A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

North Albany Park: New restroom coming

Written March 21st, 2024 by Hasso Hering

The old restroom building at North Albany Park, shown on March 20, is about to be replaced.

After years of planning for improvements at North Albany Park, Benton County is about to take the first step in that direction by replacing the old restroom building with a new one nearby.

It was in 2016 that county officials worked on a master plan for improvements and gathered comments from the park’s neighborhood.

A draft of the plan came out in 2017. I summarized it at the time:

“The concept envisions upgrading the existing playground and adding a new one, at the southwest corner. Also planned: Replacing the restroom, upgrading the main shelter, building a basketball half court in the place now taken by a volleyball court, adding some parking, and designating an area where dogs can be let off their leashes. There would be pedestrian entrances connecting the park to new subdivisions to the east and west.”

Last month, Benton County Natural Areas, Parks, and Events (that’s the department’s full name) opened bids for construction of the restroom.

This will be a conventionally built — not prefab — structure of 520 square feet with four individual restrooms, each with its own door.

At $349,800, Allen & Laporte General Contracting, an Albany firm, submitted the lowest of six bids. The others ranged up to $578,000.

The contractor has filed for the necessary permits from the City of Albany. As of Thursday the permits were still listed as “pending.”

“Folks will see them preparing the site for the project for the next several weeks and then it should happen pretty quickly,” Jesse Ott told me via email. He’s the interim executive director of the county parks department.

“This will be a traditional stick-built structure, so it will go up like a regular home,” he explained. “They will be finished up by summer.”

The new building will sit close to the south edge of the road turnaround, next to two new handicapped-only parking spots.

Unfortunately, the construction drawings call for the cutting down of 14 oak trees with diameters ranging from 7 to 24 inches.

The existing restroom, closed when I took the photo for this story Wednesday, probably dates from 1970. That was the year Benton County established what for years was known as North Albany County Park.

Benton County remains responsible for the park even though the property was annexed by Albany along with all of North Albany within the city’s urban growth boundary in June 1991.

As for other improvements mentioned in the county’s plan, there’s no word on if or when they’ll be done. (hh)

13 responses to “North Albany Park: New restroom coming”

  1. Diane Branson says:

    Finally, a bit of progress for this hidden gem of a park! I am sad about the loss of trees for the new restrooms, I would have preferred that they built it in an area that didn’t require the removal of trees.

  2. Patricia Eich says:

    I really know nothing about construction; but a bathroom costs as much as a house? Does this price include destruction and hauling away of the old one and removal of trees?

  3. thomas earl cordier says:

    Why does building need to be replaced. I bought a new house in Albany in 1970. Changed owners a few times. Still occupied–kept up outside and in. What was wrong with existing building? That concept of replacement with tree removal seems suspect to me–perhaps gov’t waste

    • Diane Bransy says:

      I asked the same question of the Benton Country Park Director and was told that before any other improvements are made at the park the restrooms had to made ADA compliant.

      • Al Nyman says:

        I would be very surprised that any public restrooms do not meet ADA requirements, especially as the law has been in existence since 1990

  4. Delores says:

    Wow! That price tag! Government gouging at its finest.

  5. Mr. F says:

    Drop the trees off at my place

  6. Chris says:

    Fourteen oak trees must come down for four bathroom stalls?

  7. david pulver says:

    will the city run it like the tiny homes? the homeless must send in a application, and be approved before moving in?

  8. CHEZZ says:

    Update the existing building including ADA stall. Is this not easy??

  9. chris j says:

    It is disappointing that Hazelwood park was abandoned even though it was being used daily by the local neighborhood and only required being mowed a few times in the spring and summer. Yet, this park is mostly used by North Albany and it gets funding to accommodate new subdivisions. Albany’s older areas are being neglected or being completely replaced and newer ones are being created in other parts of the city. Long term residents are slowly being displaced by cutting them off of the city’s obligation to maintain all areas of the city. The casual small town feel is being updated to reflect the unnatural feel of the bigger cities. It is absurd to believe cutting down the trees and covering areas with buildings and concrete is the best way to enjoy nature.

    • Diane Branson says:

      The North Albany Park gets its funding and upkeep from Benton County with no financial support from Linn County or the City of Albany. Those of us who live in North Albany pay taxes to Benton County and if we live in the city limits to the City of Albany. This park is the “ugly stepchild “ of Benton County, it’s had the bare minimum of upkeep and maintenance for many years. The Master Plan was developed years ago, with input from those who chose to attend the meetings. This is the first improvement done since then.

  10. chris j says:

    Trees are not ugly. What is the point of going to a park when looks just like your backyard? We don’t go to a park to use the restroom. Porta potties are fine and they have toilets for the disabled too. All the meetings should be used for helping the communities as a whole, not used for these kind of wants instead of projects that are needed. A trash free park full of beautiful flora and fauna is much more of a joy than the convenience of a having a concrete restroom.


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