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Soon-to-open center will focus on Sasquatch study, awareness, learning for all ages

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Melissa and Cliff Barackman and Scott 'Minty' Minton hope to open the North American Bigfoot Center on the old Ashley's property by June. In the Mt. Hood National Forest, guests often visit to search for three things — huckleberries, mushrooms or Bigfoot. Well-known Animal Planet star and Bigfoot evidence analyst Cliff Barackman says he's seen Sasquatch, and in June, he'll be opening a museum of artifacts called the North American Bigfoot Center at 31263 S.E. Compton Road in Boring with partners Melissa Barackman and Scott "Minty" Minton.

Barackman has been studying Bigfoot for 25 years. He has amassed a collection of footprint casts, photos and other findings, which he hopes to use to educate the general public on the creature so many are skeptical even exists.

He's especially excited to open the center near where he lives.

"By opening a center close to home, I'll get to know the Bigfoots in my neighborhood," Barackman noted.

Barackman says being able to study Bigfoot and present his findings so close to his Sandy home is a great opportunity.

The museum will include a welcome center, gift shop, interactive displays with both audio and visual components and a library, to be completed and opened in phases throughout 2019.

The teaching aspect of the museum will be enjoyable for Barackman as well. Barackman was an elementary school teacher before he became the go-to Bigfoot evidence analyst on Animal Planet's popular show "Finding Bigfoot."

"I see this as an extension of my education career," he said. "It really is a scientific endeavor."

Barackman noted that he hopes to make education about Bigfoot more accessible since he has "the ability to put detailed information into easily digestible chunks," and he considers the study a "citizen science."

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: SCOTT 'MINTY' MINTON - The North American Bigfoot Cenrer will include a welcome center, a gift shop, interactive displays with both audio and visual components and a library, to be completed and opened in phases throughout 2019. With the museum, Barackman and his partners plan to offer lessons and exhibits for all audiences, from the skeptic non-believer to the novice Bigfoot enthusiast to the Sasquatch expert.

"The goal of this museum is that anyone can come," said designer and museum partner Minton. "We're structuring it as Bigfoot 101, so everyone has the opportunity to come in and learn about Bigfoot basics."

"I find the more skeptical people are, the less educated on the subject they are," Barackman added. "We hope to supply answers to even the most skeptical people."

Minton noted that while the main focus of the museum will be Bigfoot, "the subject of Bigfoot touches on so many other subjects that are important to people in this geographical area, like preserving the outdoors, environment, history and culture."

Minton said he hopes to encourage people to be good stewards of the forest where Bigfoot lives through lessons on the creature's habitat and history.

"It's our hope that visitors to the North American Bigfoot Center will feel educated and empowered to get out in the field, put boots on the trails and experience what draws so many of us to the wild, beautiful spaces where Bigfoot exists," Minton said.

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