Columbia County voters have approved a renewal of the county jail in the May 19 Oregon Primary Election.
The unofficial results, 10,624 yes votes, or 58.88 percent to 7,420 no votes, or 41.12 percent, will now be reviewed by Columbia County Elections, which has 21 days to certify the election.
The following is insight from Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley about what the levy renewal means to the jail operations and the county.
The Chief: What do you attribute the passage of this renewal levy to?
Sheriff Brian Pixley: The passage can be directly attributed to the hard work of each and every employee at CCSO. They have all worked hard to ensure we provide the best services to the public. This renewal goes to show the community trust and support we have been able to gain and keep.
The Chief: Specifically, and to be clear, how much money will the levy raise and what will that funding pay for at the jail?
Pixley: It is expected to raise $13,374,459 over 4 years. This will continue to support jail operations, capital improvement projects, etc.
In an early interview with The Chief, Pixley outlined the projects, which include replacing the facility's 20-year-old roof; obtaining the jail's full-body scanner; retrofitting the control room; CERT gear; replacing the freezer and cooler in the kitchen; new windows for the B pod, located in the maximum security portion of the jail; a new transport van; new ceiling tiles and heating table in the kitchen; additional parking spaces as the staff expands; additional attorney visiting rooms for inmates to meet with their attorneys; a remodeled control room; and an added carport charging station for electric vehicles.
The Chief: How does the passage of this levy help stabilize the overall Columbia County Sheriff's Office operations?
Pixley: The renewal means we can focus on the future and continue to build a great jail and a great team for another four years. More than that though, it shows our employees they are supported by the community they serve.