PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County voters will likely be asked in November to approve a construction bond for a new jail. After a year of research and discussions, a citizen committee submitted a recommendation to a joint city and county meeting earlier this week, for a new 70-bed facility.
Read more about the work done by the citizen committee.
County Commissioner Ken Fahlgren says the specific amount of the project, and subsequent bond request, is still up in the air. "If we can keep this number down to a basic jail, and not try to build the Taj Mahal, and do just what it is that we need and nothing more – and that would mean we would still utilize our police department in its location, we would also use our Sheriff’s Department in its location. We would tie the two in this area together with the jail so those other services don’t have to be replicated or changed, and we would have the jail space that we need."
Fahlgren tells KBND News a new facility would end the current contract to rent 25 beds at the Jefferson County Jail. "Today we have, between those 25 beds and the 16 that we have, we then have 41 beds; we’re showing that we need between 67 and 80 beds, through the research we’ve done. So, this jail will be a 70-bed jail, with the ability to double bunk or add to it, as we need space." Ending that rental agreement would save Crook County about $700,000 a year. Fahlgren says that money would be used to operate the new facility. He also notes there would be additional time and money savings when deputies and officers can stop transporting prisoners to Madras.
The committee recommended moving forward with designing a new facility and asking voters to approve a bond measure. "They looked at many sites and decided that it would be best to leave it very close to where the jail is today. And, we have some space here, between the city and the county," Fahlgren says. "Again, it would be a partnership for us to, as an in-kind from the city, closing a street and using county space as well as a city parking lot to generate a large enough block that we could use this in that same location."
Fahlgren expects financial analysis and design work to be completed in about a month, after which time the construction amount could be determined.