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Study: police station issues need $10 million fix

Idea for new building seems to resonate with Forest Grove council

While the city of Forest Grove has grown a lot over the past 38 years, its police station has remained the same size.

And that’s a problem, according to a study conducted by Mackenzie, a Portland-based architectural and engineering firm.

“Basically, it’s too small,” Scott Moore told Forest Grove City Council members at a Monday evening work session on the topic. Moore is project manager and a senior architect at Mackenzie, which has come up with three possible multi-million-dollar solutions to the problem.

In 2009, a different company completed a study of the police facility on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Ash Street. In March, city officials hired Mackenzie to evaluate the findings of that six-year-old study.

What it found was “[the department is] about 50 percent shy of [its] current need,” Moore said.

The current police station was built in 1977 and uses 12,868 square feet. Based on its current needs and projections that forecast needs 30 years into the future, the police department ought to have 27,109 square feet, the study said.

With 30 officers and five non-sworn civilian staff, the building the department is currently using “is severely deficient in space,” Moore said.

Additional deficiencies related to the seismic and fire suppression systems need to be dealt with as well.

Mackenzie staff came to the conclusion that the city has three options:

¦ Add a second story to the current structure for $10.7 million;

¦ Scrap the current building and construct a new one at the same location for $10.25 million; or

¦ Build an entirely new multi-story facility at a different site for $12.7 million.

If the third option were chosen, the current building could undergo an interior remodel, allowing for more space for city hall employees.

The additional remodel, however, would add another $2.2 million to the overall cost of option three.

By the end of the meeting, although no decisions were made, it appeared option three was being discussed the most.

For the new structure, Mackenzie proposed building on the underused property along 19th Avenue between Main and Ash Streets. Currently, that gravel lot is home to a coffee shop and, occasionally, a burger cart.

“We’re packed to the gills in city hall,” Administrative Services Director Paul Downey said after the meeting. “Option three would be better so we’d have more room for city staff.”

Downey also noted how it would be cheaper to tear down the current building and rebuild than to remodel and add a second story.

Mayor Pete Truax asked that Mackenzie and the council look at more sites around the city to develop a longer shopping list — and asked for more time to “percolate the presentation amongst the council members.”

Truax also suggested holding a Town Hall meeting and open house to give residents of the city an opportunity to weigh in.


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