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Lane County commissioners discuss plans for $251.9M courthouse

Commissioners said the total cost of the project would be aboot $250 million dollars, with $158 million coming from local money and the rest from state and federal funds.

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 6:06 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2018 10:07 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- At a board meeting Tuesday, Lane County commissioners discussed possible plans for the new courthouse, including a potential bond measure for the May ballot.

Commissioners said the total cost of the project would be about $251.9 million dollars, with $158 million coming from local money and the rest from state and federal funds.

A team of architects and consultants presented a study to the board containing design plans and projected costs for the new courthouse.

It showed the new building would include 18 courtrooms instead of the current 15.

The study also cited concerns over safety, security, mobility and the amount of courtrooms in the current building.

"Everybody needs this courthouse," Commissioner Pat Farr said. "It's not just when you're in a jury. It's not just when you're on trial. It's not just when you want to stand on the court steps claiming your first amendment rights. Everybody in the county needs a courthouse for many different reasons."

The new building would also provide more rooms for mediation and attorney-client conversations.

"We all know the deficiencies of this particular courthouse as far as the number of courtrooms ... as far as the style of the courtrooms," Farr said. "I trust the work that you've done."

Although commissioners agreed with the need of a new courthouse, some questioned the proposed plans.

"Building a courthouse with 18 court rooms when we already have a courthouse that's already jam-packed with 15 court rooms seems like that's not big enough," Commissioner Pete Sorenson said.

Commissioners said they will meet in January to discuss the next steps, including the potential bond measure for the May ballot.

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