PORT ANGELES — City officials will explore a potential lease with the Port of Port Angeles for a joint emergency operations center and 9-1-1 dispatch center near William R. Fairchild Memorial Airport.
The Port Angeles City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to authorize City Manager Nathan West to “begin the process of exploring a lease agreement” for the port’s 1010 Building as a home for a new Clallam County EOC to be co-located with Peninsula Communications, or PenCom.
The council — with Cherie Kidd and Michael Merideth excused — also directed West to bring back financial plans for the 1010 Building and two city-owned properties where an EOC, dispatch center and possibly a fire station could be built in west Port Angeles.
“I think it’s important to remember that even if we decide to move forward with agreeing to explore the options at the 1010 Building, what we’re saying is ‘Let’s talk about it,’ not ‘Let’s sign a lease tonight,’ ” Deputy Mayor Kate Dexter said during a 70-minute discussion.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”
PenCom is a division of the Port Angeles Police Department that serves 17 police, fire and emergency services agencies in Clallam County.
It has outgrown its 6,000-square-foot space at City Hall, Port Angeles Police Chief Brian Smith said.
Clallam County officials have long said the current EOC location in the basement of the 104-year-old courthouse will not survive the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that scientists believe will strike along the Cascadia Subduction Zone in a matter of time.
The city also has a small EOC in the fire station two blocks from the county EOC.
Last February, the council directed staff to work with Clallam County on a potential location for a joint EOC and a 9-1-1 dispatch center.
The 93,000-square-foot 1010 Building at 2138 W. 18th St., was formerly occupied by yacht builder Westport LLC.
It scored higher than six other properties that were analyzed for survivability, leverage, cost-effectiveness, lifespan, capital outlay, ongoing expenses, location and site security, according to city staff.
Part of the attraction of the 1010 Building is its proximity to the airport, city officials said.
“An airport is how you get supplies and things in and out,” Smith said of a disaster response.
“It typically fits best practice in all risk management to co-locate 9-1-1 centers and EOCs together,” he added.
If the port building is selected — and lease terms are approved by the council and county commissioners — the city and county would occupy a 14,000-square foot space on the west side of the steel building.
The 1010 Building and two vacant city properties off West 16th and 18th streets each scored high for survivability, leverage, location and site security.
“Those are reasonable options that I don’t think we need to discard at this point,” Council Member Mike French said of the city-owned properties.
“I don’t want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
According to a preliminary analysis performed by Smith and Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc, the cost of relocating the EOC would be about $1 million and the cost of moving the dispatch center into the 1010 Building would be about $3 million.
Possible lease terms would be about $115,000 per year, according to the analysis.
“This is an excellent location with regard to planned logistic support activities in the event of a major regional disaster,” the analysis said.
“Although not perfect, the site would be a very good option as a west side fire station location.”
City officials estimated that it would cost $10 million to $12 million to build a new EOC/dispatch/fire station facility on the city-owned parcels off West 16th and 18th streets.
Council member Jim Moran said the 1010 Building “makes financial sense.”
West said the city’s principal interest is “ensuring that we have a long-term home for PenCom.”
Clallam County Sheriff’s Bill Benedict said he was encouraged that the city is willing to be a co-equal partner in the project.
“It’s always been my goal that we go into this essentially 50-50, and we merge those responsibilities,” Benedict told the council.
John Nutter, Port of Port Angeles director of properties, marinas and airports, said 1010 Building offers a “unique” opportunity for the city and county.
“There are a lot of unknowns here, and right now the port is trying very hard to just be a good community partner,” Nutter said.
“If we have the asset that helps everybody work together to be in the right location to do the right thing, then maybe we need to put our personal mission aside to be a good community partner.”
Other sites that the city evaluated were an office building at 430 E. Lauridsen Blvd., the site of the former Fanaticus Sport Grill at 1026 E. First. St., the Industrial Technology Building at 904 W. Ninth St. and the Port Angeles School District’s Central Services Building at 216 W. Fourth St.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].