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ROSEBURG, Ore. - The Roseburg City Council voted to approve plans to renovate the second floor of City Hall Monday night.
City staff said the main concern is safety. They said the staff in the building have called police for threats and unruly behavior, and they're concerned for their safety.
The new renovations will add security measures to the second floor, which is the level of entry from the street. People would need to be buzzed into the building and employee would need access to use the staircase or the elevator.
Mayor Larry Rich said this is an important step for the city to be taking at this point.
”I think it’s overdue. So it’s one of those things where if I was an employee there I’d want to make sure that somebody’s looking after me and I’m working in a safe environment. So to me, it’s absolutely critical that we, as a council, make sure our staff is well protected," said Rich.
Only two council members voted against the renovations, and one of them was Councilor Ashley Hicks. Hicks said she felt the project is going to be too costly and is unnecessary. She said all businesses face threats when dealing with the public, and if they feel concerned they should start with security cameras.
Rich said he believes government buildings have a higher risk than other businesses because of a general hate. He said it is often directed at the government.
Hicks also said she felt in a rural community like Roseburg, it's important to keep a transparency with your local government, and this project would take that away.
”I felt that we were losing access to our public facility. And this is a rural community, and it’s important to me to kind of keep our small city charm," said Hicks.
Overall, Hicks noted that even though she voted differently, the city council is a team, and she won't make trouble for the decision.
The project will cost about $341,233. In addition to security measures, they'll also be moving offices around for convenience, like moving the financial director closer to the public, and making the bathrooms ADA compliant.