(Update: Adding video, comments)
Current facility 'functionally and technologically obsolete'; councilors also discuss possible fixed-route transit
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- During Tuesday evening's Redmond city council workshop, the Redmond Police Department presented future expansion plans for a new facility.
Captain Devin Lewis says they want the community to view the new space as more than just a police station, but a public safety building that can address issues outside of crime, such as mental health crises.
Lewis says there are a wide variety of infrastructural issues that include limited parking, HVAC problems, plumbing backups, little room for evidence storage and an inability to separate victims and suspects in their current lobby.
"We only have 16 secured parking spaces at the current PD, yet we have 45 vehicles in our fleet," Lewis said. "And that does not inlcude our own employees' vehicles who have to drive their own vehicles to work."
Lewis says the current facility built in 1998, is also 160% under needed capacity, at 12,850 square feet. He says as the city continues to grow, so does their necessary space, and the current site is functionally and technologically obsolete.
"Just a couple weeks ago, due to our cramped spaces, we had officers processing a large amount of drugs and other dangerous substances, and they were having to be processed in the area where we eat our lunch," Lewis said. "It was on the same table where we eat our lunch, so you could see why that would be very problematic as well."
City Manager Keith Witcosky also says the current facility does not reflect the future of Redmond, as it continues to grow.
Councilors agreed that there is a need for a new facility, but said they want to ensure the public has information and ways to provide feedback. The first step would be to look for an acceptable site for a facility, with a goal of a new site in operation in three to four years.
Estimated costs are between $15 million and $30 million.
Councilors were also presented a feasibility study from Cascades East Transit. The study evaluated a transition from the current Dial-a-Ride system to fixed bus routes in Redmond.
An online survey of 66 respondents showed 75% supported transition from Dial-a-Ride to flex routes in the near term. Long-term, over 80% supported either a flex-route system (49%), or a fixed-route system (35%).
Councilors asked CET Outreach and Engagement Administrator Derek Hofbauer if the plan was financially sustainable.
"It's a payroll tax, so as long as the economy stays healthy, it's fairly reliable and will increase over time," Hofbauer said. "It went down a little with COVID and with unemployment being a little higher, but I would say it's a very sustainable and long-term source. It is a law."
CET says stakeholders and community partners have a desire to make any future Dial-a-Ride eligibility process flexible and minimize burdens for those who are disabled.