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Wind socks aren't just for airports

Why is there a wind sock on top of what used to be the Darigold building out near the mall? Who and what used that to help land what I can only assume was a helicopter near there “back in the day”? Good prospecting!

— Jim

We would love to tell you the wind sock helped guide helicopter pilots as they dropped off dairy cows for their daily milking, but alas, that wasn’t the case.

The Darigold milk processing plant across from Rogue Valley Mall in Medford closed in 2015 after the company said it would cost too much to upgrade the facility to meet food safety, employee safety and environmental regulations.

But while the plant was still operating, the wind sock and car dealership-style flagging at the site showed which way the wind was blowing.

Facilities that could experience a gaseous leak of potentially hazardous chemicals sometimes have a wind sock or other device to indicate wind direction. That helps show people where to evacuate so they don’t end up downwind of emissions.

Sarah Taydas, director of corporate communications for Northwest Dairy Association/Darigold in Seattle, confirmed this was the purpose of the wind sock.

Dairy processing facilities use a variety of chemicals for sanitizing equipment. Chlorine is the most common, according to the Dairy Research and Information Center at the University of California, Davis.

The faded wind sock still tops the old Darigold buildings, even though they’re now boarded up and the property is fenced off.

Darigold is in the process of selling the property and is open to interested buyers, Taydas said.

According to Coldwell Banker commercial broker Richard Bauernfeind, the site is zoned for light industrial use.

The flexible designation means the old Darigold location could be used for manufacturing or retail activity, he said.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.