Condemned signs on Portsmouth city building come down

Posted at 11:10 AM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 18:25:05-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A judge ruled the condemned signs at the Portsmouth Civic Center will come down following a legal challenge by the sheriff against the city.

Judge Johnny Morrison stayed the decision, meaning both sides will be back in court to revisit the issue on Sept. 25.

City officials put condemned stickers on the building on Wednesday and said it is "unsafe for human habitation."

Sheriff Michael Moore disagreed with the condemnation and took the city to court.

During the hearing, deputies testified how the building is old but still safe.

A city engineer testified how there are several issues, including concerns about a fire breaking out in the jail and plumbing. In his view, the building is not safe.

Judge Morrison seemed very skeptical of the city's arguments, saying they've known about the issues for years but haven't fixed them.

"I'm pleased with the judge's ruling," said Moore following the hearing. "To me, this was wasted energy."

Currently, the jail has 258 inmates and the city manager had suggested they can be moved to Hampton Roads Regional Jail, which is also in the city.

Moore believes the city jail is the best place for them. "Hopefully with the conversations with the city over the next 60 days, we can sit down with the city and really move forward in a positive direction," Moore said.