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Architect study finds Blue Building auditorium unsafe
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The analysis of the Blue Building is in and McMinnville officials are beginning their review of the report. Unfortunately, the news is not good for a section of the structure.
“We need to get that taken care of quickly, as far as not letting anyone near it or around it,” said Vice Mayor Ben Newman, referring to the auditorium. “I think we need to block access to it from inside the building, just in case someone sneaks in; and outside the building, a barrier warning people that it is dangerous.”
According to the analysis, “The auditorium is in critical condition and no one should be allowed in or even near the facility.”
Newman says the city is now on notice that the auditorium is a hazard.
“We don’t need the liability,” he said. “Knowing that someone has told us that no one should be allowed in or even near the facility, I think we should take whatever steps are necessary to keep people away from it.”
McMinnville Public Works will be in charge of securing the building.
“Do we want signs only or barriers,” said city administrator David Rutherford.
The city’s legal counsel says more than signs are needed if the city wants to protect itself from liability.
“I’m not comfortable with signs only,” said attorney Tim Pirtle. “I think you need barriers and signs, the whole nine yards. Are we aware of any unauthorized access to those parts of the building? Is there evidence that someone has been in there?”
Rutherford says he is unaware of any unauthorized access.
“We do store items in there,” he said. “Once we remove those items, no one will be allowed access to the building.”
While Public Works secures the building and places warning signs, McMinnville Police Department will increases its patrol and warnings may not be given.
Police Department Chief Bryan Denton questioned, “If you are placing no trespassing signs, do you expect police to take action against individuals found on the property without authorization?”
“Absolutely,” said Newman.
Review of the analysis report pertaining to other parts of the building will continue in August.