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PORTLAND, OR-Years of controversy as to where to site a new jail facility for Multnomah County seem to have been put to rest. The Port of Portland Commission has amended its sales agreement with the county to ensure that the 18-acre site in the Rivergate Industrial District would remain available for construction of the facility.

The original sale–in May 1999–called for the county to pay $4.6 million for the property. However, a small group of North Portland citizens opposes having a jail in Rivergate. One member of that group recently filed an appeal with the State Land Use Board of Appeals opposing the city’s approval of plans to subdivide the tract into smaller parcels.

As a result of that appeal, the city decided to amend the original sales agreement to provide for any likelihood that the Board of Appeals may rescind the subdivision plans. The amendment says in essence that if such rescission occurs, the sales agreement would convert to a 99-year ground lease, with the pre-paid rent being equal to the previously approved sales price.

“The county is prepared to begin construction on its new facility,” says Bill Bach, the Port’s property and development services senior manager. “They’ve already begun making infrastructure improvements in the adjacent street right-of-way.”

Initial construction of the new Wapato Correctional facility will include a 225-bed jail and a 300-bed alcohol and drug treatment center. Groundbreaking is expect for late November or early December.

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