Marion County Courthouse will cost millions to repair

- By Melica Johnson
And KATU.com Web Staff

SALEM - A man that ran into the Marion County courthouse could end up being the most expensive case in the county's history.

On Nov. 12, Christopher Millis drove his pickup truck into the courthouse after leading Keizer police officers on a chase, according to the Keizer Police Department. When inside, Millis lit several sections of the courthouse on fire, which caused extensive damage.

The county estimates the courthouse's renovation will cost around $10 million. While their insurance is paying for nearly all of the repairs, the county's emergency fund is being drained. They expect to spend $1.7 million from that fund on the insurance deductible, code upgrades and improvements.

County officials provided a tour of the courthouse on Friday. Even though crews have been renovating the courthouse for more than two months, the destruction is still evident.

"People take it that it was such a minor incident," said Sam Brentano, a Marion County commissioner. "They take it that it's just a car that crashed through the front door...big deal. But it's so much more than that. I think if you've been on this tour of the courthouse, you know that's true."

The county expects to have some offices, including the Marion County Sheriff's Office, back in the building by April. They hope all of the offices can return by August.

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