Here's excerpts from "Salem's Controversial $82 Million Police Station: Is It Too Big? Or Just Right" in the current issue of Salem Weekly. Not surprisingly, I chose the passages that mentioned my arguments for voting NO on the police facility bond.
On September 23rd, two dynamic speakers – one in favor and one opposed to a ballot measure funding a controversial $82 Million police station – will present their cases at Salem City Club.
...Brian Hines will speak in opposition to the measure. Oregon blogger, author, citizen activist and treasurer of Salem Can Do Better PAC, Hines says, “Just as someone can be a strong supporter of our nation’s armed forces, yet oppose wasteful military spending, those of us who oppose the police facility bond measure admire Salem’s Police Department and Chief Moore, while disliking the extravagant $82 million plan being voted on this November… The $82 million bond measure gives the Police Department much more than it requires for a perfectly adequate new police facility, which squeezes out money for other important unmet needs in this town.”
One hot-button facet of the measure is the way it includes a 25,000 square foot 911-call center in the new facility. Currently, the region’s 911 needs are met by staff working in a leased building in another part of town, entirely separate from the police station. Opponents question whether this regional center should be housed under the new Salem police station roof.
“The current 911 Center is fine where it is, in leased space for at least another ten years,” says Hines. “A City of Salem financial analysis showed that continuing to lease space for the 911 Center saves money over the next 30 years, compared to spending $11 million to build a new Center. And Salem taxpayers would pay the whole construction bill, even though the 911 Center serves many other jurisdictions.”
...Hines maintains that public safety can be served best if the community rejects the bond and returns “to the plan that was being pushed by the Mayor, Police Chief, and other City officials back in 2014: build a 75,000 square foot police facility AND make City Hall and the Library earthquake-safe — all for $50 to $60 million.”
Here's a one-page paper showing how this can be done: $60 million can buy Salem a perfectly adequate new 75,000 square foot police facility and save lives by seismically retrofitting City Hall and the Library so these buildings are earthquake-safe when the next Big One Cascadia Subduction Zone quake hits (which scientists say could be at any time, given the geological record).