In the community

Pioneer Place to again ask county for help as repair costs mount

VALE – Pioneer Place officials will ask for $1.1 million from the Malheur County Court on  Wednesday, Sept. 20, in an effort to shore up the long-term care facility’s financial future and keeps its doors open.

The county court session begins at 9 a.m. and is open to the public.

John Nalivka, Pioneer Place board member, said last week officials will ask for the funding to help cover the costs for a dozen items.

The items with the biggest price tag include $400,000 for a new roof, $300,000 to replace rooftop air conditioners and $100,000 to upgrade plumbing in the facility’s kitchen.

Another $100,000 will be used to replace shower rooms.

The Wednesday session isn’t the first time Pioneer Place officials sought financial help from the county.

“This will be the ninth time, I believe,” said Cory Crismon, Pioneer Place administrator.

Pioneer Place did receive a $150,000 grant from the county in 2022. That outlay covered two weeks of payroll for the facility.

Pioneer Place is a government entity funded through a local taxing district that has faced financial problems over the past four years. The Covid pandemic was especially hard on the facility as it stopped accepting patients because of state restrictions, slashing income.

“I hope they listen to our needs this time. We made a profit in July and August and hopefully they see we are turning things around,” said Crismon.

The $1.1 million will be directed exclusively to building and equipment upgrades.

The Pioneer Place board is also moving ahead on a plan to expand its taxing district by crafting a county ballot initiative to annex specific portions the county into its existing health district.

The Pioneer Place Health District covers 3,600 voters in nine voting precincts. The tax rate on the Pioneer Health District is 47.7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

The future of the facility was the topic of a town hall session Aug. 16 at the Vale Senior Center that attracted more than 200 people.

Crismon said the facility has enough in reserve to operate for six months and will receive money from a federal tax credit. The facility, he said, has also made spending cuts.

Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge, said on Monday, Sept. 18, that he was “neutral” on the issue of granting the facility money.

“Obviously they have to make a presentation before we make a decision,” he said.

The court recently decided to cover $1.3 million owed by the Malheur County Development Corp. for bank borrowing to pay vendors. The public company is developed the Treasure Valley Reload Center.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

Crowd packs Pioneer Place session, hears of ideas to save operation from closure

Still grappling with money woes, Pioneer Place officials will seek more funding from the county

Pioneer Place must submit new application to secure county Covid relief funds

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