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Community Corrections in need of a new home

Soroptimists plan to use space for expansion of Neat Repeat Store
The Crook County Community Corrections Department will need to find new office space after the Sheriff's Office received notification to vacate a building within about 90 days.
   Crook County Counsel Jeff Wilson said the topic of the new move came up at the July 7 Crook County Court meeting and he said the county has a lease agreement with the Soroptimists Club for the property at 190 N. Main St. The topic will be discussed at Wednesday's county court meeting.
   "We're still talking about options that we'll talk about tomorrow," said Crook County Judge Scott Cooper. "They all have positives and they all have drawbacks."
   County court members and Community Corrections Director Rhonda Belanger discussed various housing options in early July. One is to use space in the Coffer Building. Another option would be to use the vacant building that sits behind the Department of Human Services Building behind the Apple Peddler.
   "They talked about the possibility of purchasing and occupying a modular behind the sheriff's department by Second and First," Wilson added.
   Now the court and the corrections department are looking at moving department personnel upstairs to the Coffer Building.
   "It would take the least amount of remodeling for us to get into and the timeframe - that would probably accommodate us a lot better than the other two," said Belanger. "And it keeps us next to court."
   She has eight employees at the current location. On Tuesdays, the sex offender group meets at 190 N. Main St. Also, her department contracts with ME and Associates out of Bend to monitor the misdemeanor case load.
   The reason for the move is so that Neat Repeat can obtain more storage space and for store displays.
   Currently, the Neat Repeat, which is operated by the Prineville Soroptimists, has to rent space and if the corrections department were to move, that would be free space, according to Dale Comini of the Soroptimists.
   The Soroptimists sent a letter in mid-June to the department and later gave them a 90-day extension - a big surprise to a department that has been in the same spot for 25 years.
   "I don't know if they're going to give us beyond the 90 (days). We haven't found anything yet, so it could be real interesting," Belanger said.
   Currently, the corrections department pays $1300 a month for the lease and about $20 for water. The present location consists of about 1,800 square feet "and that's the minimum we would need," Belanger noted.
   She said the department's data lines are hooked up to the Department of Corrections office in Salem, and so those lines will need to be reconnected. Plus, the Crook County department will need to notify all of its parole and probation clients of the move. She wants to make sure that wherever the department ends up, that there is enough space to accommodate one or two new parole and probation officers. And Belanger hopes the new location will suit Community Correction's needs for another 25 years.