Skogan family enters second century of living in Sandy

Ivy Hartman

After placing the old, worn-out box on his table, Sandy resident Bill Skogan began rummaging through old documents and photographs that have been passed down through generations. 

¨My aunt Mildred gave me all of this information. She gave me these papers for safekeeping,¨ Skogan said.

Skogan’s family has been living in Sandy for about 117 years. His grandfather, Albert Skogan, first moved to America in 1903. 

“Albert was born in Sandefjord, Norway in 1880,” Skogan said. ¨He wanted better opportunity, so he came through Ellis Island in 1903.¨

Albert traveled to New York on the SS Hellig Olav. From there, he moved to the Northwest to be closer to his family. 

¨I know he had cousins that came here before him. My aunt told me one time that he had a cousin that lived in between Gresham and Sandy,” Skogan said.

On this way through, Albert stopped in Minnesota but wasn’t a fan of the state, so he continued on to Oregon.

“When he got here, he thought that Sandy looked more like Norway so he stayed,¨ Skogan said.

For reference, Albert moved here far before Sandy became an actual city.

“The Revenue Township became Sandy when the U.S. Post Office was started in the Gerdes General Store which was located where the Ace Hardware is now located in 1873. A city council was elected in 1911 and the City of Sandy was incorporated on Nov. 14 in 1913,” Sandy Historical Museum employee Ken Funk said.  

While Albert was here, he got to work to prepare a livable space for himself and his future wife, Anna. 

¨He had a lot to do with Skogan Road. As far as I know, he logged it out and owned most of it. He then built a home for him and his wife,¨ Skogan said.

After building a house and logging what’s now called Skogan road, Albert moved back to Norway.

¨He went back to get his girlfriend in 1909. After that, they got married in Norway in 1912 then they moved back to Sandy together. That gave him about eight years to build a home for the two of them,¨ Skogan said.

Once the couple resided in Sandy together, they began their family.

“Their oldest kid was Henry, then Ed, then Morris, Margaret, Mildred, then Arthur. All of the kids were born here. As a matter of fact, Margaret was born in their barn,¨ Skogan said.

Although the last name Skogan is well-known to long-time Sandy residents, that wasn’t always the family’s last name. 

¨Our original last name is Hansen, but [Albert] changed it when he moved because there were already so many Hansen’s here,¨ Skogan said.

Skogan is proud of his ancestry and loves learning more about his family.

¨I feel like a true Sandy Pioneer. It’s an honor. A lot of families don’t have people that stay in one place for so long,¨ Skogan said.

Although Skogan has lived in Sandy most of his life, he moved a bit while he was in school.

“I went to Sandy Grade School from first through fifth grade. After that, we moved to Oregon City, then Adrian from my sixth-grade year through high school. After graduation I moved back to Sandy,” Skogan said. 

The reason for his family’s move was for his father Arthur’s job.

“My dad was a minister in Oregon City, then he got a job in Adrian so we moved there,” Skogan said.

Arthur attended Sandy High School back in the 1930s, but then joined the Navy to fight in World War II. After that, Arthur became a preacher at Sandy Baptist Church.

Like his father, Skogan also preaches.

“I have been in ministry for 43 years,” Skogan said. “I used to preach at the Grange Hall in Boring, but now I preach at Lighthouse Community Church in Gresham.”

Because he has lived here for so long, Skogan has witnessed many changes throughout the town. 

“It’s hard to remember because it was so long ago,” Skogan said. “I know there used to be a lot less stop lights throughout town. There was also an old Kelso store.”

In order to learn more about their history, Skogan’s family has created a Facebook page where Albert’s descendants can post any pictures or information they have about the family. The group currently has 36 members but is slowly growing as more people learn their family tree.

As Skogan shuffled through his old family documents, he stumbled upon Albert’s old letters to friends, pictures of his family, and even the book that Albert learned English with. His box is something that Skogan takes immense pride in and hopes to pass down to his family in the future.

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