Demolition would prevent horse patrol from returning

The recommendation comes to the council from the Portland Development Commission

Murphy the horse, seen with Officer Cassandra Wells, lost 200 pounds and is now part of the PPB Mounted Patrol Unit, June 27, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Murphy the horse, seen with Officer Cassandra Wells, lost 200 pounds and is now part of the PPB Mounted Patrol Unit, June 27, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The long-stalled redevelopment of Centennial Mill returns to the City Council on Wednesday with recommendation to move forward on the entire site — permanently displacing the Portland Police Bureau’s Mounted Horse Patrol, which has been based there.

The inside of one of three buildings at Centennial Mills that the Portland Development Commission had originally hoped to save. (Jonathan House, The Portland Tribune)

The recommendation comes to the council from the Portland Development Commission, which acquired the historic but crumbling complex of buildings along the west bank of the Willamette River for redevelopment in 2000. Several redevelopment plans have fallen through over the years, however, allowing even those buildings considered most valuable to continue deteriorating.

The MPU moved into a portion of one of the most sold buildings in 2001 after contamination was discovered in the soil of its previous paddock. But it temporarily relocated in May 2015 after the city decided to demolish practically every other building to encourage new redevelopment offices. After no serious offers came in, the PDC recommended that everything be demolished to create the most redevelopment opportunities.

The MPU is currently based in temporary quarters at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge. The council is once again debating whether to eliminate the popular patrol to save money in the bureau’s budget.

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The resolution to be considered by the council Wednesday does not specifically address the future of the MPU, however. Instead, it directs the PDC to work with partner bureaus and pursue development of the full site, capturing full land value and optimizing community benefits, in accordance with the 2006 Framework Plan approved for the area. Among other things, the plan calls for public access to the Willamette River and the Willamette Greenway that runs along it.

Although the resolution does not include any cost figures, the PDC spent $7.7 million to acquire the property and has approved over $13.5 million more for demolition so far. All previous redevelopment plans required additional subsidizes from the city.

Read the resolution here.