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Oregon City's Carnegie Center could be put to new use

City eyes building for Parks and Rec, Chamber offices
by: file photo, The Carnegie Center

It started as a library and became an art gallery. Now, with City Hall facing major space crunches, the Carnegie Center may become the headquarters of the Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon City Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Alice Norris announced the possibility in her state of the city speech on Feb. 12 and City Commissioners discussed it at a work session that evening.

The space is currently leased to Fine Arts Starts, but that lease ends Aug. 3.

The parks and recreation move would free up much-needed space at City Hall, especially as the detectives unit looks to move back to City Hall when the county fire district takes over the South End fire station in July.

And Scott Archer, community services director, told the Commission that the chamber could help by providing secretarial services for the city services.

'The chamber could help answer phones and such in return for reduced rent,' Archer said.

He also said the city could benefit in having a presence at the top of Singer Hill.

This plan 'returns management of the facility to the city rather than contracting it out through a second party, and brings more into the 7th Street revitalization process,' he said.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of maintaining an art gallery at the site, and said having the chamber help with the gallery could offset the need to hold a vote on the lease of space.

'I regard the Carnegie Center as part and parcel to the parks and rec department,' said Commissioner Doug Neeley. 'If it's going to be used for another purpose, that would have to go to a vote … for the recreational function of the chamber I would expect that the person there with the chamber would be able to handle a small number of [art] sales.'