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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Noon Study Session

Thursday, March 14, 2013

 Medford City Council Study Session
March 14, 2013
The study session was called to order at 12:00 p.m. with the following present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Karen Blair, Daniel Bunn, Chris Corcoran, Al Densmore, Dick Gordon, John Michaels, Bob Strosser
City Manager Eric Swanson; Deputy City Manager Bill Hoke; City Attorney John Huttl; Finance Director Alison Chan; Police Chief Tim George; Deputy City Recorder Karen Spoonts
Jeff Humphreys and Brett Hanson of Group MacKenzie
Councilmember Eli Matthews was absent.
Police Facilities – Chief Tim George
City Manager Eric Swanson thanked those who are bringing this forward. A police facility was suggested by City Manager Gunther in 1967. The need is obvious. Police Chief Tim George noted this is the third time that we are bringing this forward as a study session but now we know the location, design, and have a needs assessment.  The 2002 study is consistent with the current needs assessment and that is the use of city owned property. Police Chief George introduced those who worked on the project as well as Jeff Humphreys and Brett Hanson of Group MacKenzie.
Objectives of the plan were presented: identify space needs for the police department; evaluate four sites and identify the preferred site; develop conceptual design; forecast project cost; and provide recommendations.
A police facility must meet emergency situations and the current location does not do that. Comparison of other cities was identified. Four potential sites were presented in the downtown core, two of which were owned by the City. All four sites could work but one site had a pending offer and another was not for sale. Any existing buildings on potential property did not meet the requirements for a police facility. Important factors and rankings were addressed for all four sites; overall the best site was Site 3 – South Ivy Property. Council questioned the weight factor pertaining to costs; it was stated that the cost of land is a key component.
Once the site was chosen, three options pertaining to design and layout were considered. Option A did not have enough parking; Option B would need additional parking; Option C required additional parking from Jackson County’s parking garage, which the County will be building.
Craig Stone of CSA Planning was questioned if the plan chosen would meet the Land Development Code (LDC) requirements; he noted that it can. The parking requirements can be met for the municipal campus. Currently we have 168 parking spaces available. Councilmember Michaels questioned if this was looked at per the current needs or the year 2034; Mr. Stone noted that the LDC has various categories and it could be met under certain options and our need is substantially in all of the categories. Mr. Michaels also questioned if city cars were considered; Mr. Stone stated he looked at the regulatory requirement and it is within the realm of the requirements. Councilmember Strosser noted that it is a 24-hr building so staff is there at various time.
The board questioned how long this would accommodate police and was adding a floor considered; the consultant noted that they adequately forecasted, key components were addressed and staffing is one of the major spaces needed. Police Chief George noted that by the time police would outgrow this building they would decentralize due to the size of the City.
Councilmember Corcoran questioned why the property on Columbus was not considered and thought we could swap with the Medford Water Commission. Chief George noted the location of Columbus is not on-site and wanted to be close to City Hall; he further stated that the Sheriff’s office has experienced the difficulty of being away from other County buildings, such as the jail. Two major reasons why this property was selected; one, we own the land and two, we are on campus. Because mental health is moving next door it is important to keep a presence close by plus staff can walk to court, etc. The consultant noted that the Fire Department needed to be in another location away from City Hall due to response time. Chief Bierwiler noted that a site on Stewart Avenue was looked at that was not good for either police or fire; perhaps in 20 years a joint building would be beneficial.
Chief George presented the next steps which were: consider adoption of the MacKenzie report to include Site 3; and approval of an IGA with Jackson County to include $75,000 contribution towards a seventh floor on the Jackson County parking garage for the police department.
Mr. Michaels questioned if Property Control would move; Chief George noted they would stay where they are; they were only added for comparable.
Discussed was adding another floor to the parking garage at a later time. Mr. Swanson stated that we have talked to Jackson County about this and they are agreeable to this; to do that we would come back with an agreement. It was noted that the $75,000 would be for the foundational schematics only. Council questioned why not build the seventh floor at the time they are building the parking garage; Mr. Swanson stated that would be an option. Council stated that we would save considerable money by doing it now vs. later. The consultant noted that there are limitations and challenges when adding another floor at a later time and code changes become more challenging as time goes by.
Council questioned the passage of a bond measure; Mr. Swanson stated that MURA money would be used for some of this but staff needs to know what council wants to do. Mr. Swanson noted that for Item #2 we would look at building the seventh parking floor now vs. later. Councilmember Densmore questioned how funding would be done; that going into contingency would not be something he would agree to and questioned where the MURA money comes from. The consultant noted it would be $250 per square foot for the parking garage. Mr. Densmore stated that MURA dollars is for economic development and did not see how that fits into the police facilities.
Mayor Wheeler was concerned with the height of the parking garage at the seventh floor but agreed to it.
Council requested information on the cost of building the seventh floor to the parking garage now vs. later.
The meeting adjourned at 7:08pm.
Karen M. Spoonts, MMC
Deputy City Recorder

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