Newberg moves forward with communications tower plan
Plans for Newberg's 260-foot emergency communications tower are moving forward as city officials recently met with officials from the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCCA) to discuss the upgrade.
The proposed tower would be for emergency purposes only and not used for cellular providers. The tower meets all WCCCA criteria and would continue Newberg's existing dispatch service through the agency.
The city moved forward with a contract with WCCCCA in fall 2017, after upgrades with WCCCA essentially rendered the Newberg dispatch center unable to communicate with WCCCA and other regional dispatch agencies.
City Manager Joe Hannan said the tower remains on schedule and within budget, although the city had to remove some items from the plan to fit within its budget. The total cost of the tower to the city is $3.15 million.
"We had one line item that was over and it was significant enough that it (would) raise … the entire project cost," Hannan said.
He added that there was a line item in the budget for a machine that logs radio calls, but at a cost of nearly $100,000. The city decided they didn't need that machine and also found some other costs that could be removed from the budget.
"By taking out those two things, we're within the $3.1 million," Hannan said.
The council approved a contract with Motorola for $2.01 million. The city has the responsibility for the overall financial management and funding of its portion of the project.
Part of the reason for the need for the tower is to accommodate the use of hands-free devices for emergency responders and to extend coverage to nearly 12 miles. It is one of nine towers being added to the area in and adjacent to Washington County, as well as an additional 13 towers in Clackamas County.
The emergency communications system upgrade is Newberg's portion of a larger project with WCCCA and C800, Motorola's 800 megahertz digital radio system contract, to move from an analog to a digital public safety radio system. Newberg-Dundee Police Department, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Dundee Fire department and the Newberg dispatch center utilize the WCCCA 800 MHz radio system for emergency radio communications.
The tower, the land for which is currently used as the city's public works storage yard, is the highest it could be to meet with WCCCA criteria.
Community Development Director Doug Rux said the tower has been cleared from the planning side of city operations.
"So far we're on track," Hannan said.