Multnomah County receives new offer for Wapato Jail

Two unsolicited offers for the property fell through in the past year

The Wapato Jail remains empty, June 3, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
The Wapato Jail, June 3, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Multnomah County has received several new offers to buy the unopened Wapato Jail in North Portland.

The offers were solicited by the CBRE commercial brokerage firm, which the county retained in August to market Wapato and other surplus county buildings, such as the McCoy Building and Central Courthouse.

According to county communications director Julie Sullivan-Springhetti, the firm set a deadline of Friday, Oct. 20, for expressions of interest and received several purchase proposals.

Although Sullivan-Springhetti would not detail the offers, she says, “Those are being evaluated. At some point, there will be recommendations for finalists for the Board of County Commissioners to consider.”

Some homeless advocates have proposed using Wapato as a shelter and treatment center, an idea that Commission Chair Deborah Kafoury opposes.

Two unsolicited offers for the property fell through in the past year.

Pacific Development Partners made an unsolicited $10 million cash offer for the North Portland jail in May. The company had 90 days to perform due diligence.

In August, Pacific asked the county for an eight-week extension, saying that a data center developer had expressed interest, but Pacific needed more time to complete its due diligence. The period passed without further action and on Oct. 10, Pacific let its contractual rights expire.

The first offer was for $9 million from real estate speculator Garison Russo. He withdrew it in late October 2016 after the Portland Tribune questionned his development experience and financial backing in a series of articles.

When the county retained CBRE, it said the firm will be marketing Wapato as an industrial or special use facility. With a footprint of 155,400 square feet, the facility is situated on 18.24 acres of land. The county built the complex in 2004, but it was never opened. The county says the property’s existing Heavy Industrial (IH) zoning allows for significant versatility in potential uses. They include: manufacturing and production; warehouse and freight movement; wholesale sales; and self-service storage and vehicle repair.

Wapato was designed as a 525-bed minimum security jail and secure alcohol and drug treatment facility and cost $58 million to build. An analysis by the Portand Tribune shows the total cost to date is more than $90 million to date, including interest and maintenance payments, and could exceed $105 million by the time all the bonds are finally paid off in 2023.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN media partner