Emergency Operations Center location gets Clallam County staff nod

Port Angeles City Council, commissioners to discuss ownership

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners and Port Angeles City Council members hope to schedule a joint meeting to discuss purchase of a site on West Edgewood Drive for the long-planned Emergency Operations Center.

“It’s important to the council that we take a joint approach,” City Manager Nathan West told the commissioners at their Monday work session.

The discussion arose during consideration of acquiring a small piece of property adjacent to the proposed site in the 2000 block of West Edgewood Drive.

Undersheriff Ron Cameron said that after several months of due diligence and a lot of work looking into the property, county staff feels the Edgewood Drive property would have “pretty favorable outcomes” for the county and city.

“We’re at the point where we could recommend this property, but that’s up to (the elected officials),” he said.

Commissioner Randy Johnson said, “Looking at all the sites, this was far and away the best one we have in the vicinity of the (Fairchild International Airport). I don’t know why we wouldn’t” approve it.

Project manager Dale Jackson said the technical due diligence tasks are done and the Edgewood Drive property is very much optimal for this type of facility.

“We will not find anything better. Rather than losing property, we should move ahead and close escrow,” he said.

West told the commissioners that Dee Boughton, county deputy prosecuting attorney, and Bill Bloor, Port Angeles city attorney, are having ongoing discussions about which entity would have title to the property.

“It sounds like ideally we should get a recommendation from the legal teams on the ownership construct,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said.

Jackson said there’s a concept for joint ownership, but should the county acquire the property, there’s nothing preventing the city from taking ownership. They should keep the process moving so a detailed design can get started, he said.

The estimated $13 million Joint Public Safety Facility would house the Clallam County Emergency Operations Center, which is activated during disasters such as a massive earthquake or other emergencies.

The present EOC operates from the basement of the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles. The site is too small and is in a precarious position if a massive quake, such as from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, strikes, officials have said.

The facility also would house the Emergency Management division of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and Peninsula Communications (PenCom, which handles 911 calls).

The location of the facility has been discussed since 2019.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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