Ground was broken Tuesday on a new $300 million courthouse for Multnomah County.

Artists rendition of the new 17 story Multnomah Courthouse.
It should open in 2020.

Artists rendition of the new 17 story Multnomah Courthouse. It should open in 2020.

Multnomah County

It won’t be finished until 2020.

The new courthouse, a replacement for the existing one in downtown Portland, will take so long to build in part because it will include more modern security measures. For example, the building will have extra elevators so chained prisoners don’t travel to court alongside judges, juries and witnesses.

Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen said that’s happening in the old building — and just one of many problems with the 107-year-old courthouse.

“It is not built with any kind of seismic design,” he said. “It has one wiring system on top of another.”

Extra security means the new building won’t be cheap. The $300 million price tag is being split between the state and the county.

The county hopes to raise its share of the cost by adding a surcharge to traffic tickets.