Eugene Municipal Court moving out of City Hall
EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- After decades in the downtown core, Eugene’s Municipal Court is packing up and leaving City Hall for a new location.
Eugene Municipal Court is now in the process of moving to remodeled office space on 11th Avenue and Lincoln Street in Eugene.
To do it, the court is closing for a week. The closure begins at 12 p.m. on Thursday, May 31st, 2012. Eugene Municipal Court will reopen on June 7th, 2012.
The court’s move is part of the process of clearing out Eugene City Hall. About a year ago, the Eugene City Manager’s Office made a goal to all city offices out of city hall because the building is in significant danger of collapse in the event of an earthquake.
Municipal Court is now one of the last things to move.
Inside the new space on 11th and Lincoln, contractors are continuing to working to clear the dust and finish up construction, but court administrators say things should be a lot better when they’re finished compared to the court’s current space in city hall.
The new space at 11th and Lincoln has a much larger lobby, three courtrooms, and a much larger jury assembly room.
Currently, the city hall court space includes virtually no lobby, forcing many court patrons to wait outside. The current space also has two court rooms, forcing court administrators to use city council chambers as a third courtroom sometimes. The current jury assembly space is also undersized in a roughly 10 by 12 foot room for sometimes upwards of 30 people.
All in all, the new municipal court space nearly doubles the current space. Eugene Municipal Court handles roughly 25,000 cases each year, including crminal cases, violations and traffic citations. That number doesn't include parking violations.
“I think its just going to be such an improvement for the public that will help us where we aren't trying to shuffle people around as much, it's just going to be a lot more convenient, a lot more streamlined, where helping customers is just going to be a lot faster, we'll get people in and out a lot quicker,” says Jeff Perry, Eugene’s Municipal Court Administrator.
Other improvements include upping the number of lobby help windows to a total of six. Attorney-client meeting rooms will also be available for the first time.
Eugene Municipal Court is leasing the new space on 11th and Lincoln for at least the next 10 years. The court is planning to be there for longer though.
As part of the move, court officials say they’re aware that some people may go to Eugene City Hall to report for a case, making them late for court. Court administration says it will be up to the presiding judge’s discretion whether a late court appearance will be excused or not.