Prominent Benton County estate case for future courthouse gets judge

Benton County attempt to take about 29 acres of mostly agricultural land for his criminal justice campus scheduled for his first official court appearance on October 25.

County attempts to seize North Corvallis property he claims to be worth over $5 millionbetween the Corvallis wastewater reclamation facilities and the HP Inc. campus on Highway 20.

The owners claim that the county has no funding or development plans for the site and that its eminent domain case is excessive.

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“The county has certified no basis for its claim for immediate possession of the property,” defense attorney Bruce Cahn wrote in an Oct. 5 court filing.

County officials are considering a centralized site for its criminal justice system, starting with the building that will take over from the 134-year-old courthouse likely to collapse in a earthquake and the district attorney’s office.

These early projects carry an expected price tag of $58 million, about $33 million in loans, with the rest paid by grants.

Eventually, the county’s sheriff’s office and emergency management division could be located on campus as well as a jail to replace the mid-1970s building the county claims is too small.

The campus could cost more than $167 million.

Nick Kurth, director of the county’s justice system improvement program, said the county will issue a $100 million bond to voters in May. Construction of the Benton County Courthouse and District Attorney’s Offices is not included in what he would pay.

County officials had McFadden Ranch appraised, as the site is named after its current owner, and then offered just over $5.47 million. The county filed a lawsuit Sept. 9 in Benton County Circuit Court, suing to order the land under Oregon’s catch law to be repurposed for public safety and welfare. .

“Eminent domain is an extremely rare path for Benton County to choose, and we do not take it lightly,” County Attorney Vance Croney said in a September press release.

The court gave the owner until October 5 to respond, while the owner’s attorney was out of the country.

With the owner’s response on October 5, Judge Matthew Donohue will oversee the case.

“At best, the county has requested access to the property in order to conduct pre-planning surveys, location of utilities, soil testing and preliminary analysis of the location of the new palace. justice,” Cahn wrote.

The entire property, 85.43 acres, was last valued at approximately $7.15 million in county tax records.

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Alex Powers (he/him) covers business, environment and health for Mid-Valley Media. Call 541-812-6116 or email [email protected]