Washington County Seismic Retrofit Construction Projects

Preparing for a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake

The Charles D. Cameron Public Services Building (PSB) and the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) are the first of a handful of Washington CountyCascadia Subduction Zone buildings that will receive critical seismic retrofits over several years. After an earthquake, or any major disaster, a functional PSB and the uninterrupted use of the LEC will be key components of the County's response and recovery efforts.

Construction will begin on the PSB in early 2017, with completion expected near the end of 2018. The LEC seismic retrofit project is also expected to begin in early 2017 and will take approximately one year to complete.




Charles D. Cameron Public Services Building
155 N. First Avenue, Hillsboro

PSBBuilt in 1990, the PSB was compliant with existing building codes of the day. However, engineering studies concluded that the building's structural frame and internal systems are at risk, in light of scientific predictions of a major earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Seismic upgrades are required to protect life safety and to strengthen the building to a higher level of resilience. 

Although no structure can be completely "earthquake-proof," critical and essential buildings such as the PSB must remain safe and functional following a major seismic event. The work being undertaken in this project is designed to help the building sustain only limited damage to structural components and internal systems. It will also substantially lower the risk of life-threatening injury to those inside. A safe and functional PSB will be a key component of Washington County's response and recovery efforts after any major disaster and will enable the community to regain vital services more quickly in the days and weeks that follow. In addition to the seismic retrofit, the project also incorporates water mitigation work in the basement and will provide upgrades to critical building systems, including mechanical, lighting and security. 

Washington County has contracted with Portland-based SERA Architects and JE Dunn Construction to assist with design and management of this challenging, multi-phased process. Due to the length and complexity of the project, and the level ofconstruction disruption that will occur, the project will be divided into two phases. Phase one will focus on the north wing of the building and the south wing will be completed in phase two. During phase one, those departments and services previously located in the north wing of the building will be temporarily relocated into alternate, nearby spaces during construction. The moves will occur in phases as well, according to the approximated schedule listed in the table below.

The south wing of the building, which houses Health and Human Services, Human Resources and Land Use and Transportation, will remain operational and open to the public during phase one. The first floor cafeteria and auditorium will be closed during phase one construction. Weekly meetings of the Washington County Board of Commissioners will be held in the nearby Hillsboro Civic Center. For a complete schedule of Board meetings go to http://www.co.washington.or.us/BOC/Meetings/board-meeting-schedule.cfm.

When the north wing is complete, most of the remaining occupants of the south wing will then relocate to the finished north wing to allow for phase two of construction. Departments and programs originally housed in the north wing will remain in their relocated space until the project is complete in late 2018.

To obtain additional information, confirm current locations or to get specific directions, please contact the departments directly or call Washington County Facilities and Parks Services at 503-846-8715. Maps and directional signs will be posted around the downtown Hillsboro campus to help the public find their way.





 Assessment &Taxation (A&T)

  • Appraisal Section

  • Assessment Information

  • Manufactured Structures

  • Marriage Licenses/Domestic Partnership Registration

  • Passports

  • Property Tax Collections

  • Recording/Deed Records


 Adams Crossing

 161 NW Adams Avenue,

 Early March, 2017


 Board of Commissioners &

 County Administrative Office

 Public Services Annex

 254 N First Avenue,

 Late January, 2017



 Adams Annex

 231 W Main Street,

 Early February, 2017


 Community Engagement

 Public Services Annex

 254 N First Avenue,

 Late January, 2017


 County Auditor

 Washington County
 Parking Structure

 221 S First Avenue,

 Late March, 2017


 County Counsel

 Adams Crossing

 161 NW Adams Avenue,

 Early March, 2017


Law Enforcement Center
215 SW Adams Avenue, Hillsboro

LEC Aerial ViewRecent engineering studies also concluded that the Law Enforcement Center's structural integrity would likely be compromised in a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Although the Washington County Jail that extends to the west of the LEC is likely to withstand a major earthquake, seismic upgrades are necessary to protect life safety and to strengthen the LEC to a higher level of resilience that essential facilities require. Just like hospitals, fire stations and other critical services providers, the Law Enforcement Center must maintain operational capability following a major earthquake.

Since this building is relatively new, having been built in 1997, the LEC does not require the same amount of seismic strengthening as the Public Services Building. This project involves the application of external cross bracing in key locations around the building which will take approximately one year to complete. Washington County has contracted with Portland-based SERA Architects and JE Dunn Construction to assist with design and management of the project. Construction is not expected to disrupt normal operations of the Sheriff's Office or Court proceedings so relocations are not anticipated.


Future Seismic Retrofits

The seismic integrity of other county buildings will also be addressed. Efforts to reinforce and retrofit the Walnut Street Center and the Washington County Courthouse will be undertaken when current projects are complete and as additional funding sources are identified.