By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Olson: County buildings in need of upgrade

## Rick Olson
## Rick Olson

Editor’s note: N-R Publisher Jeb Bladine’s weekly column will return to this space on Sept. 4. His thanks go to Rick Olson for filling in this week.

Four years ago, as I took office, I quickly realized Yamhill County needed to address several important and critical issues. Many of those aligned with my own goals.

The first, of utmost importance, was to improve the Board of Commissioners communications with citizens, media and staff. That included reaching out to residents through technology and social media while ensuring we complied with Oregon public meeting laws.

Second, also of great significance, was creation of a management team that could lead the county and staff into the future. That included employment of a new Yamhill County administrator, Business Services manager, Finance director, Health and Human Resources director, Public Works director, Community Justice director and Human Resources director.

Third, I have been greatly concerned about the physical condition of our downtown campus and its many inefficiencies for county staff required to work there. Previous commissioners told me county buildings were in great shape, and our employees were working efficiently and effectively. However, our Board of Commissioners contracted with SERA Architects to undertake a Facilities Condition Assessment and Space Needs Planning Study.

The results were startling.

The study drew heavy opinions from management and staff, plus five architectural engineering and space planning firms. The condition assessment examined the general condition of facilities; common critical items needing immediate attention; and the cost of necessary repairs. The assessment considered estimates that by 2035, with new program requirements and staffing needs, the county will need an additional 57,754 square feet of facility space.

Setting aside the Courthouse and Detention Center — not evaluated at this time — the county owns 12 buildings rated in “Poor” condition, two in “Fair” condition, and only one building rated in “Good” condition.

Facilities have been well-maintained by the county, but are in poor condition due to age. They do not comply with current ADA and accessibility stipulations: immediate or short-term corrections are required for mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems; water intrusion and exterior/siding issues need immediate repairs.

SERA Architects provided four options. Projected costs range from $19 million to repair existing buildings without even meeting 2020 program functions, to $151 million to construct all new facilities at a new location, meeting programs needs for 2035.

You can find the full assessment document on Yamhill County’s website. If you are interested in these critical decisions looming for Yamhill County, you can contact me by email at

Richard L. “Rick” Olson has served the citizens of McMinnville and Yamhill County as an elected official for 42 years — as city councilor, council president and mayor for the city of McMinnville, and currently as a Yamhill County commissioner.


Web Design and Web Development by Buildable