Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Public safety bond goes to voters

Renovation of Griffith Drive office for Beaverton police is priority


A $35 million bond measure to finance a transformation of Beaverton’s City Hall into a modern Public Safety Center will go to voters this fall.

The Beaverton City Council unanimously approved a resolution at its Tuesday, June 17, meeting to refer the bond measure to the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

The center would consolidate all of the city’s police, court and emergency management services in the City Hall building at 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive. The city’s administrative offices will move in August to the Beaverton Building at The Round, 12725 S.W. Millikan Way, once renovations of floors one, four and five of that structure are complete.

The public safety center project is designed to keep the three agencies operational in the event of a major disaster and eliminate the need to lease space for police functions. It is projected to save more than $3.5 million during the 20-year bond, city officials said.

The plan to remodel the Griffith Drive building for a public safety center gained traction after a citizen-led advisory committee recommended to Mayor Denny Doyle and the City Council.

“Our citizens’ committee reviewed many options and decided the most effective and financially sound solution is to remodel the existing city building,” said Jim McCreight, chairman of the Public Safety Center Advisory Committee.

The amount voters would be asked to pay to fund the public safety measure is comparable to the amount taxpayers currently pay for bonds issued to construct the Beaverton City Library on Southwest Fifth Street. From 2015 through 2018, the average homeowner would pay about $43 more per year than they’re paying now, and $11 more than now once the library bonds are retired in 2018.

To educate the public regarding the need for a state-of-the-art safety center, the police department is engaging in an extensive public information effort, including tours of the current police department.

“I welcome people to sign up and take a tour,” said Police Chief Geoff Spalding. “Officers have led more than 20 tour groups so far, and the reaction from the public has been incredibly supportive.”

An addition to the 31-year-old City Hall building will increase its overall space from 79,000 square feet to 115,000 square feet. Plans by Portland’s Mackenzie Architect call for police, courts and related facilities housed at offsite locations to fill the additional space an expansion will create.

A need, not a want

Much has changed in the city since 1986, when the 63-officer police department and municipal court relocated to Griffith Drive for what was intended as a five- to 10-year “temporary” location. The department now has about 178 officers and support staff as well as a growing cadre of volunteer services.

The department spends about $140,000 a year to lease space around town for functions such as property and evidence storage, training facilities, traffic functions and the K9 unit, while the Emergency Operations Center is housed in the one-story Beaverton Community Center building on Southwest Fifth Street. Like City Hall, that building does not meet Oregon seismic safety standards.

While retaining the building’s basic footprint and structure, seismic upgrades would allow its functionality in the wake of a major earthquake.

Approximately 20 alternatives — including a completely new building and other properties — were studied before the council decided last year to keep police and courts in a retrofitted Griffith Drive building.

Mayor Denny Doyle lauded the council’s decisions leading to the bond measure going to voters this fall.

“I applaud the Beaverton City Council for taking this step and bringing this issue to our voters,” he said. “Make no mistake, this (facility) is a need, not a want. It is essential we have a consolidated public safety center. A 1980s office building will no longer meet our city’s need.”

If voters approve the bond, renovations to the building could begin within three months and be complete within 18 to 24 months.

“Keeping the foundation and superstructure looked to be the most cost-effective solution,” said Capt. Jim Monger, the police department’s project manager. “It will look substantially different than it does now.”

For more information, visit renewforourblue.com.




Local Weather

Cloudy

43°F

Beaverton

Cloudy

Humidity: 93%

Wind: 0 mph

  • 28 Nov 2014

    Rain/Snow Showers 55°F 37°F

  • 29 Nov 2014

    AM Rain/Snow Showers 43°F 28°F