By Nicole Friedman,
Twenty-six years after moving to a so called temporary location on Southwest Griffith Drive, Beaverton’s city government is set to relocate.
The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to move the municipal government to the South Office Building at 12725 S.W. Millikan Way in the Round, a mostly empty housing and retail complex at the Beaverton Central MAX Station.
The city’s police department and municipal court will remain at their current location on Griffith Drive. The council hopes to place a bond measure on the May or September ballot to pay for a new police and court building that meets updated safety standards.
Beaverton bought the South Office Building in April for $8.65 million. Most of the other properties at the Round are owned by developer ScanlanKemperBard.
The city government will continue to rent out part of the South Office Building. The building’s current tenants include Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., and the Westside Transportation Alliance.
What effect will this move have on the city — and will it help revitalize the Round?
Here’s what some stakeholders had to say. Their comments have been condensed for clarity.
Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle
Unlike here, it will be a much larger population that will be coming and going (at the Round). SKB is holding off on further investment — this should be a turning point. We can be in that building by the end of September.
City Councilor Betty Bode (comments made during Jan. 15 City Council meeting)
We have three bond measures out that we’re paying off. We have to look to build up our general fund. There is a financial obligation on the part of city officials to keep this city solid.
As I look at City Hall right here, we couldn’t even keep a coffee shop going. I’m not really convinced that you put employees (in the Round), that that’s just really going to open up a couple of restaurants that are really going to make it.
I just think we don’t have the money to do this right now.
Ethan Seltzer, professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University
Where you find the city hall is where you find the center of the city.
Public places like city halls and public libraries give ordinary citizens a reason to go to the center of things. They provide places for ordinary citizens to be able to feel welcome — to have a reason for being there other than commercial purposes. They tend to create kind of a vitality that comes from the mix of people that come to those places.
The distance between the library and the Round is not that far. What you’re doing is creating a district anchored by major public places. It’s a great strategy.
Angelica Corona, manager at Qdoba on Southwest Griffith Drive
(The city employees) are very good clients. We have been here for six years, and they have always been very supportive to our business. I’m glad that (the new location is) not too far away. I hope we can see them once in a while.
John Bezucha, assistant manager at Mingo in the Round
Having 200-plus new employees in the area sure would bring a few new faces in. It will definitely, hopefully, help us out. It could change our style of service somewhat. Maybe expanding, doing some kind of delivery thing. Hopefully, it could be a pretty good relationship with some new people.
Todd Gooding, president of SKB
We’re pumped. Our whole position was that the property needed to look and feel finished and occupied. And by the city moving in, that accelerates that process of making the project vibrant and finished.