A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany to buy former school bus barn

Written October 8th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Here’s the former Albany school district bus barn at 430 11th Ave. S.E. Photo was taken in July 2023.

The former bus barn of the Albany public schools will become the property of the city of Albany, according to a sales agreement up for city council approval on Wednesday night.

The city will pay $2 million for the property, which measures 2.75 acres and lies between 11th and 13th avenues. The address is 430 11th Ave. S.E.

Greater Albany Public Schools used the property as the base for its school buses for many years. But in 2022 it completed a new school bus transportation center at 2201 Ferry St. S.E.

The school district invited sealed bids for the old bus barn property. In July, the city council held an executive session closed to the public to discuss whether and how much to bid. Then, in open session, the council voted to submit a bid without saying for how much.

The school district let me know Monday morning (Oct. 9) that the school board had not yet acted on the sale. But in a memo to the council, the city staff says GAPS accepted the city’s bid.

Some $800,000 of the money to make the purchase will come from the city’s transit fund, and $400,000 each will come from the sewer fund, the water fund, and the street fund.

The city intends to use the property as the base for the buses of the Albany Transit System, and also to house some large pieces of equipment for which it otherwise would have to build facilities at the public works operations center near the sewage treatment plant.

Until now, the city transit buses have been stored behind Fire Station 12 on 34th Avenue. It’s too small a space, and in any case the fire department needs the grounds for a training facility it hopes some day to build.

You might wonder if Albany was the only one to submit a bid. I’ll add that detail if and when I find out. (hh)


20 responses to “Albany to buy former school bus barn”

  1. Anony Mouse (they-them) says:

    This is wonderful news!

    Albany can finally park their buses appropriately and at a reasonable cost.

    And given ATS bus rides are now free, the streets will now be clear of congestion, our air will be measurably cleaner, and the streets more safe.

    Albany is living proof that there is such a thing as a free ride.

    Most of the money to operate ATS comes from other people (state and federal taxpayers). Some of the federal money will come from the increasing debt, but that money is easy to print.

    So, in the big picture Albany folks are in fat city.

    There’s no better feeling than living off free government money…as long as the gravy train keeps on rolling.


  2. Bessie Johnson says:

    A property on 34th Ave was purchased for the same purpose. Can’t help but wonder why a 2nd property-for a lot more money. And what happens to that property?

    • Jill Morgan says:

      I would like to hear the answer to that question Bessie. Also, how can sewer/water funds be used for the purpose of buying property to store city busses?

    • Ihcalam says:

      There are reasons that came up for not developing that property.

      I would suggest a mid city park and ride, since a bus route that links to lbcc, and thus the loop busses to osu, already goes by it. And they look nice, well the hickory street one does anyway.

  3. Sueebee says:

    Thanks City of Albany… secret council for decisions that your patrons will get to pay for!

    I’m all for establishing a better place for city buses, but my water/Sewer bill is already exorbitant!

  4. Deb says:

    2 MILLION? So that’s where the extra money in our water bills is going to? And again, meeting behind closed doors! What is this? Are they afraid that if they did let us residents attend to comment on our city we live in they may get opposition?

  5. Rachel La Brasseur says:

    Of course they’ll just use it for storage! How stupid of me to think they’d try to get a hold on the tent city/Park City fiasco with this giant property.

  6. Bill Kapaun says:

    GOOD! That’s $2mil we don’t have to spend on schools, since the school district will have that extra income.

  7. MarK says:

    It’s Station 12 (on 34th Street), not Station 13 (which is on Three Lakes Road).

    Also, glad to see STREET funds going for something else…… NOT!!!

  8. chuck says:

    Just amazes me. The city streets are turning into gravel roads and ‘we’ spend street maintenance funding on a property. In less than a year the city will expect us to vote for street repair funding.

  9. Jo Rae Perkins says:

    $2 mill seems a bit high. I looked for the property in the Linn County Tax rolls. Found 5 properties with no physical address (430 11th SE does not show). Of the properties with no physical address only one had improvements. That parcel is 2.20 acres. The others were less than 2 acres. And the improvements were valued at over $3.mill. I cannot imagine the open air garages at 430 11th Ave SE are worth over $3. mill – not to mention they are quite old. So they are taking from the water, sewer and street fund, meanwhile, the streets in Albany are in horrible condition. And the city council raises our water and sewer rates every year…. over $100 a month for 2 people without watering their yard in the summer. And just what is the ridership on the Albany bus system? I am sure they don’t come close to breaking even. Yes it is a service people do use… but that is another subject for another day. This is just another example of paying too much money. Over paid for the property on Pacific Blvd for the police station…. CARA buys the Wells Fargo building, demolishes it, then puts it on the market at a huge loss… It is not City Money – it belongs to the citizens of Albany….

  10. Bessie Johnson says:

    At tonight’s Council meeting, Director Chris Bailey gave an explanation why the property on 34th St can’t be used for the bus barn. State regulations. She also explained the benefits of the other property. It makes more sense now knowing the rest of the story. Have to thank Director Bailey for informing the public.

    • RICH KELLUM says:

      Bessie, so where was that concern when staff wanted to buy the triangle on 34th Ave, looks like staff screwed up again, like buying the Church on Main that was not needed.

      • Bessie Johnson says:

        It’s my understanding that the State knew the city was going to purchase that 34th St property but no one said anything that it wasn’t eligible. Not known if the person in charge at the State level overlooked it or what happened. Best to call Chris Bailey to get further details. It seemed like a good purchase at the time. Nonetheless the current property will be a better fit and and less improvements to begin using it.

  11. Sherri says:

    It’s sad that they are using the water/sewer funds to purchase the property while increasing people’s rates all the time.

    Hasso said that other departments will use the property as well. My question is.. why does the water dept. have to move? Are they not in that nice building across from the courthouse? Just curious.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Public Works operations are based near the sewage plant off Waverly Drive and Davidson Street. They’ll be able to store some of their big equipment at the old bus barn site, as I understand it.


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