Equipment maker buys Legion Hall in Camas

1924 structure will become headquarters, manufacturing plant

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 

A Camas company has purchased the city’s landmark American Legion Hall and plans to invest $1 million to renovate the historic structure into a headquarters and manufacturing facility.

CID Bio-Science, which designs and makes instruments for agricultural research, expects construction to start within the next two months for an anticipated late-2012 move-in, said Michael Larman, a spokesman for the company. He said the 17-employee company plans to grow by two workers this year.

“We need a little more elbow room,” Larman said, one reason for choosing the former Legion Hall, a two-story wood-frame building perched above Lacamas Creek at 1554 N.E. Third Ave., east of the city’s downtown core.

The old Legion Hall building served a number of uses over the years, said Mike Lamb, a real estate broker and Camas native.

“It was a roller-skating rink most of my growing up,” said Lamb, who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s.

According to archives kept by the American Legion’s Bennett-Barnett Post No. 27, the Camas hall dates back to 1924. That’s the year volunteers purchased lumber from a local saw mill owned by A. McDonald to build the large, two-story structure for their organization. They purchased the property for $445 from the Crown Willamette Paper Co. of San Francisco.

The national American Legion was founded in 1919 by veterans returning from Europe after World War I.

CID Bio-Science has operated in Southwest Washington since 1993. It is currently located in office space at the

Camas Meadows golf course at 4901 N.W. Camas Meadows Drive.

“We wanted to stay local,” Larman said. Company leaders also liked the idea of buying and refurbishing the historic building to meet CID’s needs.

A wide variety of private and public research clients buy the company’s products, including agricultural businesses, seed hybridizers, universities, the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service.

“Plant research is a fairly well-funded venture,” Larman said.

He added that CID Bio-Science sells its research instruments to many businesses involved in agronomy, the science of soil management and crop production.

CID’s equipment also is used to research the environment, Larman said.

The headquarters remodel will be designed by architectural firm ZGF, which has offices in Portland and Seattle. Larman said no general contractor has been named to oversee the project.