Multnomah County’s replacement of its Central Courthouse took another significant step forward on Thursday when the Board of Commissioners unanimously authorized county officials to issue a site solicitation for the project.
Responses from parties interested in having their site considered for the new central courthouse will be evaluated using courthouse site criteria that includes a central location; proximity to mass transit options; ease of permitting; efficient construction practices; purchase price and whether any revenue opportunities exist; efficient performance of courthouse functions; and the ability of the new courthouse to fit in and enhance its surroundings.
No sites have been shortlisted, and the board expects to consider site finalists by the end of 2014.
“Today’s action continues our momentum on this essential central courthouse project,’’ said Commissioner Judy Shiprack.
“While today’s vote is obviously not the final step, it is a huge example of the progress the project is making,’’ Commissioner Shiprack said. ”The site the board ultimately chooses will drive what goes in the central courthouse, which will help to determine the project's cost, which will help to determine how the board and the state finance this project.”
The board action on July 17 is the most recent in a series of developments since 2013 to build a new central courthouse to replace the current century-old courthouse, which is structurally and functionally obsolete. The current building doesn’t meet seismic codes, and suffers from serious security concerns, given its limitations on separating criminal defendants from judges and witnesses.
Other project developments since 2013 include the hiring of an owner’s representative and project manager; an analysis of what programming and functions are needed in a new courthouse; and a $15 million commitment from the Oregon Legislature.
“The progress we are making to provide a safer and more efficient central courthouse for decades to come is exciting and long overdue,” said Chair Deborah Kafoury. “Our community deserves no less when it comes to providing justice.”