Despite Rising Crime, Portland OR Jail Stands Empty


A $59 million dollar correctional facility that took two years to build is standing empty on the northern outskirts of Portland, Oregon, because the city hasn’t got the cash to operate the lockup, the Los Angeles Times says. Ironically, the city has such a severe shortage of cells in its other facilities that last year it was forced to give early releases to 5,000 criminals — including drug dealers and burglars — in order to admit the newly convicted.

The Wapato Facility, a 525 bed city prison built during flush times, would cost $20 million a year to operate, so it has stood unused for two years since it was constructed. “We held a ceremony, cut the ribbon – then locked the doors,” says Sheriff Bernie Giusto. “We have a brand-new jail sitting here empty, and I don’t have a good answer when the public asks me, ‘Why was it built if there was no plan to operate it?’ Even I get tired of telling people how dumb we are.”


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