BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Health Services building on NE Courtney Drive in Bend is closed for a third day. County Facilities Director Lee Randall says the office was evacuated several times last week, due to a natural gas odor. Wednesday and Thursday, leaks were located and fixed. But, by Thursday afternoon, it was evacuated again and the source couldn't be found, "We are individually inspecting each of the HVAC units, looking for possible problems, while we had air-testing equipment in place. And then with the monitors that we've had in place since, we've not been able to replicate the source, or the same conditions, that were reported on Thursday afternoon."
Randall tells KBND News they will keep working to figure out what's wrong, "Our goal is to investigate the problem thoroughly, find the source and fix it. And, until we have complete assurance, we made the decision to have the building remain closed." He adds, "We're diligently looking to find the source of the problem and fix it, and we want to make sure that the building is safe for employees and the public, prior to reopening." Until then, patients with appointments at the main Health Services office are being rescheduled and all other county health buildings are open, "The information is available on the county website as well as on Facebook for the public to seek services that are usually offered at this facility," says Randall.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: County officials say the main Health Services building will remain closed Wednesday, March 6th.
THURSDAY UPDATE: The building is expected to re-open Friday. Randall says, "The Bend Fire Marshal has let us know the building is safe and ready to re-occupy." Based on evaluations completed by experts, modifications have been made to the building's heating and cooling system, and crews removed snow from the roof. Replacement of the building's HVAC system was scheduled for next year, but that timeline has now been accelerated.