Sheriff Mike Reese removed two full-time security deputies from the East County Courthouse in Gresham, leaving the doors unmonitored by law enforcement.
The court responded by reducing its hours to just two days a week and limiting the types of cases that may be heard at the easternmost center of justice in Multnomah County.
"When we've been through season after season of budget cuts, you get to a position where there just aren't great options," says Chief Deputy Chad Gaidos, who heads corrections services at the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.
MCSO cut its budget by just over $1 million, eliminating 8.5 full-time positions. Cutting the two deputies stationed at the East County Courthouse saved the agency $212,572.
The facilities security offices provide security screenings near the front door of the courthouse.
Starting July 22, the East County Courthouse will no longer have officers at the doors and will be open only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The courthouse will serve only people charged with violations and misdemeanors allegedly committed east of 122nd Avenue.
"Other services and court matters previously handled at the East County Courthouse will need to be addressed downtown instead," trial court administrator Barbara Marcille tells WW. Before the reduction in services, the courthouse handled some civil jury trials and people could seek restraining orders and address family law matters.
The reduction in services in east county come as Multnomah County is building a new, $324.5 million courthouse downtown.
"Multnomah County faced a budget shortfall that required difficult cuts," says Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. "The budget fully funds Facility Security Officers at the level required by state law. The Courts and the State of Oregon, which funds the court system, can provide security above and beyond that level."