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One of the historical significances of the former Camp Adair site was that in 1958, the site was designated for infrastructure and development for a new defensive missile system called BOMARC when the Air Force took over management of the area under Department of Defense oversight. Developed by Boeing Seattle and the Michigan Aeronautical research Center (where the acronym originates), the medium-range missile system (though at the time of development, they were considered a long-range) would be built concurrently with the SAGE radar system in what is now Adair Village. Though short-lived, the BOMARC plans would shape local and national fiscal plans for the contractors, the state, and Air Force officials.

A decommissioned us air force jet mounted on a trailer, surrounded by snow under a partly cloudy sky.

Figure 1: BOMARC Missile, photo credit: skytamer.com/1.2/2002/2017.jpg

An old newspaper clipping featuring two articles, one about the increased cost of the bomarc missile to $40 million, and another about an annual soil district meeting set for january 28.

Figure 2: Article from the Greater Oregon Newspaper 1/23/1959

Developed in the late 1940s, testing began in 1952, the BOMARC missile system was designed to be a mid-range surface-to-air defensive system. The initial interception range was approximately 220 miles and could deliver either a conventional or nuclear payload. By the early 1960s, new propulsion pushed the maximum range to almost 400 miles, with an average interception speed rate of Mach 4, and reduced deployment times from over 2 minutes to around 30 seconds. The system was designed to intercept intercontinental bombers coming over the north polar cap and controlled by the SAGE operations centers.

Construction of the Adair Air Force Station missile squadron’s 28 launch pads started at the same time as the “Block House” in 1958 but at the former Army cantonment area about one mile north on HWY99. According to initial estimates, the project was to cost $10 million but in 1959 the budget had ballooned to over $40 million just for construction and was slated to be finished in 1961. Though funds were appropriated, the work would cease in late February/ early March of 1960 when the plans were canceled in the Pacific Northwest and before the program was fully operational, as the final tests were done at Cape Canaveral Florida in April 1960.

 

Once the work was stopped, the missile site was to be “restored.” The SAGE operations center would get finished and play a pivotal role in the guarding of the air space of the west coast US. The BOMARC program would officially end in 1972, well after Adair Air Station would close. Today the cite has become overgrown with the intention of the area going back to the “natural” oak savannah of the Willamette Valley. Much of it has Douglas Fir trees, invasive Himalayan Blackberry and everyone’s favorite native species, poison oak. The BOMARC site is now on land under the management of the US Forest Service, Siuslaw office out of Corvallis OR.

 

As of 2017, there was archaeological site survey work to determine the accessibility and the condition of what construction was done at the area. With this construction being more “modern,” the condition was very good. There is a mutual goal of the Forrest Service office and Adair Living History, Inc to eventually work together for preservation and interpretation of the area for the historical significance of the WWII camp and Cold War base.

 

Note:

The Greater Oregon Newspaper was published in Albany, Oregon from 1929- 1978.

Newspaper clipping detailing the cancellation of a government contract for a bomber launcher due to high costs, leading to the stripping of the adair base.

Figure 3: Article from the Greater Oregon Newspaper 04/01/1960