BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are continuting discussions on a plan to expand the Courthouse.
Commissioner Tony DeBone says the County is responsible for that facility, and it needs to grow before a new judge can be moved to Deschutes County. "We thought we had a Judge, that was going to be scheduled up to come to Deschues County from the Legislative session, the Legislature's the one that adds a seat to the Courts, and that didn't happen this time. It sounds like it may happen in the near future. it needs to happen, we've got cases being backed up over there."
DeBone says Deschutes County is unlikely to get a grant from the State for the Courthouse improvements, because we don't have seismic considerations, and we're not a poor County. And, he says, it'll cost quite a lot. "$17 to $20 million, I think is the big picture. We could build the fixtures and interior improvements on 2 of the courtrooms, and then leave the third for a future date, but it's also construction timing, if it's done in the next year or a couple years from now, it could go up also, so it's definitely more than $15 million, and we'll see where it goes from there." The vision, Debone says, is another wing, built toward the street on the Greenwood Avenue side, 3 floors with 3 courtrooms plus accessory roomsm but the plan is just in its preliminary stages. "The timing in this, it could be in the next 6 months or a year budget cycle, or it could be another year after that. But, it is a vision, it is going to be expensive, we are going to need to do it, we're just not sure when we're really, officially, going to start the process."
Current Deschutes County judges are faced with growing work every day, and a new Judge could really ease the burden, DeBone says, but if the Legislature grants the County another Judge, the Courthouse must be expanded to accommodate the appointment ahead of time.