County Eyes Building in Evergreen Complex

October 2, 2015 | By Nicole Montesano | Yamhill Valley News Register.com

Over the objection of Chari Allen Springer, the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners approved Thursday securing financing for possible purchase of one of the buildings on the former Evergreen International Aviation campus, adjacent to the airport.

The county wants to move its public works department into the new space at a cost of up to $2.5 million. The department is currently operating from cramped and aging facilities on Lafayette Avenue, adjacent to the fairgrounds.

The commissioners engaged in heated discussion on the proposal at a closed executive session conducted Monday. However, they took no action when they returned to open session, saving that for their Thursday business meeting.

The county has been considering alternatives for development of new quarters for its public works department for some time. Earlier this year, it commissioned an engineering class at George Fox University to weigh rebuilding options on its present site.

The class delivered its report to the county's Road Improvement Advisory Committee over the summer. It concluded the only realistic option was to rebuild on the existing location, which would force the department to operate elsewhere in some fashion for at least one year, if not two.

On Sept. 30, Alfred Giuliano, trustee for the now-bankrupt Evergreen International Aviation, filed a motion with the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware seeking authorization to sell two of the campus buildings. He indicated it was proposing to sell adjacent buildings at 3500 and 3600 Three Mile Lane to Kit Johnston Farms, free of all liens, claims and encumbrances.

According to Giuliano, tentative agreement was reached on June 26 for sale of the two buildings to Jonston for $3.1 million.

Giuliano said Evergreen is proposing to put the property up for bid, in case it can secure a higher office. If not, he said, Johnston Farms would prevail.

The county is interested in purchasing one of the two buildings from Johnston. They are among six vacant buildings up for sale on the former corporate campus.

Giuliano asked the court to set a deadline of 4 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 16 for submission of bids. He asked it to schedule a hearing on his motions for Oct. 9 in order to leave enough time for notice.

The trustee noted the property has been listed for sale for more than 16 months, and had been "extensively marketed." Selling it sooner rather than later would be best for the estate, he wrote, because carrying costs are running "several thousand dollars each month."

He offered no reason for waiting until the end of September to inform the court of a sale agreement reached in June.

Springer said he did not feel the county needed to tip its hand at thsi point. "I'm more from the school of holding your cards close until you have to make a move," he said.

He said the county should wait to seek financing until it has a firm deal. He said easement and lot line adjustments for the property had not yet been secured, another cause for caution.

"I want to be sured we've followed due diligence," Springer said. "It doesn't mean I'm against the project."

Commissioners Stan Primozich and Mary Starrett countered by saying the authorization does not commit the county to purchasing the building or making the move.

"This does not in any way obligate us to do anything," Primozich said. "It just gives us the authority to move forward if we get all of these issues resolved."

Springer responded, "I would like to see something in writing that says we're not going to move forward until we get these addressed."

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