Bending a rusted, gnarled piece of wire gate just above her head, Carol Van Strum ducked into the old, dark shed where she kept some old, dark secrets.
“This was my bear deterrent,” she said of the makeshift gate.
She shined a lantern past a stack of hay bales, lighting up a row of decaying cardboard boxes that housed what’s left of her document trove.
“This is where the worst of them were,” she said. “This whole, it was just filled. And you can see the state of them. This is what they all looked like.”
After gathering dust, rust and rat poop for decades in the Siuslaw National Forest, Van Strum’s piles of documents about the chemical industry are poised to become evidence in lawsuits with billions of dollars at stake.