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MailTribune.com
  • Medford council splits fire, police projects

  • Adivided City Council on Thursday approved separating the contracts for new police and fire stations to give local firms a better chance at bidding on the projects, which total $32 million.
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  • Adivided City Council on Thursday approved separating the contracts for new police and fire stations to give local firms a better chance at bidding on the projects, which total $32 million.
    Overriding the objections of three members, the council voted to select two contractors and two architects and separate the construction of a new police station and parking garage from three new fire stations.
    Councilor Dick Gordon opposed the move, saying the projects should be divided even further in the hope of giving more local firms the opportunity to bid.
    He said he's concerned the council hadn't received enough information to act on the projects. In the past, the city has had problems with other building projects, he said, citing two downtown parking garages and the first park built in The Commons.
    "This is moving way too fast," Gordon said.
    Gordon was joined in his opposition by councilors Chris Corcoran and Timothy Jackle.
    Councilors Daniel Bunn, Eli Matthews and John Michaels voted to approve the separation, prompting Mayor Gary Wheeler to break the tie.
    Wheeler said he didn't like the idea of breaking up the projects any further, saying it would result in a "scattershot" approach.
    Wheeler said it made sense to him to divide the police project from the fire projects.
    "This is an elegant solution to some very large projects," he said.
    The police headquarters and a parking garage are planned for Ivy and 10th streets at a cost of $21.6 million.
    Fire Station 2 on West Eighth Street would be replaced at a new location on West Stewart Avenue so that it can handle multiple vehicles and multiple crews.
    Fire Station 3 on Highland Avenue will be rebuilt and could be moved farther to the south, away from a roundabout.
    Fire Station 4 on Table Rock Road will be rebuilt with an expanded drive-through bay and larger living quarters and office area.
    Councilors had heard objections from some local contractors concerned that too large a project would give a bidding advantage to national companies, potentially cutting smaller local companies out of the running.
    The council turned to Jackson County, which is building a new $28.5 million health services building and parking garage on West Eighth Street. After the bids were received on the two buildings, the county combined the projects with one general contractor, JE Dunn of Portland, and Ogden, Roemer, Wilkerson Architecture.
    County officials estimate that 100 percent of the project was designed locally and about 80 percent of the work has gone to local subcontractors.
    Rick Isner, superintendent with the county's Facility Maintenance Department, said he thought it was advantageous for the county to work with one architect and one contractor to see the project from design to completion. He said he thought it was also a more cost-effective way to proceed.
    City staff members had first proposed hiring just one general contractor and one architect, but revised their recommendation and suggested separate contractors and architects for the police station and the three fire stations.
    Bunn said local companies already enjoy an advantage in bidding local jobs because they can mobilize quickly and have a good relationship with subcontractors.
    "I don't support giving a preference to locals," he said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.
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