The City of Irrigon continues to grow and expand to ensure the majority of service needs are provided to those within the city limits.
As part of this process and growth we the City Council have chosen to again establish our own law enforcement and thus not renew the contract with Morrow County Sheriff’s Office.
We have not made this decision lightly or selfishly but for the betterment and growth of Irrigon. Previously the Irrigon Municipal Court was established as part of this growth process. The court’s processes are proceeding accordingly.
So why bring law enforcement back in-house? Basically, the dollars spent are equal to contracting but provides improved responsibility, response, and authority as a city under Home Rule (ORS). Items of additional interest are as follows:
• Local ownership and autonomy of an officer(s) – local ownership
• Improved follow through on calls and responses
• Coverage and responses by the county Sheriff’s Office “are still required” under ORS (Oregon Revised Statues)
• The current contract ends with Morrow County (MC) on June 30, 2022 which was for code enforcement and extra patrol – through MC
• This is a City Council contract decision not a public vote and has been considered by council members for some time
• This is not a fiscal cut-back but improved ownership and oversight by the City Council
• Police response data is noted on the city web site under council agenda packets
• No new building is being built or was built. The county built a new building to consolidate county staff into one location (from various contracted locations) and a new Justice Court.
• MC will still have an Officer at the Irrigon Schools (paid half by MC and half school district)
• A listing of MC calls for service are listed in the council packets under “Sheriff’s Report”
We have instructed staff to proceed accordingly and they are working diligently to make the transition as smooth as possible. While certain responses may have their selective opinion, with several being outside the city limits, they do not reflect the clear direction and understanding of the public. We do appreciate the East Oregonian’s quick and brief article. While they reported clear information there is change ahead. The safety, response, and resolution of the City of Irrigon is very important we are moving forward and thank everyone for their positive and supportive approach during this time of change and transition.
Mayor Margaret Anderson
A neighborly community providing safe services, developing innovative partnerships, focusing on quality and life-giving opportunities