October 4, 2006
Ramping Up Property Values
Yesterday's O tells us that the County is so in need of a lot for a new courthouse that it is considering condemnation for a block that a developer is eyeing for a substantial tower (a very bicycle friendly one by the way).
But the companion story makes an interesting point. The adjacent lot currently hosts an exit ramp for the Hawthorne bridge. By moving the ramp for about $10M, the county could create a developable parcel. The lot they are currently targeting is assessed for slightly more.
So if the cost is approximately a wash, why not avoid a controversial negotiation (remember the heat the county got for buying a building out from under Columbia Sportswear) or an even more controversial eminent domain taking, and create a new developable property in the heart of downtown instead?
October 4, 2006 9:29 AM
Lenny Anderson Says:
As property values of Downtown and Central City land go up, it makes sense to move ramps and even freeways, so the City can continue to grow.
With South Waterfront developing at twice the expected rate, look for action sooner than later on the Central Eastside, the last under-developed district in the Central City.
October 4, 2006 9:49 PM
Courthouse or substantial tower?
Are you kidding me, is the city that outragously insane. A courthouse should take second seat to the demands of the housing market any day of the week.
A courthouse is NOT a necessity to even have downtown. In most situation people want to have nothing to do with a police station, courthouse, or other city service building. They want to live far away from them... most cities are evidence of this. You'll never find the truly ritzy (Pearl) near any such contrivance.
I'm aghast that they would even consider condemning property for a courthouse building. Go to the east side of the river, buy some crappy warehouse property and put it there.
...insane, purely insane.
...even more so after looking at the off ramp removal and other such notes. Then of course if they want to be completly idiotic they could put forth the notion to build the courthouse right int he middle of the river front park down by the river!
October 4, 2006 9:54 PM
Chris Smith Says:
I think that's a little harsh :-)
We have a cluster of 'justice' buildings downtown (including the jail). Minimizing trip distances suggests keeping the courthouse in that cluster. Indeed, the site the county wants to buy or condemn would allow prisoner transport through a tunnel.
But I agree that the county should not be supplanting commercial development (I believe the proposed tower is office, not residential), which is why creating a developable site by moving the ramp makes so much more sense to me.
October 5, 2006 8:49 AM
Ross Williams Says:
Maybe the county could turn Wapato into a new court house ...
October 5, 2006 10:53 AM
Lenny Anderson Says:
When you turn comes to serve on a jury, you will be glad the courthouse is downtown on the MAX line.
October 5, 2006 3:10 PM
Terry Parker Says:
Moving the Hawthorne Bridge ramp only makes sense if the value of the property it crosses far exceeds the 10 million dollar price tag to move the ramp. However, since Multnomah County extends East to Bonneville Dam, it makes far more sense to diversify and move the Multnomah County Courts to the Eastside where it will be closer to the majority of Multnomah County residents and be better centered within the boundaries of the county. Logically, this could even mean building the court house in Gresham.