​American Legion Post No. 158 History

Article from The Tigard Times
Vol 39 • No.46 • Thursday, November 16, 1995

Legionaires, officials and dignitaries from all over Oregon converged here Saturday to take part in the dedication of American Legion Post 158's brand new building on Southwest Scoffins Street.

"This is one of the most beautiful posts I've seen," said Richard Schenfeld, an alternate member of the Legion's National Executive Committee, one of several to speak at the crowded afternoon ceremony. "And I've seen a lot of them in my years in the Legion."

The two-story white colonial-style building that rose so rapidly on two acres of land behind the Tigard Payless store over the past 11 months drew rave reviews from both visitors and Post 158 members, many of who volunteered countless hours in time and thousands of dollars worth of materials.

"Most of the downstairs here was finished by our own volunteers," said post Adjutant Ed O'Keefe, comparing the project to the "sweat equity" contributed by you homeowners. "Our members were just great people."

Contractor for the project was Tigard builder Robert Gray, who praised members of the post for their help on the 5,200-square-foot building. "This building was a pleasure," he said.

Past Commander Richard "Mac" McLaughlin, recapped some of the recent history behind the building project, reminding the 130 people in attendance how the post's old headquarters on Pacific Highway near the Tigard Fred Meyer was condemned right after he was elected commander in 1992, to make room for the realighned 72nd Avenue. (The post's first building, next to the Joy Theater, was sold in 1996 and later torn down.) For the next three years Post 158 leased the old Chalet restaurant (behind Spunky's Drive-In on Pacific Highway) and launched a full-scale search for property on which to build a new home.

"I'm glad you did not relocate to Multnomah, like we thought you might," said Tigard Councilor Ken Scheckla -- and post 158 member -- representing the city government at Saturday's dedication.

Master of ceremonies for the dedication was C. Ray Wilson. Commander Dan Richey gave the dedication and feature speaker was Brigadier Gen. Alexander H. Burgin, commander of the 41st Enhanced Infantry Brigade.

Architect for the project was Russell Leach, and members of post's building committee were Chairman Jim Smith, McLaughlin, Bud Sydnam, Paulette Klepper and Club Manager (and Project Manager) Alan Stedman.

The New Building features two kitchens -- one on each floor -- at large meeting room downstairs, and a lounge upstairs complete with a bar, small tables, a stage for entertainment and video poker machines. The walls of the spacious new facility are white, inside and out.

Anyone who had visited Post 158's old head-quarters, said O'keefe, knew it was "small and dark. That was one of the things we said we were going to have -- it was going to be light and bigger."

Post 158 currently has about 600 members, said O'keefe adding, "we expect to be over 700 to 800 by the end of '96. There are about 250 members in the post's auxiliary unit, he said, and about 40 members in Sons of American Legion.

Looking around at the activity and goodwill taking part just in Tigard Saturday afternoon, O'keefe said with a smile, "If the Veterans in this state would get together, they could do anything they want."

Article author: Mikel Kelly