County struggling with juvenile detention facility solution

Polk County has the money to remodel the old county jail for a juvenile detention facility but not enough money to operate it.



POLK COUNTY -- Polk County has the money to remodel the old county jail for a juvenile detention facility but not enough money to operate it.

"We would have to ask the taxpayers for a $500,000 levy to operate it and we would build a larger facility than we need," County Administrator Greg Hansen said.

The county uses about six beds per month and currently those beds are rented from Yamhill and Marion counties.

The $1.6 million federal grant the county received

would build a 16-bed center. The money can only be spent for construction of new beds. It would cost the same to operate as a facility only half that size, which is all the county needs, said Hansen.

Hansen said the county plans to offer half the grant to Yamhill County so they can expand their juvenile detention center in exchange for rent-free beds until the money is used up. The county currently pays Yamhill County $150 per bed per day. Yamhill County could use the money to add eight more beds to the 16 beds they have now.

Hansen said he is still trying to convince Marion County to take the other half of the grant money for the detention facility they plan to build. But Marion County also has a construction grant of $4.7 million to build the 50-bed facility and has said it doesn't need more money for construction.

Polk County currently rents one bed from Marion County for the convenience of an officer who apprehends juveniles in West Salem. Hansen said if Marion County could use some of Polk County's construction grant, he hopes the money could be used to offset the rental of that bed for 10 to 12 years.

Hansen said he has had assurances from the state that an amended application to share the grant with the two counties would be approved.



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