PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Molalla’s $16 million measure to build the city’s first real police station currently leads by a margin of three votes.
As of 4:30 p.m., 924 votes have been counted in favor of Measure 03-602 and 921 votes have been counted against the general obligation bond. The measure requires a simple majority to pass, meaning the measure could win or lose by a single vote. Clackamas County Clerk Catherine McMullen told KOIN 6 News that more uncounted ballots may trickle in through Nov. 14.
“We have processed all accepted ballots for the City of Molalla that we have received,” McMullen said. “Because postmarks count, we can receive validly cast ballots postmarked Nov. 7 or earlier in the mail through Tuesday, Nov. 14.”
If the measure passes, the city will move forward with building a police station on existing city property located at the former bowling alley on Grange Avenue. The station would be built using existing funds and the proposed $16 million bond measure that would tax property owners $0.97 per $1,000 of assessed property value over the next 26 years.
Molalla PD currently operates out of a 2,800-square-foot office space added onto Molalla City Hall in 1980. During that time, the department has relied on a single holding cell large enough to hold one adult. Molalla City Manager Dan Huff said the cell is essentially a closet with a bench and a heating vent that suspects occasionally pee into. The city is unable to hold minors in the cramped cell and must take all underage arrestees directly to Oregon City.
“There’s a closet that functions as a holding cell with enough room in there for one person to go in and sit down and then we shut the door,” Huff said. “People will urinate in it and do all kinds of things in there.”
Molalla Police said that the police department’s current headquarters also fails to meet modern seismic standards and lacks the space needed for training sessions, staff meetings, locker rooms and storing evidence and police equipment.
The measure would give Molalla PD its first official police station since the department was established in the 1920s. If approved, the proposed station is expected to be built by 2025.