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Troutdale approves process for city hall options

Renovation of old City Hall is among several options

The Troutdale City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday, April 22, to follow a transparent process in planning for a potential new city hall. The resolution also includes the option to repair or replace the old city hall.

Troutdale has been considering options for a new city hall building since the old city hall, built in 1923, was determined unsuitable due to the age and structural integrity of the building.

It’s now vacant. City operations were relocated in May 2012.

Administration is now divided between two leased spaces downtown and one at the top of Cherry Park Road.

City councilors have said the division impairs service to customers and staff efficiency. Councilors are also unhappy with the limited meeting space of the Council Chambers in the basement of 219 E. Historic Columbia River Highway. Parking is also an issue for city employees working downtown.

Over the past couple of years, the city has received at least five unsolicited proposals to build a new city hall, all of which the City Council has refused, mainly because of high costs.

The council also has been criticized for lack of public involvement in the matter.

At a Dec. 10 meeting, many Troutdale residents voiced concern following a proposal by local businessman Junki Yoshida to build a new city hall and lease it to the city with an option for buyout.

While it was discussed at several previous council meetings, people felt the Yoshida proposal was not made public enough and taxpayers lacked say in the deal. People asked the council to consider a more transparent process such as when residents voted on a bond to fund the new Troutdale police station.

According to the resolution, the council’s goal “is to develop a long-term plan to repair or replace city hall.”

The city said approval of the process plan is not a decision to build a new building, but rather to gather the necessary information to “consider” that as an option.

The process seeks to address basic questions such as how much space is needed, where it should be located, what the estimated cost is and what functions the city hall would serve.

Four phases are outlined in the city’s process, including a needs analysis, site options study, schematic design and design development.

Under a rough timeline provided in the resolution, the city suggests a target move-in date by 2020. The option for a voter bond is also included in the timeline.

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