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News / Clark County News

Leadbetter days ahead? Camas officials considering $229,344 contract to shore up historic 1901 home along Lacamas Lake

By Kelly Moyer, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: February 16, 2024, 6:03am

Camas officials will soon decide the fate of two city-owned homes, including one that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

City staff say the historically significant Pittock-Leadbetter House is in desperate need of structural repair. The 3,700-square-foot Queen Anne-style home — built in 1901 by Oregonian newspaper publisher Henry L. Pittock for his son and daughter-in-law — is on the northeast side of Lacamas Lake at 114 N.E. Leadbetter Road.

“The focus is to … keep it standing upright and give us many years until we can figure out what we’re going to do with this house,” Camas Operations Manager Will Noonan told Camas City Council members during a Feb. 5 workshop.

Noonan said the suggested repairs, which will cost the city $229,344, will “make the exterior of the home, commonly referred to as the Leadbetter House, structurally sound for many years to come.”

Council members will consider approving the repair contract with Halbert Construction Services on Tuesday.

The city’s 2023-24 budget includes money from the repairs, Noonan said.

The city purchased the Leadbetter House and adjacent Mills family property for $2.5 million in 2019 as part of Camas’ Legacy Lands program to preserve hundreds of acres along the north shore of Lacamas Lake.

Councilwoman Jennifer Senescu said she believes the historic home should be under private, not public, control.

“I would love to see that privatized and brought back to its glory,” Senescu said during the council’s Feb. 5 workshop. “It will cost a lot of money for the city to bring it back to its glory.”

Council members also will soon make a decision about how they want to proceed with another city-owned home located on the north shore of Lacamas Lake that also is in need of repair.

The 55-acre Rose property, which the city bought for $12.5 million in 2020, includes the house, built in 1981, as well as a storage bay built in 2000, a 6,900-square-foot horse arena built in 1995, and a covered horse barn built in the 1950s, Camas Public Works Director Steve Wall said.

Though council members had considered repairing the 1980s home and using it for staff purposes, Noonan said “the house would need significant upgrades and remodeling to be put into condition as a rental or as some sort of office use for city staff.”

Instead, staff recommended that the house be demolished.

Noonan told council members this month that the outbuildings are in good shape.

“We’re keeping the barns,” Noonan said. “One is a former horse-training arena. It’s nice. And huge.”

The cost of the demolition, including sales tax, will be $155,912. City staff have proposed entering into a contract with SDB Contracting Service for the demolition work. The council will vote on the contract as part of Tuesday’s consent agenda.

Noonan described the remainder of the Rose property as “a jewel.”

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