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Flooding damages evidence in storage

MONMOUTH -- While Monmouth went relatively unscathed during the pre-Thanksgiving storm that flooded parts of the Willamette Valley, it did cast light on an ongoing space problem of the city's police station.

December 05, 2012

MONMOUTH -- While Monmouth went relatively unscathed during the pre-Thanksgiving storm that flooded parts of the Willamette Valley, it did cast light on an ongoing space problem of the city's police station.

A shipping container used for excess evidence storage took on water because of a backed up storm drain and flooding on Jackson Street, officials said last week.

The container sits in the police department's parking lot.

It's used because "we have outgrown the secure evidence storage space in the building," Police Chief Darrell Tallan said.

On Nov. 19, the parking lot flooded and left about 2 inches of water on the container's floor. Employees rescued most of the items inside, though clothing, drug paraphernalia, and electronic and media equipment sitting in boxes on the floor were damaged.

"The items that did get wet were all packaged for future destruction," Tallan said. "The evidence technician worked that day and the next day drying out these items."

No evidence being used in any active cases was compromised, Tallan said.

Town leaders have long opined that the police station is too small and becoming outdated. The city announced last month plans to go to voters for a bond to purchase and convert the old Forest Capital building off Highway 99W into a replacement.

Until a permanent solution is in place, the container will continue to be used for overflow storage, Tallan said.

"Among other risks, weather conditions are now an additional concern for us," Tallan said.

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