By Cliff Newell The Lake Oswego Review, Jan 7, 2010
Usually it is things like ships, statues and buildings that receive dedication ceremonies.
But the chicken coop at Luscher Farm was deemed suitable for this honor by
After all, without the chicken coop there might no longer be a Luscher Farm.
“We wanted to dedicate the sign as a way to thank Riccardo for all he’s done,” said Laura Masterson, director of 47th Avenue Farm. “It is also a way for people, when they come to the farm, to learn more about what the Friends of Luscher Farm group is doing.”
So recently, a friends group – Spaccarelli, his daughter Maria Morrison, Kathe Worsley, Tom Scheile, Russell Jones, and Masterson – showed up in cold, drizzling weather to dedicate the sign.
Also in full attendance were the chickens and all of the other birds who live in the coop, and they handled the frigid weather much better than the humans.
But the beautiful sign was worth the effort. On it, Spaccarelli explains the history of the chicken coop. There is also a photo of Spaccarelli, his dog Buck, and his old pal Rudie Luscher, the late former owner of the farm.
“There was no Rudie Luscher signage around here,” Spaccarelli said. “We needed to have some. Rudie sold this farm to the city and made the project possible. He started a precedent.”
The Riccardo-Rudie friendship began one day in the early 1990s when Spaccarelli was out running with his dogs near the hills of Luscher Farm.
“I was wanting to have access to the property and also do some bird training,” Spaccarelli said. “I decided to come to the farmhouse and knock on the door.
I introduced myself to Rudie and he was very kind. We developed a friendship.
“Rudie loved to chat. I used to come over and talk to him for an hour before running my dogs.”
Luscher ended up almost like part of the Spaccarelli family. He allowed Spaccarelli to build a bird run to raise pheasants, quail and other birds. Spaccarelli repaid him by picking berries for Rudie’s wife Georgette to bake pies.
“Rudie became part of my extended family,” Spaccarelli said.
As the friendship evolved, so did the dream of Luscher Farm – as a rural spot in an urban setting, as Lake Oswego’s experiment in sustainable living. The city of Lake Oswego took over the farm after Luscher’s death in 1997 and allowed Spaccarelli to keep raising his birds.
That set the tone for everything that followed. The city liked what was happening at Luscher so much that it continued to purchase agricultural property, and now has 100 acres. To preserve “this special property” the Friends of Luscher Farm,
a non-profit organization,was formed in 2004.
While Masterson farms the land, the chicken coop thrives.
“The coop is a big draw to kids,” said Worsley. “They love to come watch the birds.”
All of this makes Spaccarelli quite happy.
As he says on the sign: “Perhaps the best legacy of my friendship with Rudie Luscher is this development of the FOLF through which we can support ongoing farm projects.
“Specifically, we hope to endorse projects which are consistentwith the dreams of Rudie Luscher.”