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Sunriver outlines proposed public safety building for needed police, fire department upgrades

(Update: Adding video, comments from Sunriver police, fire chiefs)

Sunriver Service District plans community forum, presentation Friday evening

SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Sunriver police and fire departments say they are in serious need of upgraded facilities to keep up with the resort community's needs, as well Oregon safety and security protocols. So plans are taking shape for a combined Public Safety Building.

The Sunriver Service District is gathering public comment and will hold a community forum Friday evening to give a presentation and answer questions.

Police Chief Cory Darling says police personnel work out of a 2000-square-foot office space that was never designed to be a police department.

“We have no interview room. Our interviews take place in a break room,” Darling said Tuesday. “Oregon state statute requires us to video and audio record some of the interviews we do. So right now, it’s kind of an ad hoc system that we’re using. When we make an arrest, we have no secure facility for them. The only place we can secure an individual is in the back seat of a patrol car.”

But that’s not the worst of it.

Police Lt. Michael Womer explained one of their biggest deficiencies is their evidence processing area. 

“Processing drugs or processing items for fingerprints (is) extremely difficult to work in this environment. The workspace is limited, and the lighting is horrible. You can barely see what you’re doing,” he said.

For the time being, those being detained are transported to Bend, about an hour away, adding pressure on maintaining a police presence in Sunriver.

Meanwhile, Fire Chief Tim Moor said they presently don’t meet key regulations and requirements, for many reasons.

“One is decontamination from both fire events (and) car accidents," he said. "Our EMTs and paramedics go out on calls and don’t have the space for an appropriate decontamination facility.”

Darling said decontamination is also a struggle on the police agency's part, as well: “(We have)] no shower facilities, places that we can really secure the damaged uniforms.”

In addition to needing a safe space to store protective equipment, Moor said they need a separate room for the self-contained breathing apparatus firefighters wear in tanks on their backs, to filter in clean air.

As part of the proposed expansion, the new public safety facility also would include a community center. 

Bill Hepburn, chair of the Sunriver Service District Board that oversees both departments, estimated the project's cost at $16 million to $18 million.

They’re still exploring funding sources, but plan to seek the support of Sunriver voters. 

A video and presentation of preliminary plans is set for 4-6 p.m. on Friday at Benham Hall at the SHARC Aquatic Center.

The service district noted that the Sunriver Police Department is located in an unsure office building, and the Fire Department facilities haven't been updated in a quarter-century. "Neither department meets current building code requirements for "essential facilities" in emergency situations, the service district said in its notice of the upcoming community forum.

For more information on the proposal, visit: https://sunriversd.org/public-safety-bldg.

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. Any chance you can reel in YOUR police? seems like they are patrolling further and further from the resort every year. I remember when they couldnt cross Harpers Bridge but now they are headed up to Bachelor.

    1. RIGHT?? They are on the constant prowl along Spring River Rd and out South Century all the way to Big River. Stay in Sunriver and pester the terrorists for crying out loud!

      1. and thats fine, they are paid to patrol sunriver, not TRS. Getting off work at 10:30 pm and having them follow you for no reason from the roundabout all the way home every night gets old.

  2. “…those being detained are transported to Bend, about an hour away.”
    Odd. It always took me about 20 minutes when I drove the 17 miles from Sunriver to Bend.

    $16,000,000 for more space and better lighting?????? I think that could be done for about 1/10 the cost.

  3. Does not make much sense that this “resort” not an incorporated city has or needs to be a certified law enforcement agency. Some years back the enforcement part fell under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office and sunriver enforcement officers were commissioned under the purview of the Sheriff’s Office, which made sense and still makes sense today.

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