Local government

County appears to be interested in Vale’s old city hall to solve space problem

VALE – Malheur County is interested in buying the old Vale City Hall, though no deal has been finalized.

Malheur County Economic Development Director Taylor Rembowski said last week he was chosen by the Malheur County Court in November to lead negotiations to buy the building.

Built in 1938, the structure across from the Malheur County Courthouse served Vale for 80 years. In 2020 the city bought the former Umpqua Bank building at 150 Longfellow St. N. to be the new city hall and then moved into it that fall.

The county and Elkhorn Public Defender had rented space in the former city hall. Elkhorn Public Defender recently moved to the old Masonic Hall at 170 Main S. The county used the building during Covid for grand jury proceedings but no longer leases space. The Vale Food Pantry uses the basement but the organization is searching for a new location and may soon sign a deal to move into the now-vacant Lienkaemper Funeral Chapel at 222 Yakima St. S.

Rembowski said he’s chatted with Todd Fuller, Vale city manager “two or three times” about the building.

To sell the building the city was first required to declare it surplus, which it did in February, said Fuller.

“That was a process,” said Fuller.

Fuller said now the Vale City Council is waiting for an appraisal on the building before moving ahead with a sale.

Fuller said the market value of the building is listed by the assessor at $240,000.

Fuller said an appraisal completed in 2021 by Waldo Real Estate showed the market value of the building to be $245,820.

“The city council wants to make sure they have the most current numbers before they make a decision,” said Fuller.

Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge, nor county commissioner Ron Jacobs wouldn’t confirm the county’s interest in the old city hall.

“The county is interested in acquiring additional room for our departments, wherever it comes from,” said Jacobs.

Rembowski said if “the opportunity presented itself, and the price was right, the county would be interested.”

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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