The old Clatsop County jail is in position to become the Oregon Film Museum, after the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners authorized a five-year lease for the Clatsop County Historical Society to occupy the space starting Jan.1.
Historical Society Executive Director McAndrew Burns answered questions from the board about how the museum could be expected to draw visitors to the county. A significant portion of the museum would be devoted to the movie, "The Goonies," which was filmed in several locations in the county almost 25 years ago.
"The 25th is going to be big," Burns said, about this summer. At the 20th anniversary, people from around the world flocked to the historical society's Heritage Museum, making for the busiest summer in its history. "Easily more than a thousand."
To free up the space, the county approved a lease for its building and grounds department to move to a new location at the same rental rate the department now pays to the county. The department will go to the old Morris Glass building's garage-workshop area, and will pay the owners, Astoria Business Park, LLC, $1 per year to occupy the space.
Commissioners discussed one concern about the museum: how tourists' cars would be accommodated within the already busy street and parking lot around the jail building and courthouse. County Manager Duane Cole said he was confident he could work with the city to find a solution.
Burns said the new museum, devoted to the many films that have been shot in the area, would be "good for the state, good for the county, and good for the city."
In unrelated action Wednesday, the commissioners also signed off on a sheriff's sale auction of the county-owned Carlyle Apartments, a 26-unit complex in Seaside. The auction will be held on Jan 19., and a $1.5 million minimum bid will be requested. The real market value of the property is close to $1.6 million.
The property's history has been marked with conflict since Clatsop County initially took ownership of the land in the 1930s. It changed hands from the county to the city of Seaside, and then to a private individual who later used it to build a nursing home. In 1993, the structure was converted to apartments, but in 2004, county officials found that the property shouldn't have been used for anything other than city streets when it was transferred to the city, as outlined in a reversionary clause, allowing the county to sue the owner to get the property back.
Because the county paid $832,183 for the value of the building and other improvements to the property, the remainder after the sale will go to the county's taxing districts in the area, Cole said, including the city of Seaside and the Seaside School District.
The apartments were slated to be sold to the Clatsop County Housing Authority for low-income apartments, but that deal fell through.
The commissioners also approved a reorganization plan for the county health department, renaming it and focusing it solely on public health services: parent and child health programs, family planning, health information and referral, communicable disease prevention and control, and environmental health. The plan creates a new leadership position, the public health director, with a slimmed-down job description and a thinner salary.
The changes reflect a $41,000 savings, and should more effectively serve the county's public health needs, said Margo Lalich, the county's interim public health director. Financial problems have plagued the department in recent years, as expenses exceeded revenue in some service areas.
"There's so much more depth being added to the department," she said. Changes will allow the director to spend more time in the public eye, interacting with the community, Lalich said.
Cole said he wants to re-evaluate the department in a year, and see if the new structure is working.
In other business, the board:
? held public hearings on the sale of six parcels of county land to the city of Cannon Beach, then approved the sale. Five of the small, wedge-shaped lots will be used to help stabilize roads in the area around the Hemlock Street "S" curves;
? approved the formal categorization of 37 tax lots and the Cedar Street wetlands properties in Warrenton.