RIVER BEND

July 27, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

The juvenile corrections center at Hilgard will add 50 boys in less than a year.

River Bend near Hilgard State Park, originally built as a boot camp, will instead house boys who are in transition from incarceration to home. River Bend and the Hilgard Work-Study Camp will hold 75 boys when full.

The new building, adjacent to the work-study camp, was completed earlier this year. But no state funds were allocated for it to become a boot camp during the next two years.

Camp director Darrin Humphries will explain the Oregon Youth Authoritys plans for River Bend and Hilgard during a Union County commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Joseph Annex. The meeting is open to the public.

Brad Mulvihill of the youth authoritys Bend office said Friday that 25 teen-age boys have been moved from the older Hilgard building to the new River Bend building. Another 25 will be added in December or January, he said.

Still another 25 will arrive in the spring, bringing the total population to 75. The new building will fill before the older building will be used.

We will continue to have a work-study program, but we will direct more toward vocational training, Mulvihill said.

Several questions, including the level of funding for the program, remain unanswered, he said

We havent determined what the funding level will be, Mulvihill said. The nature of the building, with more security, dictates that we have more staff.

Mulvihill said that the youth authority plans to have a community meeting in the early fall to explain employment opportunities.

The youth authority looked at several locations in Eastern Oregon a couple of years ago when it was planning to open a youth accountability camp, based on the boot camp concept. Last year, the governor did not include funding for the accountability camps in the state budget.