Commissioners poised to make final site selection decision for proposed Justice System Improvement Program facilities

A set of justice scales over the words: Justice System Improvement Program for Benton County.
Thursday, January 6, 2022

The Benton County Board of Commissioners will meet several times the week of January 17 to begin deliberations and make a final site selection decision for proposed Justice System Improvement Program (JSIP) facilities. A preliminary discussion is scheduled for Tuesday, January 18, as part of the commissioners’ regular Board meeting, followed by a virtual public meeting on Thursday, January 20, at 5:30 p.m. to review site selection options. On Friday, January 21, a special Board meeting is scheduled for the commissioners to make a final decision.

Although public comment is available at Board meetings, time restrictions may be imposed. Individual comment may be limited to three minutes. Board meeting links and materials will be made available at: https://bit.ly/BentonCoGov-2022BoardMeetings.

The two sites under consideration for JSIP facilities include a site in west Corvallis on Reservoir Road, and a site in north Corvallis next to the Hewlett-Packard campus. The County has 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. The Board had additionally considered a site in south Corvallis, but dismissed the site in late November, with the option to revisit it if neither the west nor north Corvallis sites work out.

The Board has twice delayed a final site selection decision to provide additional time for public engagement and to provide County staff further opportunity to explore site options and conduct its due diligence.

“Taking additional time to thoroughly examine all of our options is beneficial to both the Justice System Improvement Program and our community,” said County commissioner, Xan Augerot. “In the final weeks of our first round of public engagement this fall, we heard many of our community members ask us to slow down our decision-making process to provide time to evaluate all merits of our proposed sites as well as examine the possibility of an alternate [north Corvallis] site.”

In early December, the Board agreed to move forward with construction for a new courthouse – one of four new facilities considered for the JSIP. The County will use a combination of general fund reserves and loans, plus $20 million in matching funds from the state, to advance the project and move into design by mid-2022. The Commissioners’ final site selection decision on January 21 will allow the new courthouse project to proceed according to the State’s matching funding schedule.