Robert Libke Public Safety Building

Oregon City, Oregon

How do we design a civic building that honors the past while looking toward the future?

In 2018, FFA began designs for a public safety facility for Oregon City’s Police Department, City Commission chambers, Municipal Court and Courts Administration. The team conducted workshops with police and courts staff to understand specifically how they work together and how their facility would need to support operations and reflect the organization. FFA also facilitated public engagement sessions to better understand residents’ views on their community and on their public safety agency. Through these collaborative exercises, the team identified three key themes: Community, Security and Wellness. With these in mind, the team also focused on systems that will maximize quality while minimizing labor time – a significant factor in construction costs.

The team opted for a clean, one-story building massing with Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) bearing walls and roof structure with glu-laminated wood (glulam) beams that will be installed quickly and left exposed to the interior to add warmth to the occupied space. The simple rectangular massing is “carved” into at various key places to create courtyards with access to natural light and landscaped views. The interior spaces are divided along security needs and organized around collaboration spaces that encourage staff interaction. A clerestory through the police area’s main hallway highlights primary circulation and brings natural light deep into the interior of the building.

Year Completed:
2020 (estimated)
34,000 sf
Project Contact:
Ian Gelbrich, AIA
Partner, Market Lead
Community Outreach
Watercolor Concept Sketch
Visioning Process
Lantern and Plaza

Bricks and the main entry window were salvaged from Mt. Pleasant School for a Memorial Wall and story-telling opportunity in the public plaza.


As the oldest community in the State, Oregon City has significant layers of history which hold great importance to its long-time residents as well as the thousands of newcomers who have recently chosen to make their homes there. The design team worked closely with city staff and citizens to find ways to honor this history while at the same time looking forward to the community’s future as one of Oregon’s most vibrant, growing municipalities.

The new building will be named after Reserve Officer Robert Libke who was killed in the line of duty in 2013.  By spending time with Officer Libke’s widow and the Chief of Police, FFA was able to learn more about him and his life, informing our design.

Courtroom / Multipurpose, view looking north
Courtroom / Multipurpose, view looking south
Main Circulation Hallway with Clerestory Windows


Breakroom with flexible work space
Courtroom Section Perspective
Open Office Area of CLT and glulams