County releases study of Courthouse replacement; seeks up to $94 million in State funds for construction

County releases study of Courthouse replacement; seeks up to $94 million in State funds for construction
Posted on 12/18/2018

A courthouse is essential to democracy in Lane County. It is where people seek justice and resolution to conflicts that range from small property disputes to custody battles or from personal injury cases to murder cases.

 

The current Lane County Courthouse, opened in 1959, is not sized to handle the over 33,000 cases filed each year. In addition, the way the building is designed makes it impossible to provide a secure, private setting for victims and opposing parties. The design also restricts access to individuals with limited mobility. (Watch a brief video that illustrates these issues.)

 

In Oregon, counties are responsible for providing the buildings in which the state circuit courts operate while the State is responsible for funding the operations. In response to the growing statewide need for new Courthouse facilities, the Oregon Legislature will provide up to 50 percent match funding for the State portions of a courthouse building. 

 

“A new Lane County Courthouse would represent our community’s commitment to fair and impartial justice and strengthen the central element in our public safety system,” said Lane County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Debra Vogt. “A new Courthouse would bring together our community’s heritage and future in a building responsibly designed to serve Lane County for generations.”

 

Lane County worked with Robertson|Sherwood|Architects and courthouse consultant DLR Group to conduct a scoping study to validate the former City Hall lot as a viable site for the new Courthouse and to refine the needed square footage to accommodate current and future needs.

 

The study includes a recommended program and potential floor plan diagrams that address the significant concerns regarding security and access for people with limited mobility.

 

VIEW THE SCOPING STUDY ONLINE (67 MB)

 

The cost estimate – based on detailed pre-design analysis – includes approximately $94 million in matching state funds and an approximately $158 million in local funds.

 

“The opportunity to leverage nearly $100 million in State funds is critical to help us make space for justice in Lane County,” said Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky.

 

When the Board of County Commissioners reconvenes in 2019, commissioners will have the opportunity to discuss next steps, including local funding and placing a potential General Obligation Bond before voters.

 

Background:

 

The Lane County Courthouse is home to the Circuit Court, District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, and Victim Services. Since it was built 60 years ago, the population it serves has more than doubled and it was built for a vision of justice that no longer represents our community or our expectations for equal access to justice. Today, the building can’t support the use it receives and its physical systems are failing.

 

For more information about the Lane County Courthouse, including a brief video tour of some of the issues faced in the current building, visit www.lanecounty.org/courthouse.