Oregon City elected officials, police and other employees, citizens and family members gathered Tuesday night to dedicate the city’s new public safety building and civic center and honor the memory of the fallen police officer after which it was named: Robert Libke.
The 41-year-old reserve Oregon City Police Department officer was shot and killed in November 2013 while responding to a 911 call on Linn Avenue — not far from where the Robert Libke Public Safety Building now proudly stands.
He was the first Oregon City police officer killed in the line of duty since 1906, when officer George Hanlon was shot by a burglary suspect.
A permanent display of Libke’s bronzed boots were incorporated into the building project, which included contributions and input from numerous Oregon City community members, elected officials, city staff, local artists, architects and contractors, and members of the slain officer’s family.
Attendance was restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was live-streamed on YouTube.
The ceremony included Mayor Dan Holladay’s presentation of the distinguished service medal to Oregon City Police Chief James Band, assisted by Band’s wife and the widow of Robert Libke, Wendy.
After the brief ceremony, a ribbon was cut by Mayor Holladay, all four city commissioners, Wendy Libke and Ziva Libke — the daughter Robert Libke never met (Wendy was six months pregnant when he died).
“This ribbon-cutting ceremony is our first step in the new legacy of our department and our service to the residents of Oregon City,” said Chief Band. “This building will be a beacon of safety for our community for years to come.”
The 34,000-square-foot Public Safety Building will serve as the new home of the Oregon City Police Department and Municipal Court; it also houses the City Commission Chambers.
The $16 million project replaces the former police headquarters at 320 Warner Milne Road, which was originally built in the 1960s and fails to meet current fas minimum facility standards.
The one-story cross-laminated timber structure represents the latest in building technology and reflects a modern-day approach to how public safety facilities are being integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods.
It replaced the 90-year-old Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, a historic building that had outlived its usefulness. The school was built in 1929 and served students for over eight decades. Oregon City purchased the property in 2014 and demolished it five years later to make way for the Robert Libke facility.
The arched window that once hung over the school’s main door was incorporated into a display that helps frame the courtyard of the new building. The school’s cornerstone was also preserved in the display.
The site of an even older Mt. Pleasant School House, built with log timbers in 1856 by teacher Francis Holmes, is marked nearby.
Help us build a sustainable news organization to serve Canby for generations to come! Let us know if you can support our efforts to expand our operations and keep all of our content paywall-free. #SwimWithTheCurrent!