A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Justice site convenient for North Albany

Written January 26th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

This shows a potential layout of the justice center Benton County hopes to build on this site just west of the HP campus in Corvallis.

For residents of North Albany, the property selected for a proposed Benton County justice center has one advantage over the other sites that have now been rejected.

Getting there from North Albany and environs takes only about 10 minutes and avoids having to go around Corvallis or navigate downtown.

I hadn’t paid much attention to Benton County’s laborious process of coming up with a new justice center plan since the last bond measure for a new jail went down to defeat in 2015. But now the new planning has reached a milestone: The board of county commissioners settled on a site, the 25-acre McFadden Ranch property at 1350 NE Second St., Corvallis.

Two other properties had been rejected for various reasons, mainly opposition from people living near them. One was on the south side of Corvallis and the other on the west side, not far from the county fairgrounds.

Neighborhood opposition to the so-called north site, across Second Street (Highway 20) from the Willamette River, was not a factor. Just to the east there’s the expanse of Hewlett-Packard, across the street there is the river, and to the southwest there’s the Corvallis sewage treatment plant.

According to the paper, the commissioners have said the county will condemn the north site through eminent domain if the owners refuse to sell. So far, the county’s consultant on the justice project says, the sides are far apart on price.

According to the assessor, the property is valued at more than $7 million, but it’s assessed for tax purposes at only $383,623, presumably because it’s used for farming. The property tax bill in 2021 was $7,078.

The justice center is supposed to have a courthouse, jail, the sheriff’s office, and ample public parking. The plan so far says the complex might open between 2025 and 2027.

It all depends on the money, of course. The project’s cost estimates range from $106 million to $136 million. The commissioners say they have about $23 million on hand and hope to put a bond issue request of $100 million or more before the voters in the spring of next year. Any bond issue would have to be repaid from an increase in property taxes, at a rate to be estimated before the election.

With more than a year to go, there’s plenty of time, it seems, to become acquainted with the details of this multimillion-dollar plan. (hh)





5 responses to “Justice site convenient for North Albany”

  1. Ron says:

    To say that there is no neighborhood opposition to the site off Hwy 20 is incorrect. It is just that it was eliminated in the past and the neighborhood wasn’t fully aware it was still a possibility. Then since the two “final” sites were then decided against secondary to neighborhood opposition, it somehow popped back up as a highly expensive option? The local homes (some right by the corner of diagram), business and community didn’t realize it was a done deal, and sounds like it will only be if the county decides that it has to use “eminent domain” as justification to take the land away. Why not look at similar farm land just up north between circle and highway 20. There are no nearby homes there, and easy access.

  2. StopTheGrowth says:

    Just another example of the problems with expansion, more room for incarceration.

  3. David says:


  4. Mike quinn says:

    Can we really afford another jail. Ask your Commisioners about the $100 million dollar deal in this aspect, can you facilitate the new jail with the current jail budget. Obviously not. So you will have a bond to build and a levy to run it. True fact check out Linn county over 35 years ago. Questions were asked then about facilitation, and we were told no problem so now for over 30 years we pay for a levy in Linn county. Why not have a Linn-Benton inter county jail it’s already built in Albany, and for most of you including hasso fact check this Benton county pays aprox $1.5 million dollars to Linn county to house prisoners. Commisioners will say can’t do that , we’ll we have Linn- Benton community college, Linn-Benton-Lincoln county Esd, and Linn-Benton housing authority. PEOPLE. Wake up and let’s save some money and stop from letting elected people create empires.


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