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prisons & prisoners

UPDATE: on Lakeview, Oregon proposed new prison

This is an update from the Western Prison Project on the proposed prison that may be built in Eastern Oregon. Oregon wants to build 6 new minimum to medium security prisons. Lakeview citizens are fighting this one...read on.
The Western Prison Project is preparing to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice demanding a thorough and comprehensive review of a new state prison in Lakeview, Oregon. Approximately six million in federal funds will be applied to construction costs of the $27 million facility. The group plans to seek a temporary injunction halting construction of the prison until a full assessment of environmental issues is done. Citing the threat to local residents' water and other issues, the group is demanding a full environmental review of the proposed prison in a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Since day one of this proposed project, local residents have been vocal about the fact that the state has done a dismal job of assessing the severe environmental and human impacts of this prison on the community," said Brigette Sarabi, Executive Director of the Western Prison Project, which would be the lead plaintiff in the suit. "The biggest threat is to the water supply of the residents of Lakeview. But other concerns, including issues of solid waste, transportation, and geothermal resources have simply not been addressed. We're asking for a full review of the impacts of this proposed prison on the local community, something that should have been done years ago."

The proposed Warner Creek Correctional facility has been in the works since 1996 as part of a massive $1 billion prison expansion program for the State of Oregon, when six proposed prisons were sited in the space of six months under Oregon's emergency "super siting law."

"Despite strong objections from local residents who have more than once voted they don't want a prison, the state has aggressively gone forward with plans," said Sarabi. "It's a remarkably bad location for a prison and the people there don't want it. Because local residents, including several members of Western Prison Project, have been consistently shut out of the process, we are forced to take this major step on their behalf."

Under current contracts with the Town of Lakeview, the prison has priority for local water usage in one of Oregon's most arid regions. The contract stipulates that in the event of shortages, the prison comes first. In addition to the negative impact this is likely to have on current residents, it could prevent future residential and business development in the area. In addition, the local landfill is already near capacity and slated to be closed with no plans in place for a new landfill.

"There is a very real threat that the prison will strip the city dry of water and require local taxpayers to pay for a new landfill. These are just two of the many potentially devastating impacts of this project," said Sarabi.

In December, the U.S. Department of Justice refused to require a full Environmental Impact Statement and said there would be no significant impacts to the local community, despite receiving many letters from concerned Lakeview residents asking for a full review of water, solid waste, transportation issues, and other issues.

Former Governor John Kitzhaber halted plans for construction of the Warner Creek Correctional Facility in 2002. But Governor Ted Kulongoski brought the project back last legislative session.

"As has been the case since this prison was sited, the residents' concerns have not been addressed in any meaningful way. It's time for both federal and state governments to address these issues," said Ms. Sarabi. "We're talking about severe impacts to the lives of local residents. These citizens deserve to have these issues reviewed, especially when it is clear that a strong majority of them believe their lives will be negatively impacted by the building of this new prison."

For more information on how to stop the prison industry from taking Oregon contact:
Wester Prison Project
PO Box 40085 Portland, OR 97240
(503) 335-8449 /// fax (503) 232-1922
not looking very good 19.Mar.2004 17:08


If you look around it seems like there are a dis-perportionate number of jails being built to say.. the increase in the population, which is the only logical reason why I can see them wanting to build more. Why is this a must? Stat.s show that crime has been going down in the past few years, not up. This seems to me like our government is planning to put more people away, for more rediculouse reasons, than ever before. Our country desperatly needs to figure out the long term damaging effects of having so many of our citizens within the jails, at any given time! This society is screwed up when we depened on these institutions to keep so many of us locked away! We ALL need to tell them how messed up they are, and to come up with better solutions!
Instead of treating the symptoms, they need to treat the cause! (By doing away with rulers and the ruled, opression, capitalism, and other things maybe... ; )

No Prison in Lakeview, Oregon! 15.Apr.2004 01:56


I am very upset with the local county and city government in Lakeview. They are kiss ups to the prison industrialists. Lakeview will have higher crime, property value will go down and people will move out. I STRONGLY oppose the construction of the Warner Creek (creep) prison. Lakeview needs promoted as a tourist destination for outdoors sports people. We have many hiking and horse paths here. We have scenic beauty that is hard to find and our remote location is ideal to get away vactions. The prison will be a BLIGHT on Lakeview and cause tourists to stay away and prevent community and cultural developement in the area. Write a letter to your editor and express your views on prison construction pro or con.

Prison in Lakeview Oregon 26.Jul.2004 14:55

Tammy Pipkin tpipkin@nc.rr.com

I would just like to add, that I used to live there in the area of Lakewview for several years. 1980-1986 to be exact. I recently visited lakeview. I have always wanted to move back to the area due to it being in the country, But I must say that I was NOT impressed with what seemed to me NO- Growth with Lakeview. I don't feel it needs to be turned into a Over-populated City, but I do feel the Prison would promote/generate more funds as well as opportunities to the area. If the Prison concerns are addressed to the residents. I am actually looking at the possibility of relocating to the area if this project is a success. I do feel however that from what I am reading and hearing that the Residents concerns are being pushed aside whether it be due to the State having No- answers or if they just don't wan't to tell the Residents something that Theydo not wan't to hear.
I think that the answers are very simple and can have save a lot of Residents Worry and Concern. A plan in motion is not a difficult one.