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The Madras Masonic Lodge is expected to be purchased by the Madras Redevelopment Commission.

HOLLY GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - Outside walls have been crumbling at the Madras Masonic Lodge.The 66-year-old Madras Masonic Lodge, which has not been used as regularly in recent years and has fallen into disrepair, is expected to be purchased by the Madras Redevelopment Commission.

At its Oct. 10 meeting, the MRC voted to approve the purchase of the lodge for $25,000, subject to legal and staff review, and appropriate "due diligence."

The two-story concrete block building, which has been home to the Madras Masonic Lodge 169 and Eastern Star for decades, was built in 1952. The 6,400-square-foot building sits on a 0.83-acre parcel, at 520 SE Fifth St.

"It was built by the Masons in barn-raising fashion," said Paul Sumner, a Mason and attorney, who represents the group.

According to records in the Jefferson County Assessor's Office, the Masonic Lodge acquired the property from the city, through a quitclaim deed signed by Mayor Adrian A. Smith on Nov. 8, 1949.

The current real market value of the building, which has crumbling, mint green exterior walls, several boarded up windows, and a leak in the roof, is listed at $181,510.

Even after joining the Prineville Masonic Lodge in April 2011, the local group has continued to meet at the Madras Masonic Lodge once a month, sometimes joined by Prineville members, Sumner said.

Because many of the original Masons were farmers, meetings have traditionally been suspended during summer months, Sumner said.

"At this point, there are still Madras members that have been meeting there on a monthly basis," he said. "We had met inside, but started meeting in an RV in the parking lot in the last six months to discuss what we're going to do (with the building)."

In addition to asbestos tile flooring, which needs to be dealt with, Sumner said, "There is some water damage in various places in the building, including in the very nice hardwood flooring. But there are nice trusses that don't have damage; it's got some bones to it."

The building originally had an oil tank for heat, but the tank has been removed. Nick Snead, Madras Community Development Department director, said that other issues they found include "asbestos in the floor tiles, joint compound, window glazing, and roof membrane, and the roof has a severe leak that is causing floor and ceiling damage on the ground and second floor. The leaking roof has also caused the concrete-based exterior veneer to separate from the exterior concrete block walls."

Eastern Star member Sharon Cooke, of Madras, whose late husband, Gary, was a leader of the Masons, recalled that after the Masons merged with the Prineville group, the Eastern Star group wasn't far behind.

"We stayed for about a year, but the heat was so expensive — like $300 a month during the winter," she said. "We joined with Prineville a year after they did. Now, we go over to Prineville. We just couldn't afford to stay (at the Madras lodge)."

The Concordia Chapter No. 133 of the Eastern Star merged with the Carnation Chapter No. 44 in Prineville, changing their chapter name to the Central Oregon No. 23, according to Shari Durgan, of Madras, secretary.

Over the years, the lodge has also been the meeting place for Job's Daughters, a Mason-affiliated group for young women, from 10-20, and DeMolay, an organization for young men, from 12-21, Sumner said.

Regarding the lodge's future, he said, "We're talking with the city; I believe the city will ultimately purchase it."

If there are no issues found during the MRC's due diligence efforts, Sumner said that he hopes the sale will go through. "It's more important to Masons to do something for city, if we can make a deal."

Snead said that whether or not the city decides to demolish the building has not yet been decided.

"That will be determined soon, based on the cost estimates to remove the asbestos and repair the roof," he said.

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