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County wants Butte Falls schools to have abandoned fish hatchery

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners wants the Butte Falls School District to get first crack at the abandoned Butte Falls Hatchery.

The commissioners agreed Wednesday to draft a letter in support of the Butte Falls School District's proposal to create a natural resources charter school at the old hatchery.

The letter "will be used to help assist the Butte Falls School District in obtaining use of the shuttered Butte Falls fish hatchery," said a recommendation drafted by County Administrator Danny Jordan.

All three county commissioners have stated they support use of the property for educational purposes, rather than converting the site into a law-enforcement training center for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

They cited the location's remoteness and lofty expenses as reasons not to create a training center on the land.

The 13-acre site, formerly run by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, closed in September to offset department budget shortfalls.

District Superintendent David Courtney said the commissioners' decision makes it feel like the charter school idea is moving forward.

"It was quite a relief and really helped our efforts in gaining access," Courtney said.

The next big step won't come until December, when school district officials meet with ODFW officials.