Lorane, Oregon is a small, rural community located within a few miles of the headwaters of the Siuslaw River. It sits in a position some 22 miles southwest of Eugene; 12 miles west of Cottage Grove; 13 miles southeast of Crow; and 9 miles north of Curtin.
A drive to Lorane through the Siuslaw Valley from any direction is an extremely pleasant experience. The beauty of the countryside with its lush green trees, open fields, and rolling hills is a feast for the eye.
The town of Lorane itself is built on two-levels. The two retail stores sit along Territorial Road, the main route through the town. The old and quaint part of the town which serves as the community center is located on an upper tier overlooking the valley. The buildings are picturesque. The former Lorane Elementary School, the Lorane Christian Church, the Rebekah Lodge, and the Lorane Grange all blend with their settings, as does the much newer Lorane Fire Department which sits across the street from them.
The Siuslaw Valley is a long winding gap between the hills to the east separating it from Cottage Grove, and those to the northwest, which are the beginning of the coast range.
Since our book, Sawdust and Cider, was first published in 1987, Lorane’s resources have changed drastically. In the early days, it’s economy was driven by the timber industry — the logging of the vast forests surrounding it and by the many mills that it once hosted. When restrictions were placed on the logging of old-growth timber and the industry had to make drastic changes to the way logging was done and milled, the lumber mills in and around Lorane closed down.
Fortunately, a new industry began to grow roots in the community’s soil. Oregon wines were becoming very popular across the state, and the first one to locate in Lorane was Chateau Lorane, owned by the Kester family and located about a quarter of a mile west of Lorane on Siuslaw River Road.
Then the King family bought the vast acreages, about a mile north of Lorane, that once were the Lorane Orchards in the early 1900s. They built a huge winery and planted the 1,000 acres or more to grapes. King Estate is considered to be the largest organic winery in Oregon.
Our newest winery is Iris Hill Vineyards owned by the Boyles family. It’s located about 4 miles north of Lorane on Territorial Road.
The unincorporated community of Lorane has stayed relatively small, but it has proven to be close-knit and its residents active. They have proven to be supportive of each other in times of distress and, as Sher Woods of Lorane posted on our Facebook page during the potential devastating wildfire that burned nearby in August 2015, “You know what?? I LOVE this home community of mine!!!”
You’re not the only one, Sher!