Following a district-wide disaster vulnerability assessment, the Central Lincoln PUD has purchased an 11-acre site in north Newport, where the electric utility will build a new operations center to replace a 60-year-old facility in South Beach.
“Unfortunately, our South Beach building is in a tsunami inundation zone,” said Central Lincoln General Manager Debra Smith. “Many of us on the coast believe there will be a significant earthquake or tsunami here. We don’t know when it will be, but we do know we must be as prepared as possible. Our operations facilities are crucial to our ability to begin restoring electricity distribution after a tsunami or major earthquake and we have a responsibility to operate and maintain those facilities.
Multiple sites were considered within a ten mile radius of the current facility. “We looked in Toledo, and we looked for sites in South Beach that were above the tsunami inundation zone,” said Central Lincoln Board President Larkin Kaliher. “The property we purchased was the only one that was large enough, above the tsunami inundation zone, available for purchase, and it was the only property available that was ‘rock solid’ – meaning it passed our comprehensive geotechnical testing.”
Central Lincoln’s new property is the former Northgate Industrial Park in north Newport, located north of NE 73rd Street, bordered to the west by Highway 101, and to the east by Avery Street—across from the UPS shipping facility. The former Ferguson Plumbing Supply building on Central Lincoln’s new property will be re-purposed, and an additional 60,000 square feet of building space is planned. gLAs Architects of Eugene has been selected to design the new operations center, having completed many projects on the central coast, including NOAA’s Marine Operations Center-Pacific, the NOAA Barry Fischer Research Facility, and Oregon Coast Community College’s three campuses. Portland firm Lease Crutcher Lewis will serve as CM/GC (Construction Manager/General Contractor) for the project.
Buildings at the new location will include space for bucket trucks, linemen, a tree crew, substation maintenance, and warehousing, but is expected to be about 10% smaller than the existing facility in South Beach, due to more efficient planning. Design work will continue until April 2016, with construction to begin in May 2016. Project planners anticipate the new facility to be completed in July 2017. The budget for the entire project, including land, is $27.8 million.
The future of Central Lincoln’s South Beach facility on Southeast Ash Street has not been decided: “We can’t make that determination until the new operations center is well underway,” said Smith. “Selling it is certainly a possibility to help defray the costs of the new facility, but it could be several years before it is ready to be sold.”
Customers who have questions about the new operations center can email Public Affairs Manager Chris Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Central Lincoln People’s Utility District is Oregon’s fourth-largest electric utility, serving about 700 square miles and approximately 55,000 people in portions of Coos, Douglas, Lane, and Lincoln counties. Central Lincoln is not-for-profit, and is publicly-owned, meaning it was created by voters to serve the public.