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Crews tear down Tualatin City Council Building to clear space for Nyberg Rivers

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Demolition on the Tualatin City Council Building began last Thursday, July 10. The building was torn down to make way for the extension of Seneca Street into Nyberg Rivers.After four decades of existence and several months of vacancy, Tualatin’s City Council Building was torn down last week in preparation for the Southwest Seneca Street extension.

The go ahead to demolish it on July 10 was given this past winter, in a 4-3 split City Council vote.

“There was a debate over whether that was the right move or not, simply because of the cost of relocating the building,” said Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden.

Now that the building is no more, the focus needs to be on where to go from here, Ogden said.

In its most recent use, the building housed municipal court, the city’s accounting department, passport services and City Council meetings. Those were all relocated to four different buildings in town, which Ogden said is not ideal, but acceptable for the time being.

The next step is creating a comprehensive plan with an overarching long-term goal that can be broken up into small-term chunks and to then get citizen feedback, he said.

Ogden said he doesn’t think general fund money should be used to build a new facilities building. This means going to the citizens and asking them to pass a bond measure the way they did for the library and parks. Because of that, Ogden wants to make sure city officials come up with a solid and viable plan to present to voters.

“If they pass a bond, then we’ll have the money to build. Because if they don’t pass a bond and we’re trying to build, we’re taking that out of our operating money, and that doesn’t make sense. It’s like taking the grocery money and using it to buy a condo,” he said. “Plus, you’ve still got to do operations, right? You still need groceries. If you spend your grocery money on a condo, then how do you eat?”

An analysis is underway, and Ogden expects it to take about six months to complete. From there, the city will work on collecting citizen feedback, which he hopes will ultimately lead to the passing of a bond and the eventual construction of new facilities.

“It isn’t a simple matter of just saying, ‘OK, now where do we have a council building?’” he said. “We want to take a long-term, comprehensive facilities look.”

In the meantime, construction on Seneca Street will begin in the first two weeks of August, according to CenterCal Properties General Manager Chad Hastings. The street is planned to be extended east across Martinazzi Street into the Nyberg Rivers Shopping Center.

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