The Multnomah County Board on Thursday (6/6) officially approved the launch of renovations on a centralized, 21st-century-style community justice campus in East Portland.
The three-building campus, on SE 122nd Avenue, roughly between Main and Market streets,is part of long-awaited Department of Community Justice plans to add supervision and services for people on parole and probation in a part of the community that’s more accessible for clients and other service providers.
The campus is near county and state offices as well as an expanding TriMet bus line. Department of Community Justice staff regularly meet and supervise clients and connect them to a range of services, from mental health and addiction treatment to mentoring and parenting classes.
“The facility that we chose is perfectly located so that it limits travel and puts us in connection with the community we’re serving,” said Jay Scroggin, director of the Department of Community Justice’s Adult Services Division.
“This particular site is a place that we have a 30-year relationship with,” Scroggin said. “We’ve been there as a lessee for quite a while and we had the opportunity to purchase the property a couple years ago — we have a strong relationship with the local neighborhood association.”
The East Campus renovation project began more than five years ago, as department officials honed in on a site where they could consolidate existing services and reach more clients.
Greg Hockert, the County’s strategic project manager, shared maps showing an eastward shift, away from downtown, in the population the Department of Community Justice serves from 2013 to 2018.
Two of the campus’ three 1970s-era buildings — the North and West buildings — will be brought up to modern structural, mechanical and electrical standards as well as compliant with the American with Disabilities Act Hockert continued, better serving the Department of Community Justice’s operational needs.
“We want to make sure that these buildings are designed and set up to fit Department of Community Justice safety and client needs.”
The redesign will improve accessibility and connectivity for clients who will check into the North Building by giving them access from SE 122nd instead of from a parking lot behind the building.
Interviews currently occur in spaces originally used for offices. In the renovated space, they’ll occur in spaces specifically designed for parole and probation officers and clients.
The West building will have a wellness room, a shower and an open office environment for staff.
The campus will host the following Department of Community Justice units:
- Generic Supervision (East/Gresham)
- African American Program
- Gang Unit
- Programs Unit (re-entry)
- Community Service Work Crews
- Multnomah County’s Justice Reinvestment Program
- Admin/Records Support Team
“The entire campus also has the size and flexibility to host other services that might be needed farther east,” Scroggins said.
For the past year, the site’s South building has served as a shelter for homeless men, with priority for those 55 and older, those with disabilities and Veterans. Before that, it was used for shelter during severe winter weather.
There’s been a lot of effort between the Department of Community Justice and the Joint Office of Homeless Services to collaborate, Scroggin said.
“The neighborhood association loves us and they now love the Joint Office of Homeless Services,” he said.
The $13.9 million renovation project includes the 2016 purchase of the property. It also includes funding green technologies to help offset utility costs.
“We actually have a small solar panel on top of the North Building that will help offset utility costs for building long-term,” said Hockert.
And the project meets the criteria for contribution to the County’s Construction Diversity and Equity Fund, which was established last year. The fund helps to develop diversity in the local construction workforce. It's supported through 1-percent of actual construction costs on new County projects over $1 million and 1-percent of County remodels over $200,000.
“It’s a great idea to have a campus of services,” said Commissioner Lori Stegmann. “I’m so excited to see the Construction Diversity and Equity Fund is being used on this project.”
The project is expected to finish in spring 2020.
“I appreciate that we have a plan and timeline for getting this work done for the employees,” said Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, whose district includes the East campus site. “I know it’s been challenging for the employees and I appreciate their patience.”
“It’s going to be beautiful,” said Chair Kafoury. “You’re really going to love it.”