Oregon civic pride in the era of COVID-19
Gladstone officials had been hoping to hold a community celebration for the city's new $13.5 million Civic Center, which replaces a crumbling structure built in 1941.
Although the social distancing requirements of the global COVID-19 pandemic have postponed Gladstone's celebration indefinitely, city employees still moved into the new 22,187-square-foot building this month and city councilors got a chance to tour its rooms wearing masks.
Located at 18505 Portland Ave., a 2-acre site next to the city's public works facilities, the new building now houses City Hall and police station functions. Elected officials touring the building admired the large black-and-white photographic prints that decorate the lobby, thanks to the Gladstone Historical Society. One photo shows the trolley line that used to run through Gladstone, and at the center is a photo of an early Gladstone librarian sitting in the city's heritage tree.
"I think that's the signature piece for Gladstone, because that's not just the Pow-Wow Tree, it's the library and the reading," said Gladstone Administrator Jacque Betz.
Construction began last April on the new Civic Center facilities, which have 81 spaces of off-street parking and ADA accessibility. Unlike the previous City Hall, the building meets contemporary energy codes and will comply with up-to-date seismic standards. Other special features of the building include solar panels, cross-laminated timber framing in the lobby and a 4,600-square-foot stormwater treatment swale.
"We're getting finished with our new branding in a couple of months, so we'll have our new logo in the council chambers," Betz said.
On the police department's side of the building, there's a canine officer's kennel, and sergeant offices include one extra room for growth of the city.
Gladstone Police Chief John Schmerber showed off various building features that will allow the city to respond better in natural disasters such as pandemics or earthquakes.
"This is truly a legitimate briefing area, and it's already getting utilized and it's only going to get used more," Schmerber told city councilors.
Once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, other rooms in the Civic Center will be available for public meetings and gatherings. The building's main meeting room has a maximum capacity of 142 people who will be able to enter through the lobby, even when the building is closed for other city business.
"Staff won't have to be here after-hours for people to be able to use the room," Betz said. "We've put together a draft community meeting-room policy so groups will be able to hold their meetings at no charge."
Funding for the building project came from the Gladstone Urban Renewal Agency, along with "full faith and credit" notes and cash reserves. No additional property tax dollars were required.
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