MCSO's current headquarters is structurally and physically obsolete. It is seismically unsafe and does not meet modern building code requirements.
MCSO's current headquarters is structurally and physically obsolete. It is seismically unsafe and does not meet modern building code requirements.

On May 20, 2016, Multnomah County took a significant step forward in its efforts to relocate the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) from the ailing Hansen Building by issuing a Request for Information to identify land to purchase for a new Sheriff’s Office. Submittals in response to the RFI were due by June 24, 2016.  

The RFI, which asks interested parties to submit information about properties for sale that meet certain criteria, is the latest step in a more than four-decade effort to move the Sheriff’s Office law enforcement operations to a new location.

The Hansen Building was originally constructed as a health clinic, outfitted for doctors and patients in 1956. The Sheriff’s Office moved into the building as a temporary location in 1976 until a permanent facility could be constructed but has remained there ever since.

The aging structure has since become both functionally and physically obsolete. As a law enforcement facility, it lacks the necessary security operations and amenities required to support modern best practices. Most of the building systems continue to be repaired and maintained beyond their useful life, and the seismic liability presents a risk for the MCSO to continue operating there.

In March, the project team, including Chief Deputy Jason Gates, Project Manager Jon Legarza, Owner’s Representative Steve Cruzen from Shiels Obletz Johnsen, and county Chief Financial Officer Mark Campbell updated the Board of County Commissioners on the first phase of the project, which included a feasibility study and program proposal. The estimated total cost for the project is between $18-22 million. Financing options are being considered and could involve issuing a long-term debt.

The board unanimously approved a March 17 resolution to move forward with phase two of the project, which launched the process of identifying properties that can be purchased.

Prospective properties must meet certain criteria including:

  • Location requirements preferably in northeast Multnomah County at the center of the MCSO service area

  • Property size

  • Freeway and transit access

  • Zoning

The RFI process will assist the county in the site selection process and real estate development strategy. Submitted property information will be evaluated and ranked by a site selection committee. This committee will be comprised of five experienced professionals in the areas of facility/property acquisition, police facility best practices and strategic asset planning. The top site or sites will be further evaluated through a process of programming, zoning analysis and conceptual design work.

The information compiled in this process will allow the project team to determine cost structure and final site recommendations. The project team will present its findings in Fall 2016.