Medford area plans new Labor Temple

MEDFORD, OR -- Faith in a bright future for organized labor in southern Oregon is evident with the revelation of plans for construction of a new labor center in nearby Central Point. The structure will replace the aging and outmoded Labor Temple at 24 1/2 South Grape St. in downtown Medford. This building dates from the early 1920s, labor officials say.

The new, 8,600 square-foot building will be located facing Oregon Highway 99 on a 3 1/2-acre plot near Central Point's Crater High School and adjacent to the area headquarters of the Oregon State Police.

The site is at the hub of the fastest-growing area in southern Oregon and will be readily accessible to Interstate 5.

"There will not be any fancy frills," said Walt Connor, the project coordinator. "We will try to keep the costs down." Connor is a business representative of Medford-based Electrical Workers Local 659.

The project received final approval from the Central Point City Council last month.

Bidding is expected soon, probably in two phases. The first phase will encompass site preparation, erection of a building shell and parking for about 220 cars. The second phase will cover interior finishing.

At this stage, there is no specific cost estimate and no decision has been made on a general contractor. The plans provide for a meeting hall with facilities to handle group events.

It is anticipated construction will be completed by Labor Day 1998, Connor said.

The project reflects growth in the area with population estimated at more than 140,000, more than 70,000 in Medford, said Jack Jones, Local 659 apprenticeship coordinator. "It indicates a belief in a stable economy," he insisted.

Present Labor Temple union residents are Local 659, Laborers Local 1400, Communications Workers Local 9704, Carpenters Local 2067, Teamsters Local 962 and Machinists-Woodworkers Local W-261. They all will move to the new building.

Local W-261 is the result of a recent merger of Machinists-Woodworker locals in Medford and North Bend. The Roseburg area will continue to be serviced from the Medford office, an official at the union�s district office in Gladstone told the Labor Press.

Officers of the Labor Temple, which remains separate from the Southern Oregon Labor Council and the Rogue Building and Construction Trades Council, are Jerry Stewart, business manager of Local 962, president, and Jim McLain, business manager of Local 659, secretary-treasurer.


Oct. 17, 1997 issue

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