By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Deschutes County Circuit is ready to start conducting trials in the North Sister building of Redmond’s Deschutes County Fairgrounds.
The move allows for better social distancing during court proceedings.
“The fairgrounds really gives us the opportunity to be in a much larger space,” presiding Judge Wells Ashby said. “It’s just under 10,000 square feet, ceilings are probably 16-17′ high. It’s just a safer environment.”
They are calling it the “COVID-19 Compliant” Trial courtroom.
“We’re excited that this is sort one of the first kinds of the state to do this,” said Goeff Hinds, Director of the Deschutes County Fairgrounds and Expo Center.
A lot of work went into getting everything ready.
“Rebuilding of some buildings, some sound muffling, installation of new I.T. technology in order to do some virtual components,” Hinds said about some things needed to make the trial room work.
Ashby says the new location won’t change how deputies transport inmates.
“We have metal detectors, we have all the facilities that we need to safely conduct a jury trial; and transport is the same,” Ashby said. “It’s just another operation for them.”
The first trial at the fairgrounds begins Tuesday morning.