Board gets briefing on central courthouse replacement project

April 18, 2014

Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners heard an update Thursday on the progress achieved so far on the central courthouse replacement project, and on the decision points ahead in the next year for the project over programming, design, procurement and site selection.

The good news, Commissioner Judy Shiprack said at the outset of thepresentation, is how much has already been accomplished toward replacing the county’s “structurally and functionally obsolete” 100-year-old courthouse.

“What we are going to hear today is a story of extraordinary progress and momentum with our partners,’’ Commissioner Shiprack said at the April 17 board meeting.

Project manager JD Deschamps and county Facilities and Property Management Director Michael Bowers told the board that the timeline calls for a programming report this summer, followed by program refinement in the fall, a business case analysis in the winter of 2014-15, with site selection to follow.

Owner’s representative Mike Day of DAY CPM told the board that no site has yet been selected, shortlisted or eliminated. He added that a process is in place--looking at past site studies, developing site evaluation options, issuing a request-for-interest from landowners and evaluating alternatives--to bring site alternatives to the board for a decision.

The role of the owner’s representative is to oversee contracts for the county on this high-priority project, and to add its expertise to help plan the best courthouse layout, footprint, size and functional configuration for the next 50 years

Major advances in the past year on the central courthouse replacement project include a $15 million commitment from the Oregon Legislature toward a new courthouse; ongoing analysis of what programming and functions are needed in a new courthouse, and an ongoing business case analysis that will evaluate multiple financing options, including the use of a public-private partnership.

At the end of the presentation to the board, Commissioner Shiprack lauded the momentum and unity with the state that’s been achieved after decades of struggle to replace the county’s central courthouse.

“Here we are with a clear need, a capable team and the political will, not just on the county’s part, but on the state’s part,’’ Shiprack said.

For more information on the courthouse replacement project and for regular updates on its progress, please visit the project pagehere. To watch a video about the current courthouse and its safety and functional shortcomings, go here.