Tigard’s government facilities are, for the most part, crowded, outdated and not seismically sound, according to city staff.
For instance, City Hall, the Police Department and the permit center, which were built in the 1980s, are in “poor” condition, an evaluation found. And, due to overcrowding, the Public Works Department has had to set up computer workstations in a lunchroom and vehicle bays.
Rather than have the city spend millions of dollars repairing or replacing multiple decades-old buildings, city staff is proposing the construction of a new five-story facility that would house most of the city’s departments under one roof in downtown Tigard at the current public works site on Burnham Street.
Staff unveiled the so-called “all-in-one” plan – which would include moving public works to a new, yet-to-be-determined site – during a Feb. 18 City Council workshop, saying that, in the long-term, it’s the lowest cost option and that it would result in more efficient delivery of service, ensure the continuation of services after an earthquake or other emergency and benefit downtown redevelopment.
Preliminary estimates put the total project cost at $135 million – $73 million for the new all-in-one building, $25 million for the parking garage and $37 million for the new Public Works facility.
“I’m excited about this project,” Finance Director Toby LaFrance said at the meeting. “We’re in a golden moment to address those needs, to take advantage of those opportunities. And the funding is available to make these things happen.”
Funding sources that have been identified include passage of a new voter-approved bond that would not increase the current tax rate; utilities and special revenue funds; revenue from the photo enforcement program; selling city-owned land and redevelopment in downtown.
“There is a lot of private sector interest in downtown Tigard,” consultant Michael O’Connell told the council. “The city is sitting on some significant land holdings.”
With some 13 acres – much of it “underutilized” – the city is the largest landowner in the downtown core. O’Connell said that land has a value of about $9 million to $13.5 million and could accommodate a total of 550 to 750 apartment units.
“It represents a really interesting redevelopment opportunity,” he said, adding, “Redevelopment of the city site really could be very catalytic for all of downtown. It creates a lot of energy.”
Council members were supportive of the all-in-one concept and directed staff to push forward with it. That includes finding a new site for a Public Works facility by the end of the year and starting construction on that facility next year.
“I think this is great. I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Councilor Liz Newton said. “It’s smart of us to focus our energy on the Tigard triangle and the downtown. And I think it’s smart of us to think about the taxpayers in terms of turning this site into something that is actually going to be beneficial to our community.”