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Join the conversation about a new police station

by: VERN UYETAKE West Linn’s current police station was build in the 1930s and might crumble in an earthquake. It is crowded and cannot be expanded. Discuss options for a new police station in the Willamette area at Monday’s city council meeting.

The West Linn City Council will hold a public conversation about plans for a new police station at 6 p.m. Monday.

The discussion will focus not only on the need for a new police station - the existing one, built in the 1930s to house city hall, a post office and a market, is not seismically safe and can't expand beyond its current footprint - but also on the likely location.

On June 8 the council unanimously approved moving ahead with plans to buy two properties on Eighth Avenue and two on 13th Street for a total of $1.45 million - about $10,000 less than their combined appraised values.

The purchases are contingent on voter approval of a bond measure in November. If that measure fails, the city wouldn't have to buy the land but would give up $40,000 in earnest money to the property owners.

The Willamette neighborhood properties emerged as the top choices after a lengthy analysis by a citizen task force, which spent months looking at potential sites to come up with a recommendation for the council. The properties now up for purchase were included in the group's suggested sites.

The task force considered 16 locations during that process, according to a document outlining its considerations. For example:

n The former fire station on Failing Street was deemed too small, and neighborhood residents hope to keep that facility for community use.

n The vineyard area on Salamo Road and land on South Haskins Road both came with too high of costs and difficult terrain to develop.

n Vacant land at 3332 Parker Road, purchased at one point for a possible police station, would likely face political opposition because of its use as a park site and community goals for an aquatic center.

n The old Kasch's property on Willamette Drive was considered too small a parcel for the station's needs, and businesses have shown interest in using the site.

n A station at the Robinwood Shopping Center, where Bales Marketplace used to be, could not use bond money to pay for a lease, and so the city would have to tap the general fund to operate a station there. It would also limit the neighborhood's ability to attract retailers and would come with significant redevelopment costs, according to the task force.

The council's community conversation about police station plans will be at city hall, 22500 Salamo Road.