Crime at the Copper Gate Apartments at 4750 Auburn Way N., on the site of the former Valley 6 Outdoor Theaters, has been on the uptick of late.
So on Aug. 21, the Auburn City Council authorized Mayor Nancy Backus to enter into a facility use agreement between Coppergate LLC and the Auburn Police Department.
In the agreement, the apartment complex authorizes the APD to use one of its clubhouse rooms “for meetings and general law enforcement purposes.” Given that vague description, council members pressed Auburn Police Chief Mark Caillier and Mayor Backus for details, but they were often guarded.
Councilmember Kate Baldwin questioned the absence of cost figures in the paperwork. Caillier said it would not cost the city at all.
“Is this going to used as a (substation) or is it just going to be meeting places? Are they going to be there constantly?” asked Councilmember Cheryl Rakes.
“No,” said Backus, “and we do not necessarily want to share exactly when and where it will be. But Coppergate LLC is allowing police to utilize space at their facility, as they see fit.”
Baldwin noted that the site itself would have to remain accessible to residents during police use, and asked if the city planned to install more security like access control or buzzers.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing that’s going to be changed about the facility,” said Backus.
“Just space to utilize,” added Caillier. “There is no plan to have computers or anything like that that are city owned, installed.”
“So, chief, is this just basically going to be used for safety to have our residents feel safe by seeing a police officer there?” inquired Councilmember Yolanda Trout-Manuel.
Caillier repeated what had already been said: “This location, Coppergate, has offered up space for the use of the police department.”
Backus followed up quickly.
“We don’t want to explain exactly how the space will be utilized. We just need council approval,” Backus said.
Baldwin wanted to know if this sort of arrangement would be incorporated into the city’s comprehensive plan as an ongoing concern.
“This is not something that I am aware would be incorporated into the comprehensive plan. This is for one-off type situations. This is not the same as the enhanced patrols we have downtown and on the north end and on the south end,” Backus said.