A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Want to buy a surplus concrete ‘bunker’?

Written February 13th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The property looked like this from the street on Thursday afternoon.

If you’ve ever wanted to own a seemingly useless but indestructible concrete structure, now’s your chance. The city of Albany will offer its surplus property at 370 Burkhart Street for sale.

The city council voted 6-0 on Wednesday to put the lot and concrete building on the market. Selling city-owned real estate requires a public hearing, and no doubt one will be scheduled when and if the council gets any offers for this lot.

Twice before the site has been the subject of stories on this blog. In August 2015, a couple out for a walk wondered about the structure that looked like a concrete bunker. And in June 2019, the site was mentioned in a city report as a possible location for affordable housing. The idea was dropped when the city got an estimate that demolition would cost $450,000.

The structure is a long-abandoned reservoir in the Albany water system and was built around 1963. The city acquired ownership when it bought the water system from Pacific Power & Light in 1985.

The reservoir walls, of reinforced concrete 18 inches thick, are 20 feet high, 10 feet below ground level and 10 above. Interior walls divide the space into eight chambers. It was disconnected from the water system many years ago — nobody seems to know when. Now there’s said to be water just covering the floor.

The Linn County tax office shows the lot as being 14,486 square feet, or about one-third of an acre. The county lists its market value as $68,540.

The city council got a briefing about the property in an executive session closed to the public on Wednesday night, then returned to open session to vote on offering it for sale. (hh)




6 responses to “Want to buy a surplus concrete ‘bunker’?”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    Why are discussions regarding asking price done in executive session.
    And please don’t tender the hoodwink: “Councilors don’t discuss issues outside of Council session.” That myth collapsed centuries ago.

    If the votes to sell are there, and market values are understood, then what possible reason is there for secrecy?

    That a Councilor might be uncertain about property valuations and doesn’t wish to appear unawares is understandable. But the electorate didn’t put the councilors into their seats of authority so that governance could be hidden. Besides, not one Albany voter would begrudge a few instances of lack-of-knowledge, assuming the councilor would educate themselves on the basics over time.

    So, the question gets asked again. Why the secrecy?
    A flooded bunker !
    What side hustle is taking place in executive session?
    Remember…it isn’t paranoia if it’s true.

  2. Gilbert fisher says:

    There are several issues that need to be address that have not be said. Will the Albany building department allow the deep talk to be demolished and filled in like a swimming with holes in the bottom and filled with clean fill. Maybe the actual concrete building can be used as a business commercially. Obviously it in a residential area but has been commercially used in the past . Then use the front area for a small home and the back area left for a garage. If there are concessions maybe someone will buy it. If not spend 450k to demolish the back portions and see it as a cheap residential lot. It’s very interesting to me if it is sold with the planning and building department give in to a mix use investment. You never know what a young couple with time with a small business can make it work without costing to city a lot of money.


    I wish to inquire about these properties

  4. Tammy Green says:

    To me it’s a no brainer.
    Why waist money when it’s needed for so much more.
    Infrastructure/ delapedated schools ect…
    And Daahhh how many homeless vets and others are there …just seems wasteful to evan think of paying 450000 to destruct something you paid. ???? To build…..my 2 cents…..

  5. concrete contractors says:

    “…ever wanted to own a seemingly useless but indestructible concrete structure…” what a line. I can’t believe they are being proposed a price tag of $450,000 – there must be an inexpensive alternative.


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