Linn County is in the process of buying the former U.S. Department of Agriculture building at 33630 McFarland Road in Tangent, for $550,000.
The 8,400-square-foot building formerly housed the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development and Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development.
The building, constructed in 1997, is owned by Benton Rentals LLC. It has been vacant since 2012, when those agencies moved into a new building on Highway 99 and North Lake Creek Drive.
County administrator Ralph Wyatt said the original asking price for the building and 1.4 acres was $775,000, but that was reduced to $599,000 and then to the $550,000 selling price.
Linn County has put earnest money down on the sale and plans to close the transaction sometime in July. A move-in date has not been set.
The building will be used by the OSU Extension Service — Linn County, which has been housed for many years at the Old Armory Building, which is also home to the county’s alcohol and drug programs.
The county will borrow the money from the road fund and repay it over 10 years at 2 percent interest.
“There will have to be a few modifications,” Wyatt said. “We will need to install a new kitchen since the Extension Service provides classes in cooking and canning.”
Wyatt said the building will provide the OSU Extension Service with more than twice the amount of space it is currently using. There is also room for other ag-oriented services.
Linn County began charging OSU Extension Service $50,000 per year for rent after an Extension District was formed in 2008. The funds were then passed through to fund the county trapping program, which benefits mid-valley farmers and livestock producers.
“This building is much more centrally located for our folks in agribusiness,” board chairman Roger Nyquist said. “Providing the best access possible for our ag community is why I support this purchase.”
Commissioner Will Tucker added that he believes the selling price is a real value and that the building will “serve us for a long period of time. I don’t believe we could begin to build a building of this size for this amount of money.”
Nyquist added, “We couldn’t build it for three times this amount.”
In recent years, the county has purchased and remodeled the former Reddaway Truck building across from the Linn County Jail, the former Willamette/Weyerhaeuser office complex in Albany, which now houses a portion of public health services and CASA; Clear Lake Resort; and most recently the Edgewater RV and Marina on Foster Reservoir.
All of the purchases were well below market value.
“Location, price and timing all matter,” Wyatt said.
Linn County reporter Alex Paul can be contacted by calling 541-812-6114 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.