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Lanphere celebrates 50th Anniversary

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO BY JAIME VALDEZ - Bob Lanphere Sr. and Bob Lanphere Jr. with some of the motorcycles and cars stores at company's original Honda dealership in Beaverton.Seated in his office in the modest company headquarters along Broadway Avenue in Beaverton, Bob Lanphere can hardly believe the career he's led that led Honda America to give him a longevity award for his company's 50th anniversary.

After growing up near Milwaukie and serving in the Army, Lanphere returned home and bought his first motorcycle. He was soon winning local and regional races, where he met Honda factory representatives interested in starting U.S. dealership.

Lanphere secured a franchise in Beaverton in 1964, which was then a long distance phone call away from his home. Sales were good, allowing him to win a franchise there when Honda began selling cars. Although people laughed at the earliest model, sales of the follow up Civic took off during the 1975 Gas Crisis and he never looked back.

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO BY JAIME VALDEZ - Beaverton Kia is right next door to where Lanphere Enterprises started 50 years ago.Today, Lanphere's son Bob Jr. and daughter Sharon Lenz help run Lanphere Enterprises, a 600-employee company that includes Kia, Infinity, Dodge-Jeep-Chrysler, and Toyota-Scion dealerships in Beaverton and other cities.

And Lanphere still sells several brands of motorcycles at Beaverton Motorcycles, 10380 S.W. Cascade, Tigard. That's where the company celebrated it's half-century milestone on on Aug. 9.

"If you can do what you love and do it with your family, then you are very lucky," says Bob.

Although the company parted ways with its Chrysler dealership and was forced to consolidate during the Great Recession, sales at all dealerships are beginning to increase, raising hope that the worst is over.

"We really plan to remain a family-run business that is around for another 50 years," says Bob, Jr.