ANYONE UP for a trade? Multnomah County says a new courthouse officials have been mooning over for decades will need to be nearly 100,000 square feet larger than the grand but seismically shoddy current court building on SW 4th. Now, the county just has to find a place to put it.
In a solicitation released Monday, July 21, officials called on Portland property owners to make their best offers for plots where the new justice building might sit. That land will have to be within a certain boundary—roughly Interstate 405 on the west, NE/SE 12th on the east, the Ross Island Bridge on the south and N/NE Weidler to the north. And it must be able to accommodate a structure of 420,000 square feet, with room to expand. That's a number officials hadn't yet furnished publicly, and the first indication of how large a structure the county has in mind. The current courthouse is a little more than 328,000 square feet.
There's still no firm cost estimate, though the project has long been expected to cost upward of $200 million.
"Any cost estimate will be driven by the site the board ultimately chooses, as well as by what goes into the new building," says spokesman Hank Stern.
To that point, the county is willing to be flexible in the type of land deal it makes—up to and including offloading the shaky old courthouse onto a potential seller. As the site solicitation makes clear: "The County would be interested in considering a property exchange for existing County property. This exchange could include the existing Courthouse, recognizing the Courthous's historic designation." DIRK VANDERHART
A NEWBORN RECALL effort against Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick may be only finding its feet, but it could soon be sprinting.
Hiram Asmuth—the professional signature gatherer whose Encore Political Services helped get a proposed water and sewer board on the May ballot and who also helped with 2013's successful fight against fluoride—tells the Mercury he'll help with the recall effort.
"I'm going to throw as much of my weight into this as I possibly can," Asmuth says. "I'm willing to take a massive pay cut to get it on the ballot."
Just how massive may still be seen. Ray Horton, the southeast Portland resident who filed the recall petitions, says he's received plenty of interest about the campaign (Novick even personally showed up at a planning meeting), but concedes there's not yet indication he'll be able to pull in enough contributions to fund collection of the 35,000 signatures needed to force a recall vote for each official. DVH
RECALLS OR NO, there's another reason November will be interesting: a chance to vote on Oregon's best-ever shot at legalizing marijuana.
New Approach Oregon, the monied, establishment-backed group that submitted more than 145,000 signatures last month, received word on Tuesday, July 22, that the measure has made the ballot.
Although it didn't make it by much.
Just 88,584 of the signatures were valid, according to the Oregon secretary of state's office. New Approach needed 87,213. DVH