Wilsonville prison is being evacuated due to wildfires
This article was updated from its original version.
Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville is being evacuated due to regional wildfires, Oregon Department of Corrections Communications Manager Jennifer Black told Pamplin Media Group.
According to a news release, the ODOC was concerned that Riverside and Santiam wildfires could merge. In total, 1,303 adults in custody will be relocated — though it has yet to be announced where they will be taken. Black also said that evacuations take time and that the prison has to prepare if conditions worsen.
"In the best interest of safety and security, we have evacuated Coffee Creek Correctional Facility due to the potential convergence of wildfires in the area," said Colette S. Peters, director of ODOC, in a news release. "We are focused on the lives, health and safety of our employees and the adults in our care and custody. In this unprecedented time, I have never been more proud to be part of the Oregon Department of Corrections. The planning, logistics and effort needed to move thousands of people safely around the state has been heroic. My thoughts are with our employees, along with all Oregonians, who have been or will be negatively impacted. We will return to normal operations as soon as it is safe to do so."
In regard to air quality, Black said that Coffee Creek had implemented measures to keep as much smoke as possible from coming in from the outside, but that wasn't totally possible.
"There's lots of doors. It's impossible to keep it all out," she said.
Coffee Creek is located in Washington County and in a part of Wilsonville that has not entered Level 1 of evacuation protocols, unlike most of the city.
The communications manager added that she hadn't heard whether prison adults in custody had expressed being harmed by the air.
"Being up here myself, I'm sure they are being affected just like everyone in the community," Black said.
This story will be updated when more information is available.
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the reason for the evacuation.
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