Replacement Courthouse Project

Clackamas County residents will soon have a safe and secure place to seek justice.

Feb. 19, 2024 construction photo

Construction progress on Feb. 19, 2024  
View previous construction photos

Construction of a much-needed replacement county courthouse is underway on the county’s Red Soils campus in Oregon City. It will open in 2025. The project will generate hundreds of local jobs and business opportunities and not require any new taxes.

Built in 1936, the current courthouse was designed to serve a population of less than 50,000 and can no longer adequately serve a population of 420,000 that continues to grow. The current courthouse is functionally obsolete, poses significant safety risks and contributes to delays in justice. 

Recognizing the dire need for a replacement courthouse, the county and the Oregon Legislature allocated $189 million for the project in 2021 based on a pre-design estimate.

Since then, the costs of capital projects across Oregon have risen due to inflation and other factors, which presents a more precise understanding of the total project cost. Recognizing this before her 2022 retirement, Chief Justice Martha Walters wrote the Clackamas County Commissioners on June 23, 2022 committing the Oregon Judicial Department to requesting $61 million in Q-bonds for the state’s matching funds for the $313 million cost.

The county sold the necessary bonds in the summer of 2022 locking in a very attractive interest rate to finance the courthouse. The courthouse price is fixed, material costs are set and protected from future inflation. Clackamas County fully supports the OJD’s request for $61 million, while also living within its means to fund its share of the courthouse.

The state-of-the-art replacement courthouse will mark the first time in Oregon history that a courthouse is delivered through a public-private partnership (P3), and will provide significantly more room and security for courthouse employees and visitors.

A P3 involves collaboration between a government agency and a private sector company to build large infrastructure projects such as a courthouse. 

After a highly-competitive and transparent bidding process, Clackamas County selected Fengate PCL Progress Partners (FP3) to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the replacement courthouse over a 30-year period.

The FP3 consortium, now renamed the "Clackamas Progress Partners (CPP)," is comprised of:

  • Developer: Fengate Asset Management
  • PCL Investments Inc.
  • Design-Build Contractor: PCL Construction Services Inc.
  • Services Provider: Honeywell
  • Design Services: DLR Group

Fengate, the consortium lead, has developed critical infrastructure since 2006. Combined, the consortium companies have participated in more than 100 successful P3 projects worldwide, including construction of more than 40 courthouses.

The county’s comprehensive analyses of alternatives revealed the P3 approach to be the most cost-effective, lowest-risk plan. The county will make fixed payments over 30 years.

CPP is required to reinvest in the replacement courthouse to ensure that it has many remaining decades of life after the contract expires. The county, which owns the courthouse during all phases of the project, will not make any payments until the building is ready for occupancy.

In addition to benefitting the people who use will it regularly, the courthouse project will also help boost the local economy. The design-and-build funds for the project will be spent over the next three years, creating hundreds of local jobs with competitive wages and opportunities for local labor and suppliers. 

Fengate is also committed to hiring local disadvantaged, minority, and women-owned businesses, as well as service-disabled veterans’ businesses and small businesses in the community.

Factsheets

Fall 2023 | Summer 2023 | Spring 2023 | February 2023

Videos

Full Speeches

Interviews

Artist Rendering Virtual Tour

The current courthouse is no longer adequate to meet our needs

Earthquake danger

Earthquake Risks
A 2015 seismic evaluation found the existing courthouse has numerous structural deficiencies. Soil tests indicate the ground under the building could liquefy during an earthquake. The courthouse is currently 3 feet from the Willamette River and cannot be seismically retrofitted or modified to modern standards.

Risk of electric shock

Safety Concerns
There are significant safety concerns due to failing building systems. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are functionally obsolete and in some cases beyond repair.

Prisoner in a cage

Security Challenges
A capacity shortage in the current courthouse highlights the need for separate building "circulation zones". The current courthouse lacks separate paths for victims, witnesses, and detainees/defendants. Jurors have no sequestration room on site, increasing the risk of improper communications.

Judge

Delays in Justice
With the current courthouse, the gap between space availability and judicial needs leads to delays in justice. The existing courthouse cannot handle the demands of our population, which has led to delays in trials and incarcerations, and affected child support hearings and civil litigation trials.

We are invested and moving forward

Clackamas County leadership breaking ground at the new courthouse location

The replacement courthouse is now being built on the county's Red Soils Campus in Oregon City.

Hand holding key 
We own the land.

Architect holding plans 
Our approved campus master plan includes the new courthouse.

Plumbing 
We proactively installed utility infrastructure.

Clackamas County’s Commitment

Building a new courthouse aligns with all five strategic priorities in Clackamas County’s Performance Clackamas plan and goals on Climate Action.

Build public trust through good government

Build public trust through good government

Clackamas County provides a variety of services, and responsible use of public dollars is always at the front of our mind. We know trust begins with transparency, and we commit to providing updates during each phase of the project.

Grow a vibrant economy

Grow a vibrant economy

In addition to jobs provided during construction, courthouses include a variety of public safety, administration, and social services careers. Courts also resolve business agreements and property transactions that help keep the economy moving.

Build a strong infrastructure

Build a strong infrastructure

Long-term investments like the courthouse will last for decades, improving the experience for hundreds, and sometimes thousands of residents, community members, public safety officials, and victims that enter the courthouse each day.

 

Ensure safe, healthy, and secure communities

Ensure safe, healthy, and secure communities

It’s the job of the courthouse to ensure everyone receives their day in court. Trial delays, proximity between the accused and their accusers, and hallways shared by criminal defendants and the public are just a few examples of the overwhelming public safety need.

Honor, utilize, promote, and invest in our natural resources

Honor, utilize, promote, and invest in our natural resources

Clackamas County views public infrastructure investments through a lens of carbon neutrality, which includes the buildings we own and operate. A new courthouse allows the county to step closer to carbon neutrality by pursuing climate friendly building materials like cross-laminated timber and carbon neutral energy resources like solar power.  

 

Courthouse FAQ

92721

Our current courthouse is outdated, and was originally designed with a single courtroom and county offices. It has been remodeled countless times to accommodate 11 courtrooms.

Further, it was not built to modern seismic standards, and retrofitting for seismic events is not a prudent decision if it no longer meets the needs of the community. A recent appraisal indicates the building is at the end of its economic life. The building also forces victims of violence to come into contact in hallways with the same people who committed crimes against them. This is intimidating for witnesses and victims, and creates an overall safety issue for all courthouse users.

Lastly, because of the safety issues, the county is requesting half of the construction costs for the new courthouse from the State, creating a one-time opportunity to get this accomplished at minimal cost to the residents of Clackamas County.

Please see the Project Fact Sheet for more.

92721

The 215,000-square-foot courthouse will have:

  • 14 courtrooms
  • 20 judicial chambers
  • Offices for the District Attorney
  • Secure loading and staging areas
  • Improved prisoner transfer facilities
  • Jury assembly and grand jury spaces
  • Safe corridors for courthouse users
  • Secure holding cells for violent offenders

The new courthouse design integrates into the existing 68-acre Red Soils Campus and takes a forward-thinking approach to operations, security, technology, and sustainability. The courthouse providing full court services will balance public accessibility, building occupant security, operational efficiencies, and the incorporation of proven technological developments, to provide a facility that is functionally advanced.

The courthouse design will embody the ideals of our democratic society through the creation of an image that is permanent, solid, and durable while simultaneously reflecting the transparency that is the hallmark of the American justice system.

The interior design vision emerged from the simultaneous consideration of interior wayfinding, operational clarity, user wellness, and trauma-informed design. The new courthouse design is defined by an abundance of daylight with uninterrupted views providing a powerful connection to the outdoors to support the principles of trauma-informed design by engaging people’s natural affiliation for nature and views.

Plus, by moving to the Red Soils Campus, courthouse users will now only be steps away from departments such as: Social Services; Behavioral Health; Public Health; Juvenile; Veterans Services; and the Family Justice Center. This means that people don’t have to drive all over town to access the various functions of county government, and proximity will improve efficiency and collaboration between these different public service agencies.

  • This project will also provide a big boost for the local economy.
  • It will create local jobs with competitive wages, and provide opportunities for local labor and businesses.
  • Clackamas Progress Partners are committed to hiring local disadvantaged, minority-owned, women-owned and service-disabled-veteran-owned businesses.
  • This project also supports the county’s Climate Action Plan.
  • The County’s “Performance Clackamas” is looking for carbon neutral operations by 2050, while Oregon’s Climate Action Plan looks for a 45% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2035.
  • Combatting climate change is a clear, stated priority for the County. The courthouse design has incorporated an aggressive decarbonization strategy that minimizes carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from resource use.
  • Carbon emissions have been reduced by 35% as compared to the highly efficient Oregon minimally code compliant baseline. Beyond simply saving annual energy, carbon and energy cost, the courthouse design decreases the County’s exposure to a potentially volatile energy market.
  • Design selections made by Clackamas Progress Partners in collaboration with Clackamas County focus on operations, security, technology, and sustainability.
  • Best-practices in use of materials, systems and energy efficiency are embedded within the design to attain LEED Version 4.1 Gold Certification, which is the next generation standard for green building design, construction, operations and performance.
  • The courthouse project is participating in the Oregon Green Energy Technology in Public Buildings program, which will include technology to produce at least 25-percent of the building energy onsite.
  • The use of mass timber adds to our sustainability commitment and will bring an immediate connection to Oregon as community members enter the courthouse.
92721

No. Simply put, we need more space for enough judges and courtrooms — right now we have enough of a population for three additional judges to handle, but we have no space for them or courtrooms, which leads to serious delays in justice.

92721

A new courthouse will:

  • Improve safety, as the current courthouse was never designed to have so many courtrooms therefore victims of violence are forced to come into contact in hallways with the same people who committed those crimes
  • Create a more responsive and efficient local justice system, greater measures of safety for victims, and increased accessibility
  • Place residents steps away from other important co-located services, such as social services, behavioral health, public health, and more.
92721

The county plans to build the new courthouse on the county’s Red Soils Campus in Oregon City by 2025. That will meet projected county needs for the next 50 years and comply with specifications outlined by the Oregon Judicial Department.

92721

Yes. There are two distinct types of juvenile proceedings: delinquency and dependency. The new courthouse will hold both types of court proceedings.

92721

Yes! Rather than being located in downtown Oregon City with extremely limited parking options, the new courthouse will have great access to public transit and ample parking. The county will comply with all Oregon City parking requirements for the campus.

92721

There is nothing in the county’s plans to tear the current building down. Our current position is that the building will become surplus property once the new courthouse is built. There is no intended future use by the county, and the building will likely be sold to a new owner who commits to remodeling and refurbishing the building for new uses.

92721

Clackamas County received $94.5 million in matching bond funds from the 2021 Oregon Legislature, which represented the state’s 50% contribution of funds toward the then-estimated $189 million project. After a competitive bidding process, Clackamas County selected Fengate PCL Progress Partners to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the replacement courthouse over a 30-year period. It will mark the first time in Oregon history that a courthouse is delivered through a public-private partnership (P3).

The county’s comprehensive analyses of alternatives determined that a P3 approach is the most cost-effective, lowest-risk plan. The project will not require any new taxes. The county will make fixed payments over 30 years. The county will own the courthouse during all phases of the project, will not make any payments until the building is ready for occupancy.

92721

Road funds, by law, are completely separate from courthouse funds. Road funds can only come from dedicated road funding sources (state gas tax, vehicle registration fees), and these funds can only go to roads.

92721

Resources

Policy Sessions/Issues & Updates

12/6/22Courthouse Construction Progress Update
11/2/21Courthouse Project Update - Gary Barth
9/21/21Overview of New County Courthouse Project Update - Gary Barth
8/10/21New County Courthouse Project Update - Gary Barth
6/29/21County Courthouse Project Update
5/5/21New County Courthouse Project Update
4/21/21County Courthouse Project Update
1/12/21New Circuit Courthouse Project Update
7/7/20Courthouse Replacement Project
2/18/20Courthouse Replacement Project
2/4/20USDA Wood Innovation Grant – County Courthouse Mass Timber
10/22/19Courthouse Replacement Project – Financing Plan and Delivery Approach
10/2/19Quarterly General County Budget Committee Meeting
6/18/19Courthouse Replacement Project: Community Benefit Agreements Info Session
1/29/19Courthouse Replacement Project Quarterly Report
9/18/18Courthouse Replacement Project Quarterly Report
6/26/18Courthouse Replacement Project Quarterly Report
10/17/17Courthouse Replacement Project Planning
2/14/17Red Soils Courthouse Funding Request for 2017 Biennium

News Coverage

2/6/23Clackamas County breaks ground on new courthouse - KPTV/KPDX
2/5/23Work starts on new courthouse for Clackamas County - Pamplin Media
2/5/23New Clackamas County Courthouse breaks ground, expected to be open in 2025 - KATU
2/4/23Historic Courthouse Replacement Project Officially Breaks Ground in Clackamas County - Canby First
2/4/231 o’clock Newsbrief - KXL Radio
9/26/22Clackamas County: Courthouse project to create long-term benefits - Clackamas Review
12/10/21Clackamas County submits $189M courthouse construction plan - Pamplin Media
7/7/21State approves $1 for Clackamas courthouse, pending joint report - Portland Tribune
4/22/21Clackamas County at fork in road on courthouse development - Lake Oswego Review
7/08/20Clackamas County mulls private partner to build courthouse - Portland Tribune
2/26/20Need for new Clackamas County courthouse is overwhelming - Clackamas Review
7/22/19Clackamas County details plans for courthouse construction - Clackamas Review
7/11/19State chips in another $31.5M toward county courthouse - Portland Business Tribune
7/11/19Construction plans for new Clackamas County Courthouse moving forward - West Linn Tidings
12/22/17Clackamas County pursuing new courthouse - DJC Oregon
10/18/17Board briefed on courthouse planning - Portland Tribune