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Since You Asked

What happened to the new prison that Oregon was supposed to get? Are we getting one? If so, where?

' Donna R., Eagle Point

Oregon is actually supposed to get four new prisons, one in White City. We just don't know when, Donna.

The state's budget crisis halted all prison construction in late September last year. The Oregon Department of Corrections was in the middle of building minimum-security prisons in Lakeview and Madras.

Work was to begin on the minimum-security White City prison in 2008. However, that date most likely will be pushed back, said Perrin Damon, communication manager for the Department of Corrections. There's no timeline to resume construction on the projects already under way, Damon said.

Local residents and government officials have opposed the White City prison, which would be built about five miles northeast of Medford between Foothill and Kershaw roads.

Former Gov. John Kitzhaber in 1997 selected the site, at Stimpson Gulch, for both a minimum- and medium-security prison. The decision was criticized, in part, because construction would harm wetlands and prohibit expansion of the county's nearby sports park.

There has been no estimate on the prison's construction cost, and it's uncertain when the state would build an additional medium-security facility. Minimum- and medium-security prisons also have been proposed for Madras and Junction City.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to . We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.