Group assessing long-term courthouse needs

By on Monday, August 9th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

UMATILLA COUNTY – Umatilla County Commissioner Dan Dorran and his commission on planning for the future needs of the county’s courthouses has begun to meet, and recently toured the Stafford Hansell Justice Center in Hermiston. At its next meeting, the commission will have a similar tour of the Umatilla County Courthouse in Pendleton.

The Stafford Hansell building is relatively new, but Dorran says his group has found changes that already need to be made.

“If you have a defendant in custody that has to use the bathroom, they’re using the same bathroom as the judge and the jury,” Dorran said. “In the courtrooms themselves, defendants are walking past witnesses. It takes a lot of security to make sure that those trials come out safely.”

After the tour of the Pendleton courthouse, Dorran said it’s possible his group will also look into the problems involved in transporting inmates from the Umatilla County Jail to the courthouses for their trials.

He said that whatever they decide, it will be a long process.

“The end game is going to be great,” he said. “It takes a lot of time. It’s a 10-year process just to identify the funding sources through the state. Getting on that list now is very, very important.”