For reasons still unknown, a county committee has reached a baffling decision for its No. 1 preferred location for a new East County Sheriff’s Office.

The committee recommends the vacant 72,000-square-foot Toppan Photomask building at the intersection of Northeast 242nd Drive and Glisan Street. The decision is ill-advised, and begs an answer to this question: Why would the committee select a building in a prime location for business development while ranking other suitable sites lower on the list?

The Toppan Building stands to benefit from improved access to Interstate 84 due to road improvements planned for 242nd Drive and 238th Avenue, thanks to $7 million in funding recently approved by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Better street access will make the building more attractive to a future tenant, leading to new jobs and commerce in East County.

On the flip side, if the building becomes the Sheriff’s Office headquarters, it will remove the Toppan Building from the tax roll and erase any benefit for East County employment.

The Outlook agrees with Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, who objected to the use of the Toppan Building for government offices, saying, “The potential for new investment and job growth at that location is too important.”

Meanwhile, the selection committee’s second-place choice seems to make much more sense for the Sheriff’s Office and for the community at large. The building at 172nd Avenue and Sacramento Street is being vacated by its current occupant. The building more closely meets the need in terms of square footage. The office is centrally located between Wood Village and Maywood Park, two committees that are served by the Sheriff’s Office. The building also has easy access to Interstate 84 at 181st Avenue. Another benefit: The Sacramento Street building is farther east than its current location on Southeast 122nd Avenue.

Given the strong argument against turning the Toppan Building into a government edifice, we strongly encourage the site-selection committee to turn its primary attention to the Sacramento Street building or another more appropriate site.

Contract Publishing

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