Salem voters appear to have approved a $61.8 million bond to build a new police facility, returns Tuesday show.
What are they getting for the money?
The plan is for the new facility to have enough room for a crime lab, secure storage lots for S.W.A.T. and bomb team vehicles and equipment, according to the city.
The new facility will generally have enough room that the number of officers can grow with the city, compared to a City Hall space they've largely outgrown.
City officials have projected the new facility will be 115,000 square feet. That's about two football fields of space at the old O'Brien Auto Group lot north of downtown.
The size of the current station on the first floor of City Hall is 26,641 square feet, about half of a football field with an end-zone thrown in.
Small American flags were stuffed into mason jars of mints on white-cloth tables. “Vote Yes” signs were posted around the Marion Room of the Salem Grand Hotel. Shouts of approval rang out as onlookers in the pro-police facility campaign party saw Measure 24-420 appeared to have passed by healthy margins in both Marion and Polk counties.
Standing up to give remarks afterward, Police Chief Jerry Moore said this wasn't about him.
He'd been lauded during the party, with Gerry Frank, saying the new police facility should be named after him. But Chief Moore, visibly on the verge of tears after early returns came in, told audience members, "This isn't about me. This is about the Salem Police Department."
South of Salem, the leader of the opposing campaign was feeling alright with the results as a domestic scene played out. Brian Hines was getting some leftovers ready, and his wife was having dinner at the kitchen table, he said in and email.
"We had a campaign," said Hines, who doesn't live inside city boundaries but had run a largely online campaign against the bond. "Voters decided they liked Measure 24-420. That’s reality. I embrace it."
Officers are still years from calling the new facility HQ.
With a "Yes" vote, the city plans to send out a request for proposals to get a design group onboard, which the city hopes would take between 90 and 120 days, city spokesman Kenny Larson said.
Design would take about a year, he said, after which the city would put out another request for proposals to build the facility.
The lowest construction bid would win, with police expected to move into the new facility in the fourth quarter of 2020, Larson said.
A loss Tuesday evening would have represented a rejection like last November when voters turned down an $82 million bond for a 148,000-square-foot police facility.
Sources: Polk County, Oregon Secretary of State
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