PRINEVILLE, OR -- Work is wrapping up on Crook County’s new Justice Center, funded by a $35 million bond passed by voters in 2021. Crook County Judge Seth Crawford expects it will open in June, "And then, to me, the most exciting part will start happening, is refurbishing the old county courthouse, which everybody’s kind of the iconic - I’ve always heard - the most photographed building in Oregon."
The courthouse was built in 1909. With the Circuit Court and District Attorney's Office moving into the new Justice Center, there will be room in the historic courthouse for county offices. But Crawford says, it first needs 21st century upgrades, "We’ve got to find ways to add the ADA, the HVAC, elevators, things that were not required a hundred years ago to the building; and IT, and different things like that, that would be very difficult to retrofit."
However, he tells KBND News, "One of the things that I think we need to do is be extremely respectful to that building and our history, in general. And I think we found a really good way to do that." Crawford says, "We’ve got a really exciting idea of having a building next door, to have a lot of that infrastructure, where we can then keep the interior and exterior of that building as historically accurate as we can." He adds, "I think we’ve got some really good ideas about building next to it, to add the modern amenities and the modern requirements that we have, by law. But, we don’t have to have serious changes in the actual courthouse."
The new Justice Center will eventually provide more than double the square footage of the historic courthouse.