First phase of city employees take in new administrative offices at The Round

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Joyce Barnard, executive assistant to Mayor Denny Doyle, unpacks boxes on the fifth floor of the Beaverton Building.After spending the past 18 years in the same office in the same structure, Joyce Barnard likens her first morning on the fifth floor of the Beaverton Building to an experience from her formative years.

“It’s like the first day of school,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Where’s my locker? Am I going to remember my locker combination?’ There’s a lot of anxiety and adrenaline. But it feels like home already.”

Barnard, executive assistant to Mayor Denny Doyle, was part of the throng of city employees setting up and settling in at Beaverton’s new city administration building.

The mayor’s office was among the first phase of five departments to move from City Hall at 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive to the Beaverton Building at 12725 S.W. Millikan Way, part of The Round at Beaverton Central. On Friday at noon, the city attorney’s office, finance department, human resources, information technology services and the mayor’s office closed. After crews and city employees transferred furniture, equipment, files and personal belongings to the Beaverton Building, the offices reopened on Monday at 1 p.m.

The cycle will repeat itself on Friday, Aug. 15, when the remaining administrative departments, including community development, economic development and engineering as well as the city’s mailroom/reprographics, passport window, and recycling and solid waste program close on noon to facilitate their move to the Beaverton Building. The departments, located on the first and fourth floors, will reopen Monday, Aug. 18, at 1 p.m.Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The Beaverton Building at The Round at Beaverton Central is the new home of City Hall.

Fresh space, fresh start

The city’s police department and municipal court services will remain at the Griffith Drive location, which city leaders plan to remodel and retrofit as a Public Safety Center that can remain operational in the event of a catastrophic earthquake.

Visitors to the Beaverton Building can park in the seven-story parking garage on Millikan Way as well as parking lots one, two, and five surrounding The Round complex. Limited-duration street parking is also available along Southwest Crescent Avenue, Rose Biggi Avenue, Millikan Way and Watson Avenue.

Utility customers who use the utility payment drop box, are directed to a new, “walk-up” box at the Beaverton Building next to the 15-minute parking spaces on the north side of Millikan Way.

The buzz in the Beaverton Building on Monday morning was indeed reminiscent of the first day of school, as employees on the fourth and fifth floors unpacked boxes, set up their cubicles, desks and work stations and tried to get their bearings in the freshly remodeled spaces.

Holly Thompson, the city’s senior program manager, breathed a sigh of relief as she got acclimated to her first new office space in 16 years.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “We’ve been working on this thing for a long time. Now it’s here. We’re pretty excited.”

Ample natural light flows from windows into the open-style office plan, with low-slung cubicle arrangements encircling a center core of interior-windowed offices. Unlike the more utilitarian nature of the Griffith Drive space, the new digs — at Mayor Doyle’s behest — burst with dynamic shades of light blue, green and “mango” orange, with stripes in the square-paneled carpet accentuating the colors.

“The natural light is great,” Thompson said. “It’s really bright and open because of the windows. The open arrangement makes the environment more collaborative and open.”

Renovation work on the former South Office/Metro Building, which the city purchased for $8.65 million in early 2012, got underway last fall and wrapped up last week. In addition to freeing up the Griffith Drive building for a Public Safety Center, the move solves a long-running space problem for the city’s administrative offices.

“We were crammed in there like sardines,” Barnard said. “Now there’s plenty of space. And we can see our (office) neighbors.”

Carley Berkey, a program coordinator with the city for two years, said the new administrative offices are good for city employees as well as residents and customers.

“I’ve been looking forward to it,” she said on Monday. “I’m lucky I got a window spot. For the public, it’s great to be on the MAX (light-rail) line and in a nicer building. Everybody’s pretty excited about the change.”

Colorful leadership

Doyle missed Monday’s move-in to spend time with his visiting grandchildren at the Oregon coast, but by Tuesday afternoon, he was settled in his fifth-floor office, which provides a sweeping view of the West Hills.

“I was ready to move two months ago,” he said. “I was completely packed, except for a couple files, by the end of last week. It’s been fun to watch it take shape.”

He takes credit for pushing color, light and a sense of openness into the new workspace.

“The whole intent we were hoping for was to make it nice, but not ostentatious,” Doyle said. “We did want color on the floors we have. ‘Government gravy’ (color) is not for the world today, so I was pretty insistent on colors. I think everyone’s gonna like it.”

Along with the proposed Public Safety Building project, the mayor is confident all the office shuffling will provide long-term benefits for the entire city.

“A city our size should have things that people are proud of,” he said. “I think it’s important for this city to change, and if city government does its part, I think it’s going to happen.”Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - City of Beaverton human resource employees Gaye Fortier and Marty May carry boxes to their new desks at the Beaverton Building on Friday.

New offices arranged as 'ideally' as possible

Jerry Allen, the city's assistant director of project services, said the new offices and sections were arranged based on customer convenience and which departments need to interact with each other. The records room, for example, is now next to the city attorney's office suite, instead of being on opposite sides of the building.

"It's as ideal as we could be," he said while showing off the building's new fourth and fifth floors. "People who regularly work together can meet without walking through a door."

New amenities include lighting that automatically adjusts according to the amount of natural light coming through the windows as well as if someone is in the room or not, an electronic conference room-reservation system, a shower and locker room area for those who bike to work and small rooms set aside for private meetings and phone calls.

"With the open environment, we have to have a place where people can make private calls," Allen said. "The dispute resolution team also needs to meet with clients."

The city's purchase of the Beaverton Building eliminated a $30,000 annual lease to operate its ground-floor Central Plant, which provides heat, air conditioning and hot water to the entire Round complex. The city makes money as a landlord by sharing building space with private-sector office tenants on the second and third floors.

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