Malheur County’s courthouse to get new air system, thanks to pandemic relief money

Malheur County elected readers plan to use federal Covid relief money to upgrade the air system at the courthouse and several other buildings. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

VALE – Malheur County plans to use Covid relief money from the state for a new air ventilation project at the jail and the courthouse.

The county will spend $150,000 for ionization technology in the air vent systems at the courthouse, the jail and Malheur County Juvenile Department.

The state will reimburse the county for the cost of the project using federal Covid relief money.

The ionization technology utilizes special tubes that pull oxygen molecules from the air and transforms them into charged atoms. The charged atoms then collect around micro particles, deactivating harmful substances such as mold, bacteria and viruses.

Lorinda DuBois, Malheur County administrative officer, said in an email recently that she asked county maintenance supervisor Don Dalton whether the ionization technology would be “beneficial and feasible,” and Dalton said it was.

DuBois said county jail commander Lt. Rachel Reyna “heard another county was doing a similar project.”

Brian Wolfe, Malheur County sheriff, said the system will ensure each room in the jail has its own air circulation.

“Where that is advantageous is, say you have someone come in with Covid, everybody is breathing the same air so it is hard to isolate but now they will be able to,” said Wolfe.

Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge, said the project is “timely”

“We are hoping it will have some impact on air quality, obviously,” said Joyce.

Joyce said the plan had been “talked about for a long time.”

“Especially with Covid,” he said.

DuBois said the county plans to complete the project early next month.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-235-1003.


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