Jan. 21 Jail Site Meeting, Northeast Corvallis Possible

The Benton County Board of Commissioners are poised to meet several times throughout the week of Jan. 17 to nail down a final site selection for the proposed Justice System Improvement Program facilities. Plans include a new jail, sheriff’s office, and courthouse.  

The meetings will kick off with a preliminary discussion scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 18, as part of the commissioners’ regular Board meeting. This will be followed by a virtual public meeting to review site selection options on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 5:30 p.m. – although the url for this meeting has not yet been released. While public comment is available during this meeting, there might be time restrictions. To attend this virtual meeting, see the county’s website.   

On Friday, Jan. 21, at 9 a.m., a special Board meeting is scheduled for the commissioners to make a final decision.  

Where Are They Looking  

The first of two sites the county will be considering is in West Corvallis on Reservoir Road.   

The second site up for consideration had been off the table, but is now back. This is the North site at Circle Blvd. and Highway 20, next to the Hewlett-Packard campus in Corvallis.  

The County secured a letter of intent with the owner of the West site, and negotiations continue with a representative of McFadden Ranch, LLC., for purchase of the North site, according to a press release from the county.   

The West site would be most central and closest to downtown services, but it would impact more homeowners than the North site. The North site would impact fewer homeowners, but it’s in a flood plain, which could impact access for first responders. In either case, the costs for a new jail, new sheriff’s headquarters, and new courthouse will likely be in the $100 million range.  

Nick Kurth, Manager of the Justice System Improvement Program said the final site selection has been delayed more than once, and further delays will affect the county being able to put the bond measure on the May 2023 ballot.   

“I know people have been waiting for this date and I am aware there is a petition to remove the West Site as a chosen location,” said Kurth. It is unlikely the Commissioners will dismiss the West Site before deliberating the week of January 17. The primary reason is because the County is still negotiating with McFadden Ranch LLC to purchase the North Site.   

If the Commissioners were to dismiss the West Site prematurely,” Kurth continued, and acquisition of the North Site proved untenable, the County would have no sites unless it returned to the South Site, which was tentatively dismissed because it didn’t stack up against West and North.”   

At press time, we could not determine if there is a similar petition circulating concerning the North site, but area residents had petitioned against a low barrier homeless shelter in the past. In that instance, the facility finally landed in South Corvallis across from the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op.   

The Board had considered a site in South Corvallis, but it was dismissed in late November. However, there is an option to revisit it if neither the West nor North sites work out.  

By Jennifer Williams