A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

CARA to help on police, fire buildings

Written September 17th, 2014 by Hasso Hering
Sign spotted in the lobby of a downtown building restored with CARA help. The CARA board is massaging the urban renewal plan to include proposed new police and fire stations.

The CARA board is massaging the urban renewal plan to include proposed new police and fire stations. This sign, spotted in a building restored with CARA help, has nothing to do with that.

If Albany gets to build a new police headquarters and replace the downtown fire station in the next few years, chances are those projects will get some of the city’s urban renewal money to reduce the burden on city taxpayers, at least a little.

On Wednesday, the advisory board of the Central Albany Revitalization Area voted 8-3 to recommend making two minor amendments to include both buildings, as separate items, among the projects listed in the 2001 urban renewal plan at $500,000 each in 2001 dollars. Because of inflation that allowable amount has grown to about $709,000 each, and by the time the renewal agency actually is called on to pay money toward the projects, the amounts likely will be again adjusted for inflation.

The final action will be up to the city council acting as the governing board of the urban renewal district. The council makes up half of the advisory board. Council members Bill Coburn, Floyd Collins and Ray Kopczynski and Mayor Sharon Konopa Wednesday voted for the plan change along with four fellow board members. Of the council members, only Dick Olsen voted no. (Councilors Rich Kellum and Bessie Johnson were not there.)

Critics of the CARA program have argued that a minor amendment to support the public safety projects is not enough. One of them, Tom Cordier, has suggested CARA should substitute the public safety buildings for $5 million of other projects in the urban renewal plan. But this would count as a substantial plan amendment and would require an election under a charter amendment initiated by Cordier and enacted last year.

Minor or substantial, the idea is to reduce the amount the city will have to ask voters to approve in the form of a bond issue. Voters rejected a $20.3 million package last year. The question now is whether a CARA contribution totaling $1.4 million or a little more reduces the next bond issue proposal — likely to be on the ballot in May 2015 — enough to make a difference with voters. Without a bond to raise most of the money, at least one of the two projects won’t be built at all.

Tonight (5:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18) the CARA board meets again to consider which public infrastructure project to fund with money it intends to borrow this year. At least $3 million has been mentioned, but the amount could be higher. Streetscape improvements downtown have been listed as likely candidates for this spending. (hh)

8 responses to “CARA to help on police, fire buildings”

  1. James Carrick says:

    A step in the right direction, albeit a small step. Councilor Olsen, you aren’t listening.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Approving a token amount is called snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    There is plenty of money available in The CARA Plan that could be used. There are many projects in The CARA Plan that will never happen (canals, Whitespires, etc.). Voters should be asked to free up this money and earmark it for higher priorities. Why isn’t this being done?

    Tonight benches and lighting will be prioritized over public safety buildings. A good example of CARA’s dysfunction.

    Voters will remember this when they are once again asked to increase their constitutionally limited tax bill through a bond measure. And I predict the voters will once again say, “Hell no.”

  3. Jim Engel says:

    I’d call that a “token” amount of help at best. Just goes to show the “Let’em Eat Cake” attitude of those CARA people .If the council really, really wanted it they would sure make it happen and pay the entire bond to boot! Don’t smoke me with it would take this & that measure to approve it. Doesn’t anyone recall that this same council in the recent past decided to NOT accept a voter passed amendment? Those in power will continue in power as they have the power to do as they please…JE

  4. Bob Woods says:

    Gordon Shadle is clearly Mr. “Hell No” as he puts it. He steadfastly opposes the police and fire needs because of his extremist positions against any tax increases of any kind, and because his ultimate aim is the elimination of CARA and nothing less.

    Does anyone expect them to compromise their positions if the Council moves forward with CARA support? Read his statements. The answer is NO. Police and Fire needs are of no concern. The only acceptable condition to Shadle is more delay and the elimination of CARA.

    Where are the statements of outright support for the Police and Fire needs? I have seen none from Shadle and his gang.

    The CARA board and Council have listened to the demands of this gang and have shown a clear willingness to compromise in order to build community support.

    There is no compromise from Shadle, Cordier, Kaupin, or the others. They demand that only their view of the community be the acceptable view.

    If they truly believe that Police and Fire needs must be addressed they have a responsibility as citizens to deal with the problems. All they propose is more fighting and more delay.

    Yes, Shadle is clearly Mr. “Hell No.”

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:


      You offer up nothing but a personal attack. No doubt this pumps up your sense of ego, but serves no real purpose. Please address the issue.

      The CARA Plan clearly has lots of money available for public projects. I’ve identified at least $4-$5 million in projects that will never get off the ground (see HH’s post on the canals).

      Shouldn’t that money be re-purposed to the much needed police & fire buildings?

    • James Carrick says:

      Bob, You’re entitled to your opinion just as I’m entitled to mine. My opinion of you is that you are a “tax and spend” liberal that knows the voters want to use CARA funds on these facilities rather than have to shell out more and more. You, and most of your ilk have the attitude that you got this CARA thing past the voters and now that they realize they’ve been hoodwinked and are pushing back, you resist a common sense, one time VERY PRACTICAL use of CARA funds in a manner that benefits ALL of Albany. You remind me of the little kid on the playground singing na na na na naaaa.

      We know who YOU are too. Now get your hands out of my pocket!!!

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    What’s really insulting is getting your name spelled incorrectly!
    Boob Wudz


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