Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese’s legacy in local law enforcement can perhaps be described in two words: shooting range.
Before his term ends in December 2022, Reese wants to ensure sheriff’s deputies have a proper training center. WW has learned construction has begun in a Northeast Portland warehouse that will soon include office space, classrooms for training, and storage for evidence seized by the sheriff’s office.
The crown jewel of the project: a nearly $3 million shooting range.
Currently, sheriff’s deputies rent range time at the Portland Police Bureau’s training center, which includes an 18,000-square-foot shooting range.
Reese is familiar with it. During his tenure as chief of the Portland Police Bureau, Reese spearheaded construction in 2012 of the $15 million, 9.6-acre training center—located a 5-minute drive from the sheriff office’s future facility.
“It is a strategic investment in public safety,” Reese said in a 2012 PPB video, “and a unique opportunity for us to develop a world-class training facility.”
But renting time at PPB’s shooting range is less than ideal, says sheriff’s spokesman Chris Liedle.
“The current arrangement is not efficient for various reasons,” he says, “including rental costs, nonproductive travel time, employee scheduling challenges, lack of range availability in the region (there is not enough capacity for the overall need), and the lack of flexibility for our members to conduct drop-in training.”
Now, as Reese finishes his final lap and the race to succeed him begins, construction is underway for the outgoing sheriff’s swan song, called the Portland Portal Project.
Where: Near the Wilkes neighborhood and the border between Portland and Gresham.
Timeline: Soon. Interior construction is already underway. “We expect the new training facility to open later this year, with the range being constructed over the next couple of years,” Liedle says.
Projected cost: $2,948,590.50.
That includes $150,000 for electrical services, nearly $73,000 for acoustics, and $40,000 for bulletproof glass.
Last November, Multnomah County commissioners voted unanimously to approve $2.25 million specifically for construction, management fees and moving costs affiliated with the building, such as furniture, meeting rooms, a break room, and a new concealed handgun permit office. The sheriff’s office says funding for the project was reallocated from the now-scrapped Hansen Building relocation project.
The board has not yet voted on the budget for the firing range itself. But as part of the Portal Project budget vote last fall, commissioners approved nearly $50,000 for the footings of the firing range. It is unclear when the board will vote on the total firing range budget.
The county does not own the building. Instead, it will pay a base rent of just over $13,000 a month to the owner, Downtown Development LLC, for nearly 23,000 square feet—or about 10%—of the 202,867-square-foot building.
The lease agreement comes with a caveat. It stipulates that the firing range and its infrastructure is the responsibility of the county—not the property owner.
“Upon expiration or earlier termination of this lease,” the agreement says, “tenant shall remove all components of the firing range, repair any damage to the premises, building and project caused by such removal, and restore the premises, building and project to their original conditions, all at tenant’s expense.”
Why they want it: Currently, the sheriff’s office operates its training center in a small gym housed in a corporate building.
“The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has never had an adequate training facility,” Liedle says. “It is very difficult to create real-world, scenario-based training and practice using tools required for corrections and police work inside a gym with blue floor pads and wooden, framed doors made to simulate jail cells and walls.”
The training center will also provide a central office location for the sheriff’s 800 employees. Liedle says it will be “incredibly cost-efficient, saving the county millions of dollars that would have been needed to build a new public safety headquarters.”