The View-Master, a device for viewing 3-D images (also known as stereo images) on a paper disk, was invented in 1939 by William Gruber, a Portland, Oregon, photographer. A business arrangement was made, and the devices came to be manufactured by Sawyer's, Inc. In 1951, Sawyer's opened a factory in Progress, Oregon (now part of Beaverton), to manufacture the devices. The devices were manufactured at the factory in Beaverton until 2001, when production was shifted elsewhere and portions of the factory sold.
In 1998, a prospective site developer hired an environmental engineering firm to perform an environmental assessment of the site. This assessment discovered volatile organic compounds well above the levels specified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). This included levels of TCE which were over 300 times the federal drinking water standard. The various concerns who owned the View-Master franchise in the 1950s through the 1970s (Sawyer's and GAF), acknowledged using TCE to clean and de-grease parts and equipment, and disposed of the chemical on-site. This disposal was legal at the time.
The ODHS has estimated that up to 25,000 workers may have been exposed to this chemical. However, based on employment records for the site, subsequent reports estimate the number at approximately 13,700. A more recent report which evaluated the completeness of the employment records concluded that the number of employees with over five years of employment is likely to be less than 1,000. According to a study performed by the ODHS, among former factory workers, the number of deaths from several types of cancer was elevated. However, for several other types of cancer, the number of deaths was lower than expected. ODHS concluded that there was no overall increase in cancer mortality among the workers, but that further study was warranted.