PRINEVILLE, OR -- Construction of Crook County’s new $17 million dollar jail is behind schedule. "We’d hoped to be in there – have inmates in by July first," says Crook County Sheriff John Gautney, "Obviously, at this point, that’s not going to happen." Originally, he says, officials hoped construction would be complete by late May; then it was pushed to mid-June. Now, he says it won't be ready for inmates until July.
While delays are common on such large projects, Gautney says he didn't anticipate completion of the jail would depend on electricians' availability, "Some of the issues that’s holding us up, just most recently, is the electrical work. We have a shortage of electricians in Prineville, right now, due to other construction projects going on, and so that’s put us in a little bit of a crunch to get that done." Much of those other projects are connected to data center construction in Prineville. The facility features the latest security and communications technology, "And, obviously, in order for them to get the electronics and the doors to work, and the cameras to work, we’ve got to have electricity," Gautney tells KBND News.
Despite the delay, Sheriff Gautney says deputies are already training in the new jail. "We’re on schedule to be in there sometime in July. I can’t give you a date at this point, obviously, but we’re hoping to have inmates in and operating before the end of July; hopefully by the middle." The specific date of the inmate transfers won't be released to the public, for security reasons. But, Gautney says it will be a gradual process, "We will start out with the ones that are in the Prineville jail now, because that’s the one we want to get them out of. Our other inmates that we have, that we’re renting beds in Jefferson County [for], we’ll move those at a later time. And that’ll be based on, once we get the Prineville inmates in and get everything situated and see how that’s working out, then we will bring the other inmates over by what we call classification; one classification at a time."
An open house and public dedication scheduled for Saturday, June 22, is still on. It starts at 4 p.m.
Photo: Construction of the Crook County's new jail, behind the existing facility, in May 2019.