In 1993 the Columbia Gorge region of Northern Oregon was struggling with a lack of Jail Beds for their offender population. What few jail beds that were available in this area were restricted to minor holding facilities prior to transport to a regional jail or were under a court order to close. Options were few and there were limited resources available to the area. Initially 6 of the affected counties came together to discuss the options that could be incorporated to resolve this serious public safety issue. From this initial meeting 4 counties, Wasco, Hood River, Sherman and Gilliam, decided to form a partnership that would oversee the building and operation of a regional county jail. This enterprise would initially be funded by a construction bond with on-going support provided by the four counties through their provision of operational subsidies based on their usage. This is currently set at 50%, 40%, 5% and 5%. The jail would be run by a Jail Administrator with oversight provided by a board of commissioners, one chosen from each of the respective counties, and a rotating Sheriff Representative, also chosen from one of the counties. The board would guide operational policies and provide county specific guidelines that would meet the public safety interests of the four county regions. This collaborative effort resulted in the opening in 1999 of the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Center. This facility is one of only a handful in the country that incorporates a multi-county approach to the management of its jail population.
The construction bond was paid in full in Sept of 2016. The operational cost have increased over the years while the required county subsidies have stretched the county’s general funds to the point that other services are in jeopardy of being reduced or in some cases eliminated. The purposed bond levy is a way to provide for a stable funding source to offset the operational cost to the counties, lowering their subsidies and preventing the loss or reduction in other services.
The bond is set at the same rate as the construction bond at .26 per thousand which will generate about 1.3 million per year.
Current County subsidies:
Wasco $1,916,748.00 Hood River $1,533,397.00 Sherman $191,676.00 Gilliam $191,676.00 Total Subsidies $3,833,497.00
Yearly operational costs or expenses are as follows:
- 2015 - $5,810,835.00, yearly or $484,236.00 monthly
- 2016 - $6,040,956.00, yearly or $503,413.00 monthly
- 2017 - $6,217,773.00, yearly or $518,147.00 monthly
The difference between expenses and county subsidies is made up during good years through contracts with Immigration, other counties and rental income from a warehouse that is owned by NORCOR. These are fluctuating revenue sources that are not guaranteed and thus during lean times put an additional burden on the member counties. This operational levy will help to stabilize this situation and give us the needed foundation to continue to provide you with the level of services you have come to expect from NORCOR.
NORCOR books around 3,000 offenders each year. About the same are released each year. That is around 300 in and out each month. Around 2,000 are released within 7 days of being arrested. 500 are released within 30 days and around 500 spend 30 days plus. The cost to house these individuals is $123.00 per day. Average daily population is 120 for Adult and 19 for Juvenile.
modified: 05/03/2017 08:35 pm