Shutter Creek has made its case and now community is waiting for Gov. Kate Brown to make a final decision on the future of the state prison.
State Rep. Boomer Wright said he remained hopeful after the meeting, saying he felt Brown came in with an open mind and listened as community members made a case to keep the facility open.
“I think it went very well,” Wright said. “The people we had talking did an excellent job pleading our case. She asked questions that I thought were reasonable. She said it would take a couple of weeks to make a decision.”
Wright said the governor said after the recently-finished legislative session, she would be busy signing bills and implementing new laws, so a decision would not be immediate.
But Wright said Brown listened and asked questions that showed she was considering the arguments made by local officials.
For example, County Commissioner Bob Main was asked about the cell tower at the prison that is used by police and fire dispatchers and North Bend School District Superintendent was asked about the impact of losing students if families were forced to move for new jobs.
“She was listening to us,” Wright said. “It appeared to me she came with a fairly open mind and was willing to listen to us. I just hope we gave her enough information.”
Wright said the team that spoke to the governor tried to explain that shutting down Shutter Creek would be like throwing a rock into a lake when it came to the economy. While the direct impact of losing jobs would be minimal, the ripples would slowly grow until the impact communitywide was much larger.
The speakers tried to show the impact on schools, the medical industry, the community of Lakeside and even the ability to fight wildfires. Wright explained teams from Shutter Creek have been used many times in recent years to help battle wildfires in the region. That alone has saved the state $2 million, he said.
“I’m hopeful,” Wright said Thursday. “I think late next week or the week after that we’ll hear something.”