Beaverton clears way to complete Public Safety Center
Beaverton has set aside $1.7 million to demolish a gas station and complete work on the Public Safety Center, which is scheduled to be completed in April.
The Budget Committee and City Council acted Thursday, Nov. 14, as part of their review of numerous mid-year changes in the 2019-20 city budget, most of them relatively routine.
The Public Safety Center will house city police and emergency management operations at the southwest corner of Southwest Allen and Hall boulevards. A Shell gasoline station had continued to operate there until recently, even though the city had purchased it from the landowner. The tenant had refused to leave.
The dispute did not stop groundbreaking for the center last fall. But the station is directly in front of the center.
The city already owned the rest of the site, which once housed the Beaverton Activities Center, and before it, the city library and a supermarket.
The extra $1.7 million will enable the city to pay $71,000 more for property acquisition, $39,900 for demolition of the station, and $50,000 for removal of the underground fuel tanks and contaminated soil. Of the rest, $578,941 will go toward design and engineering and $942,862 toward construction of a public plaza at the entrance.
Most of the $1.7 million will come from the city contingency fund, and the rest from grants to rehabilitate the site from its former use.
Mayor Denny Doyle said a water feature may or may not be part of the plaza.
"The money is going to allow us to put together an architectural design with perhaps some water," Doyle said. "There are no guarantees yet. But it will be really nice and be an inviting spot for the neighborhood. It is one of the things we are trying to do to get Allen Boulevard to come into this century, just like we are doing downtown."
The Allen Boulevard corridor between Murray Boulevard and Highway 217 was the focus of a plan presented Nov. 13 to the city Planning Commission. Doyle said the same plan, which covers a quarter mile north and south of Allen Boulevard, will be up at a City Council workshop soon.
Voters approved a $35 million bond for a Public Safety Center in 2016, after they rejected a similar measure two years earlier. Police are housed at the former City Hall at 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive, but the building is unlikely to withstand a severe earthquake off the Oregon coast and it is within a redrawn federal floodplain.
Construction costs are projected to exceed the $35 million, but the exact amount will be known only when the building is complete in spring 2020. Finance Director Patrick O'Claire said there are several ways the city can cover the excess cost without returning to voters, but he said Nov. 14 he would prefer to tap any excess funds in the city budget as an alternative to borrowing money.
The overall mid-year budget review resulted in higher-than-expected revenues for the year starting July 1 and less-than-anticipated spending from the year ending June 30. Some of the latter surpluses resulted from capital improvement projects that were not completed in 2018-19, and the Budget Committee and City Council carried those amounts over into the current budget.
However, O'Claire said, the council has the discretion to tap other unspent amounts for different purposes, or to leave the money in reserve.
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