purchased by Donald Shane in the 1980s, the Dishman Concrete Products building in East Spokane now serves as a work yard for Vortex Incorporated, a local excavating company. 

Shane's grandson, Travis, tells stories of his grandfather's knack for accumulating an eclectic array of items and his skill at putting old things to work in new ways.

Travis says his grandfather would "roll over" if he saw the shop today in such disarray.

Room after room of tools, machinery oil, dirt, grease -- and history.

Relics of Donald Shane's positive attitude (and penchant for pin-ups) still hang on the wall.

A homemade forklift, fully-operational and made by Shane himself is one of the old-things-made-new that their family used in business for years.  It wears a Cadillac emblem and Ford F100 mark, revealing both Shane's sense of style ... and humor.

Following in his grandfather's footsteps, Travis Shane shares a talent for making fixes and works to keep his family's excavating trucks -- along with the business -- up and running. 

ABOUT WANDERLUST: The photo series is a 60-day visual story-telling project that explores the seemingly ordinary places, people and things we experience everyday. It's about being curious and asking questions. It's about wanting to know more about the world around you and seeing it from fresh perspectives. If you have ideas on where I should wander, drop me a line:

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Sons of Norway Craft and Culture Fair @ Trinity Lutheran Church

Sat., Feb. 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
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