BEND, OR -- It's been nearly 10 years and $11 million in the making, but Deschutes County's newly expanded jail is nearly ready for its first residents. Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton says the jail will start filling those additional 144 beds within the next two weeks, "We're working out some technology bugs in there right now. For security reasons, I can't tell you the actual date [to open]. But, more importantly, it's going to provide us with some additional opportunities to provide treatment for those that are drug or alcohol dependent and/or suffer from mental illness."
Sheriff Blanton says this is the first large expansion of a jail in Oregon in the past 10 years, and it was funded without imposing any new taxes, "So, not only did we build this facility, which is really going to enhance public safety in Deschutes County and effect recidivism in a positive way. And, we also have the money for staffing incrementally over time - and we need that."
The nearly 23,000 sf extension was paid for from within the county budget after voters turned down a bond measure four years ago that would've allowed for a larger project.