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Press Release
October 20, 2010
CORRECTION: Oregon National Guard to open doors of two remodeled state armories to the public
The Oregon National Guard will hold open house ceremonies for armories in St. Helens and Gresham, Friday, Oct. 22.

The Master Sgt. Gunnar Larson Armory in St. Helens open house is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. The facility is located at 474 S. 7th St., in St. Helens, Ore. It is home to the Oregon Army National Guard's 1 Detachment, Bravo Co., 1 Battalion, 186 Infantry Regiment.

The Clifford G. Schneider Readiness Center in Gresham open house is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. It is located at 550 NE Division St., in Gresham, Ore. The facility is home to the Oregon Army National Guard's Charlie Co., 2 Battalion, 162 Infantry Regiment.

Both events are open to the public. The media is encouraged to attend.

Upgrades to both facilities include energy efficient "on-demand" water heaters, and solar panels which feed excess energy back to the electrical grid, reducing monthly electric bills. Also, installation of "low-E" insulated windows and new exterior insulation that exceeds existing construction codes by 20 percent, further reduces cooling and heating costs.

The 2007-09 Oregon Legislative Session approved a concept known as the Service Life Extension Program which addresses older, undersized armories. Minimal federal funding was required for the upgrades to both armories.

Remodel construction on the Master Sgt. Gunnar Larson Armory began in June 2009, and was completed in May 2010 at a cost of around $2.5 million. More than 4,000 square feet were added to the original 12,426 square feet, with a new storage building, and a new visitors parking lot. The improvements add 25 years of useful life to the facility.

The architect for the Master Sgt. Gunnar Larson Armory is Randal Sanders of RSS Architecture, P.C., Woodburn, Ore. The contractor is Scott Conway of First Cascade Corp., in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Remodel construction on the Clifford G. Schneider Readiness Center began in December 2009, and was completed in July 2010 at a cost of $1.9 million. The project remodeled the existing 12,426 square foot facility originally constructed in 1955. New systems included in this remodel were exterior insulation and siding, truss and standing seam roof system, heating and air conditioning system and a fire suppression system.

The architect for the Clifford G. Schneider Readiness Center upgrade is Mark Danielson of Architects Barrentine Bates Lee, AIA. The general contractor was Steve Melany of P & C Construction, Gresham, Ore.

Gunnar Larson joined the Oregon Army National Guard's 162nd Infantry in 1925, and later served during WWII in the South Pacific, where he was awarded two Bronze Stars for heroic actions under enemy fire at Biak. Following WWII, he returned to the St. Helens unit, serving as the armory's full-time administrative technician.

During Larson's 17 year career at the St. Helens Armory, the building was renamed the Master Sgt. Gunnar Larson Armory, making him the first and only member of the Oregon National Guard to have a facility named in their honor while they were still living. He retired in 1966, and later received the Oregon Exceptional Service Medal in 1974. Larson passed away in 1978.

Clifford G. Schneider arrived with his family, settling in Gresham. He served in WWI as a U.S. Army supply sergeant near Neufchateau, Belgium. Following his service, he organized the Headquarters Company of the 186th Infantry, Oregon National Guard in Gresham, Ore. He served four years as the unit's company commander. In 1938 he was appointed to the Oregon State Senate by Gov. Charles H. Martin. Both of Schneider's sons, Robert and Gordon, served in WWII, with Robert serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a B-17 pilot, and Gordon serving as an infantryman in France.
Contact Info:
Capt. Stephen Bomar, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office: 503-584-3886.