Smith Rock, Terrebonne, Oregon

Asylum City: Campus Designs

Kirby Urner
6 min readDec 16, 2019


A lot of my Asylum City planning is conveyed via Youtube, using a somewhat impressionistic style, some call it stream of consciousness. I’ll do some work in post production to illustrate my points, using the techniques of place based education.

I currently live in an area unofficially, yet affectiontionately, known as Asylum District, through which runs SE Hawthorne Boulevard, in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Hawthorne was a chief doctor for the state mental hospital, located a few miles west of my District headquarters.

The hinterlands around Portland feature lots of ranches, with horses, and lots of resorts. People who can afford the overhead of horses tend to congregate around Bend, Terrebonne, and Madras, Oregon. One of my recent Youtubes switches over to pictures of Smith Rock (see above), as I start unfolding my Quaker inspired DIY curriculum.

entrance to Hedron

I imagine use staging an ongoing set of experimental lifestyles based on prototypes. That’s the Disney / EPCOT angle. Sometimes we have horses in the picture, which our students learn to care for, and maybe ride on occasion.

Probably by now you think I’m influenced by Westworld (the HBO series) and you would be correct. My imagination hearkens back to the original movie starring Yul Brynner. The motif I’m especially drawn to is especially pronounced in Cabin in the Woods (Joss Whedon).

I’m talking about the tunnels under, the janitorial caverns, the behind-the-scenes engineering. We get a lot of that from theater, but more directly from circuses and theme parks, even health spas such as Breitenbush. The full time staff live on site and make sure guests learn the ropes. Like a cruise ship, or any hospitality business. Maintenance elevators, control rooms, and whole corridor systems and floors, may stay separate, admitting authorized personnel only.

In this story, I want to focus on the DIY shops, the maker spaces, the places where arts and crafts happen, but also prototyping and design, repairs, modifications. The existing Asylum District and environs already has spaces one might rent for such purposes. Perhaps you upholster, or paint, or sculpt…