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New police station inches closer to reality

The city plans to reveal a design to the public in the next two months


The parcel is irregular. Not quite a square, not quite a rectangle. It’s a blank slate of concrete, glass and three empty homes. Soon, it will become a shiny and new LEED silver certified police station for the city of West Linn. Plans to complete the project are well under way.

The city purchased four lots, consisting of three single-family homes and one vacant lot, for $1,453,257 to create space for the new building. The homes will be destroyed sometime in September. Original surveys claim the site is 1.54 acres total, but the city plans to survey the land sometime in year.

On Jan. 12, the city completed the sale of $8.5 million in general obligation bonds with a 20-year term that were narrowly approved by voters last November. The bonds will finance the acquisition, construction and completion of a new police station at Eighth Avenue and 13th Street.

“We are operating within that budget and don’t plan to spend a penny more,” said Project Manager Bob Galante. “There is no reason we will go over in time or money. There is a lot of progress being made each week.”

The city hopes to complete the new 23,500-square foot building by April 2014. The architect and design firm Group Mackenzie won the $615,544 contract with the city to complete the project. Group Mackenzie began the design process in June. Details are pending based on space requirements and evidence storage with the police.

Three committees — a design committee, steering committee and a public art advisory committee — are overseeing the project. Committees are made up of police officers, citizens, artists and city representatives. Galante said the committees have looked to a new fire station and public library for design inspiration.

“The first thing that’s going to happen, hopefully in early September, is to have the first meeting with the neighborhood association before we get too far into the design process,” Galante said. “We want them to help us with sidewalk issues, what it should look like and the materials used.”

The city plans to reveal a design to the public in the next two months. A complete design should be finished by fall with construction starting next spring. The station will require a conditional use permit from the city.

“There are significant zoning hurdles for us to pass, but we intend to do a pretty good job of it,” Galante said. “The goal all along on every aspect of the project is to find ways to get the community involved. Lots of people say too many cooks spoil the broth, but that’s not the experience here.”

Public art

The city of West Linn has signed a services contract with the Clackamas County Arts Alliance (CCAA) to develop and implement a public art plan at the new police station.

The total art budget for the project is $85,110. West Linn has agreed to pay CCAA a fee of $15,300 for research, resources, coordination and project management.

“We really like artists to be part of our design team,” Galante said. “We haven’t established goals with the art group yet, but our first meeting was great.”

The public art advisory committee will have the freedom to contract for something as simple as a sculpture or public mural, or something more integral such as art features that navigate stormwater from the roof to gutters, to the ground.

In September, CCAA will recruit and appoint a design team committee to discuss project goals and the scope of the work. By October, the committee plans to interview finalists for the project, which is slated for completion by July of next year.

LEED certification

In 2007, the West Linn City Council passed a resolution that all government buildings should meet LEED standards. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a rating system used to encourage sustainable building practices that was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The city’s two most recent fire stations are certified at the LEED gold level and the new Trillium Creek Primary School is at the LEED gold level. According to Galante, the building will provide on-site storm-waste storage and cleansing. It will be constructed to LEED silver standards by incorporating sustainable features in its construction and operation.

“We are hiring the most local people we can find, which is sustainable and also meets some of the council goals to help local business,” Glante said. “Right now, we probably could have targeted for LEED gold certification but city council said their standard was silver certification. We’ll be LEED silver-plus in a sense.”

Existing building

The existing West Linn police station was constructed in 1936. The city owns the footprint of this building but not the surrounding land or parking lot — it’s owned by the West Linn Paper Company.

With no parking and no room to expand on the existing site, it might be difficult to sell or find a tenant, said Elissa Preston, management analyst with the city of West Linn. The city has no current plans for the building once it’s vacated.

“We advertised a lot about the state of decay and condition that the building is in,” Preston said. “A lot of work would need to be done before a tenant moves in.”

The new station should service the city through 2042 and will be designed to accommodate future expansion. The current police force includes 31 sworn officers and five support staff, and is expected to grow with the city’s population.

The new facility will be designed to withstand a seismic design category D earthquake, provide emergency dispatch and operations capability, accommodate training, evidence processing, storage, operations, communication and staffing needs for officers and K-9 units.

by: VERN UYETAKE - Homes at 1800 Eighth Ave., 1819 13th St. and 1849 13th St. will be demolished sometime this month to make room for West Linn's new police station.