Rep. Boomer Wright: Don’t close Shutter Creek prison

By Oregon State Representative Boomer Wright:

I delivered a speech on the House Floor urging the Governor to reconsider her unilateral decision to shut down Shutter Creek. You can watch the video on Facebook or read my full statement below.

Rep. Boomer Wright urges Gov. Brown to reconsider decision to close Shutter Creek

One of the statements I often said when I sought election last year was that the Oregon coast needs more people here to look out for their interests.

I stand here today to speak on a very critical issue that my community is well aware of, but many of you may not be. Yesterday I stood with people in my community who are crying out in protest as their interests are being thwarted. I wish that I could use my position to save what could be thousands of local jobs that are on the verge of being lost, but I can’t. Not on my own. Not with an executive branch committed to overlooking the Oregon coast.

Madam Speaker, I rise today to use the one tool I have right now. The bully pulpit given to me by the voters on the Oregon Coast to decry the unilateral decisions coming from the governor’s office that threaten to destroy the communities I love and represent.

Our governor is single-handedly reducing the harvest of our renewable natural resources, closing our small businesses while allowing large corporations to prosper, and destroying vital tourism jobs.

And now, on top of everything else, the proposed closure of Shutter Creek Correctional Institution by Governor Brown during an economic disaster and medical crisis threatens our way of life even further.

Families will be pulled apart as some employees are transferred to faraway facilities while their families must remain to try and sell their homes or remain separated indefinitely. The psychological disruption to children uprooted from their homes and schools in the midst of a COVID crisis and forced to relocate is cruel. The tragic loss of approximately $6,000,000 in revenue annually vital for the 1,500 people of Lakeside and the broader communities of Coos and Douglas Counties will further harm local businesses. Many are already on the verge of permanent closure due to orders from the Governor.

The employees of Shutter Creek provide crucial services and programs that provide job skills and education to the inmates returning to society. Community enhancing services such as training for service dogs, firefighting support, and help for the aged and disabled with home repairs and maintenance will be torn away. At a time when we all need extra help and support, jobs and hope will be rudely and unnecessarily taken away.

I am appalled and furious at the lack of compassion and understanding.

Governor Brown, the Oregon coast is not just a big state park. We are a community where real, good people work and live. This decision threatens all of it. The men, women, and children of Shutter Creek and the surrounding communities deserve better.