Tigard Council approves purchase of land for new city building

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Tigard City Council voted unanimously at its Feb. 27 meeting to purchase 9.5 acres on Wall Street for facilities to house both Tigard’s police department and public works. Photo/City of Tigard
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It’s been years in the making, but the Tigard City Council voted unanimously at its Feb. 27 meeting to purchase 9.5 acres on Wall Street for facilities to house both Tigard’s police department and public works.

Tigard City Manager Steve Rymer told the council that finding the property was challenging but a “significant milestone” for the city.

“As the council knows, we’ve been spending many years working on our failing and aging public facilities,” he said. “Each are critical services to our community, and what we’ve learned is that they are seismically unsafe, overcrowded, and very costly to maintain for taxpayers.”

The city’s buildings are so overcrowded that the city must rent additional office space. Several modular buildings have been added, and it’s so critical that sometimes meetings have to be held outdoors.

Creating a new facility for police and public works is just the beginning, Rymer said, and the city will address other building needs, including a new city hall, as planning and budget allow. He said the council previously discussed building a new city hall on the old public works site, but a decision has yet to be made.

However, he said, the funding for the $13.95 million cost of the land for the Wall Street project is already in place, and the money will not come from the city’s general fund.

“In the current operating budget, we have included funding for this,” Rymer said.

Several studies by the city, starting in 2006 and ending in 2020, show that the new building should be a minimum of 50,000 square feet and up to 75,000 square feet down the road.

“We’re looking at a 20-year growth window,” Rymer said.

But approval to buy the land at 13045 and 13225 West Wall Street is just the first step, he said, and many more steps must occur before the sale is final.

“Many items will have to be completed in our due diligence,” he said, “to understand what we can construct on it, understand the topography, an environmental assessment, and geotechnical work,” Rymer said, but it’s helpful that the site has been recently graded.

The council has between now and Apr. 30 to approve the purchase, he said.

“I’m looking forward to the authorization for myself and the City Attorney to actively engage in negotiations to finalize the deal,” Rymer said. “And it’s important for all of you to know we will not finalize the deal until we’re satisfied with what we learn about the site.”

Rymer also told the council that the city has received $7 million in grants to fund improvements along Wall Street, along with $1.6 million from the federal economic development agency.

“As a result, the city agreed with the economic development agency to reimburse $1.4 million, in full satisfaction of the funding, and we will also be working for job growth and economic development,” Rymer said.

Mayor Heidi Lueb said the city has been actively looking for suitable land to build on for five years, and she praised the work of Rymer and his team.

“You did a great job,” she said. We’ve been talking about this as long as I’ve been on council, and it is incredibly difficult to find 10 acres that are appropriate. It took us many years to figure it out. This is very momentous.”

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