Closer to home: County opens new East County Courthouse to serve residents

April 10, 2012

Dignitaries from across Oregon government celebrated the grand opening of the new East County Courthouse on Tuesday, April 10, which expands long-awaited justice services to Multnomah County’s residents in east Multnomah County.

The new $19.6 million building in the Rockwood neighborhood means residents no longer need to travel to downtown Portland to have access to essential court services. The facility will serve people being adjudicated for misdemeanors, violations and small claims.

“We’ve all worked very hard to make sure that all residents have equal access to judicial services,” said Diane McKeel, the District 4 commissioner who represents east Multnomah County residents. “This gives us all great reason to celebrate.”

The courthouse, which replaces the leased Gresham Courthouse, also will be used for landlord and tenant actions, ex parte hearings and the filing of documents for all civil and domestic relations actions.

At the celebration, community members joined county, state and small city officials inside the Michael Schrunk Courtroom -- named after the current District Attorney who is retiring this year. Presiding Multnomah County Judge Nan Waller banged her gavel on the lectern to symbolize the official opening of the courthouse.

“A courthouse itself plays a role in the justice that is handed out within its walls,” Judge Waller said. “We shape our buildings and they shape us.”

Other speakers at the celebration included Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen; Commissioner Judy Shiprack; Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul De Muniz; and District Attorney Schrunk.

The court will open its doors to the public on April 16.

For more information:

Frequently asked questions about the East County Courthouse

Watch a video of speakers at the event:

Watch a timelapse video of the East County Courthouse's construction:

Diane McKeel, Multnomah County Commissioner: "It's been a very long time coming. It's taken a lot of people to get us to this point. The residents that I represent now have a place where they can go to get their judicial needs met. We're very proud of this building and we hope that you are, too."

Jeff Cogen, Multnomah County Chair: "This building is fabulous. It's not just a beautiful building, though. It's also a testament to Multnomah County's values of sustainability and equity. We're making sure that access to justice is something that's available to everyone in Multnomah County, regardless of where you live."

Paul De Muniz, Chief Justice: "Justice cannot be an afterthought. The courthouse represents that it's a fundamental right for everyone when it comes to justice. The whole thing is the product of a great partnership of the Multnomah County Board, the Legislature and Oregon's judicial system."

Nan Waller, Multnomah County Presiding Judge: "A courthouse itself plays a role in the justice that is handed out within its walls. As Winston Churchill said: 'We shape our buildings and they shape us.' Our efforts have made a difference for all of Multnomah County's residents."

Michael Schrunk, Multnomah County District Attorney: "As a community, we have to make sure that everyone has access. The courthouse is more than a step in that direction.You see the result of what can happen when all sides work together for a common goal. We're all so much better off having this as a part of our community."

Judy Shiprack, Multnomah County Commissioner: "As a longtime public official - in the district attorney's office, in the Legislature and now with Multnomah County - it's quite apparent to me how the new East County Courthouse symbolizes how we rank justice in Multnomah County. It's not just a courthouse. It's a monument to the respect that we all have for justice."