Rowan clarifies jail renovation project

By on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan is glad that funding has been restored for the remodel of the Umatilla County Jail. That funding had been lost due to the negative impact COVID-19 had on lottery bonds.

Rowan said it’s important that people understand what the remodel is because he’s heard it described inaccurately. It is not the construction of a mental health wing.

“That is not the case,” he said. “That has never been the case. We are simply doing some modifications to our current footprint to create additional single-cell holding capability.”

A little-used sally port at the jail will become part of the intake area. Rowan said having more single cells for the newly arrested is important.

“If somebody comes in significantly under the influence of drugs or alcohol, have a medical condition, are in a mental health crisis, or a combination of all three, it’s someplace we can safely house them, until we can get them into a stable arena and then potentially move them into general population,” he said.