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Deschutes commissioners vote to save stone facade of A.J. Tucker Building before building is demolished


It would be catalogued and could be reassembled later at fairgrounds, High Desert Museum or elsewhere

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County’s offer to let anyone take apart the century-old A.J. Tucker Building in downtown Bend and reassemble it somewhere else got no takers earlier this year, so county commissioners agreed Wednesday to take apart and catalog pieces of the stone façade, for use elsewhere down the road.

The building on Greenwood Avenue needs to be moved due to the pending expansion of the adjacent Deschutes County Courthouse.

County facilities managers laid out four options for removing the building (see issue summary below), the costliest (perhaps $1 million or more) to move the whole building – costly because it would have to have a full seismic retrofit to meet life and safety standards.

One option, costing about half that, would be to deconstruct the façade, catalogue the stones and reconstruct it at the county’s Wall Street parking lot. It’d cost a lot less to just catalog the façade and store it for future use, either by the county or another organization/private party.

The fourth option was just to demolish the structure, at a $120,000 estimated cost (an expense that is also part of the other three options).

There are a variety of possibilities within those four options, said Facilities Director Lee Randall. He said the county should have space at one of its storage yards for the 10 to 15 pallets of stonework that would come off the building. He estimated a $200,000 cost that includes architectural work – detailed drawings for the masons to work off in deconstruction and reassembly later.

Commissioner Phil Chang asked Randall if any of those who considered taking the building might have been swayed to take it if they were told the county would fund the $150,000 to $200,000 for cataloging the stones and those costs.

Randall said he couldn’t speak for others, but that based on the county's estimates, that amount “would be a small percentage of the overall cost to essentially replicate the building.”

Commissioner Patti Adair, noting that she was a history major at UO, said there had been discussion of the idea of moving the stone façade to the fairgrounds in Redmond and recreating it there.

“It would be really disappointing to lose that part of our history,” she said. “I think it’s worth saving, taking it apart and recreating it somewhere at the fairgrounds.”

Historic preservation guidelines list as a priority such moving and rebuilding as close to the original site as possible, officials noted.

Chang said, “I really like the idea of cataloging the stone façade.” But he expressed concern about adding it to the courthouse expansion project, which he said “could bust our budget.”

Commission Chair Tony DeBone also supported the select demolition and preservation of the stone. He also mentioned another possible new home for the building’s façade – the High Desert Museum, perhaps near the preserved sawmill that operates there periodically.

With that plan decided, commissioners voted unanimously to apply to the city for removal of the structure.

Here’s the issue summary presented to commissioners Wednesday:

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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