As I am employed at the Okanogan Detention Facility, I have a vested interest in the outcome of the discussion that would remove incarcerated youth from Okanogan County to Martin Hall in Spokane County. However, since the Commissioners have stated that they will base their decision on the facts I am more at ease. When presented, the facts will show Okanogan provides superior rehabilitation services, education, quality of care, access to family, and cost for housing youth, done in a structurally sound building. I am sure of this because two years ago many of the same questions were asked and answered during the Feb. 25, 2014 Commissioners meeting.
A recent guest column brought up several concerning issues from a proposal prepared for grant purposes. It is interesting to note that most of the concerns presented in the proposal have been addressed in the four years since it was written. It is also important to note that there were two engineers reports on the structural integrity of the building, both stated the building was safe and there were no serious structural issues. One report had suggested the possibility of minimum reinforcement issues, while after further investigation, the second says the facility did meet code requirements. Both reports are being uploaded and can be viewed with other relevant documents/comments by going to the Okanogan County Office of Planning and Development website.
I am looking forward to Feb 23 at 8:15 when the county commissioners and the public will have the opportunity to discuss this critical issue.