Down to two: Police locations considered

October 2015 Posted in Community

By Kristine Thomas

After much debate, the Silverton City Council has narrowed the choices for a new police station and city hall to two locations: either the former Square Deal Lumber property on Water Street or the Potter property on Lewis Street.

The council is slated to make a selection at its Monday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m. meeting.

City councilors have said they would like to receive input from community members on the two sites before the meeting. To reach council members,, visit or take a letter to the Silverton City Hall, 306 S. Water St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Determined not to ask voters for a bond to pay for the new facilities, the plan calls for the police station to be built first, followed by the city hall.

The city requires 1.3 to 1.5 acres to build a single story 30,000 sq. ft. building with 17,000 sq. ft. for the police department and 13,000 sq. ft. for city hall. Sharing a building will allow savings on areas that could be shared including conference room and parking. The goal is to build a 50- to 60-year facility.

The current Silverton Police station does not meet federal and state guidelines and requirements. Deficiencies include lack of sight and sound separation between juveniles and adult offenders; no  interview room with digital recording capabilities; problems with the booking room and intake custody area and unsecured parking.

In the past, Silverton Police Chief Jeff Fossholm has stressed the new police station is not a “want” but “a need.”

“We have outgrown this facility,” Fossholm said. “We can no longer do our job effectively.”

Federal mandate requires essential services such as law enforcement be located in an earthquake resistant structure by 2023. The current structure does not meet the requirement and to retrofit it has been estimated to cost more than the building is worth.

Square Deal siteSquare Deal Lumber site

Located at 600 N. Water St., the former Square Deal site is 3.1 acres with six tax lots. The estimated purchase price is $1.2 million. According to city staff, the pros for the property include:
• centrally located to the downtown;
• the largest site in the downtown area;
• it promotes the extension and realignment of Pine Street;
• it would improve a blighted area; and,
• there is one owner of all the property with three potential renters.
The cons include potential environmental hazards; proximity to railroad tracks and Bruce Pac’s ammonia storage; and it would displace three businesses.

Potter siteThe Potter Block site 

The Potter Block site is 1.65 acres overall including the city owned parking lot and the street. It would cost $1.25 million to purchase. Ctaff cited pros include:
• existing parking lot;
• flat property centrally located to the downtown, and,
• could be rented until ready to build.

The cons include it would take property off the tax rolls, its a smaller site and there may be environmental concerns.

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