COLUMBIA COUNTY, Oregon – October 1, 2021 – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and in Columbia County, the Community Corrections Department currently supervises over 50 clients in all parts of the county who were placed on community supervision for domestic violence offenses. The Court sentenced these persons and, as a result, they were ordered to follow various conditions of supervision, including completion of a batterer’s intervention program and victim restitution. These clients also, like many folks subject to community supervision conditions, receive home visits from Parole and Probation Officers.
The Parole and Probation Officer currently assigned to this specialized caseload, Megan Bubar, has been a member of the Community Corrections Department since January 22, 2018, and has overseen its domestic violence caseload since July 2019. She is a member of the Family Violence Supervision Network (FVSN); a group made up of Parole and Probation Officers from around the state, who meet to discuss the unique issues related to effectively supervising this caseload. Officer Bubar participates in a domestic violence week event, hosted by FVSN, which provides multiple hours of domestic violence-related training. Along with standard parole and probation training, she has specialized training in the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA). Community Corrections Departments utilize this risk assessment tool to assist in determining a batterer’s risk of committing another violent offense toward an intimate partner. She also conducts regular home visits to verify that her charges are in compliance.
Officer Bubar works diligently to ensure these clients comply with their supervision conditions and holds abusers accountable with swift sanctions in the event they are found in non-compliance. When necessary, sanctions can include probation revocation and/or re-incarceration. She also works with the survivors of the clients she supervises and attempts to prevent future victims. Officer Bubar utilizes her training, experience, and local and state resources in helping make the Community Corrections Department in Columbia County an effective part of the solution to freedom from domestic violence.
Are you a victim or survivor of domestic or sexual violence? It can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse. Abuse can include threatening, putting someone down, or making them afraid, even if there is no physical violence. If you're in an abusive relationship, the following resources can help:
In an emergency, call 911, your local emergency number, or the County Sherriff's office. Remember, no one deserves to be abused.
(Columbia County, Oregon) - The week of July 18th is recognized as Probation, Parole, and Pretrial Supervision Week across the United States. This week observes the challenging, and often times unnoticed, work that the experts in community supervision do to promote a safe and healthy Columbia County. Their successes come about through strong collaborations with community partners, colleagues, and clients under the jurisdiction of the Community Justice Department.
The Community Justice staff provides community protection through research-based supervision methods, programming, and services, including interventions geared toward individuals making lasting, positive changes in their lives and the lives of their families. These public servants are dedicated to providing every one of their clients opportunities to succeed, removing or reducing barriers; all the while holding them accountable, providing an alternative to incarceration, and making our communities a safer place to live, work, and play.
Juvenile Probation Officers, Parole and Probation Officers, and Pretrial Services Specialists are trained and educated professionals whose hard work and dedication contribute to public safety, community wellness, and support for crime survivors. Each of them has the knowledge and desire to provide meaningful supervision of their clients in order to protect the communities of Columbia County.
The Community Justice Department supervises adults placed on probation and parole, adults granted pretrial supervision in our community, and all youth referred for delinquent behavior. The adult division of the Community Justice Department supervises persons released from jail and prison. The juvenile division not only supervises probation cases, but also provides case management and supportive services to youth and their families with the goal of keeping children out of custody, hopeful, and healthy.The Columbia County Community Justice Department team members administer their services with rehabilitation in mind. Community Justice Department staff stay abreast of the latest community corrections related research, and use what they learn to implement long-term, efficient, and smart approaches to public safety. They know what services are available in our county and take a balanced and educated approach in helping offenders to re-enter our community successfully.
(Columbia County, Oregon) – Columbia County’s cemeteries are seeing new life thanks to the recent efforts of the Columbia County Corrections Work Crew, and according to those involved, it’s having a big impact on the offenders now tending to the grounds.
According to Community Service Coordinator David Brooke, about five months ago, the Rainier Cemetery District was scrambling to find new ways to keep the grass cut. Their usual landscaper, responsible for maintaining 13 cemeteries and the more than 13,000 gravestones they contain across Columbia County, was retiring soon.
“That’s when we stepped in,” Brooke said, explaining someone from the cemetery district’s board reached out after seeing the work crew in action at one of the many parks they help maintain. “They were in some rough shape.”
Work Crew Supervisor Jeremy Kaufman, now with the crew for two years, said many of the gravestones were overgrown. Debris and garbage littered the cemeteries’ landscape, along with downed tree limbs from high winds and invasive blackberry bushes reclaiming portions of the properties.
The Work Crew initially pitched in for free as a part of the nonprofit work they’re able to do outside of their usual contracts maintaining parks and trails for the City of St. Helens, the Port of Columbia County and other agencies. But, Brooke said, they weren’t able to give the district enough time for the work that was truly required to bring the cemeteries back into shape.
Kaufman found out about their landscaper retiring and stepped up to ask if this was something they could take off the district’s hands until they found a replacement. Brooke said he thought their crew had impressed the district, and so their newly contracted work began in April.
“We started at the top of Rainier Hill and just slowly worked our way through the rest of the cemeteries of Columbia County,” Kaufman said on Friday afternoon, May 28, on location with the crew at Neer City Cemetery. “Just cleaning them up and respecting the dead.”
Beyond the benefit to the cemeteries, Brooke and Kaufman both agree the work has had a discernible impact on the offenders themselves. These offenders are not in custody and come to the Work Crew through several different streams. Some are paying off court fines, while others have been assigned a certain number of hours by the courts for crimes they’ve committed within Columbia County, perhaps through parole or probation.
Normally, their work sees them maintaining parks and Kaufman said they typically want to come in and get the day over with - it’s menial work to them. But the work at the cemeteries is a bit more consuming because they are more often working with the equipment that requires headphones to protect their hearing.
“So, you can’t hear or see much, and they’re reading the headstones,” Kaufman said. “They’re noticing families, they’re noticing a lot of these are overgrown and no one is taking care of them - someone the other day mentioned seeing a headstone of someone that was three years old and they asked to take a minute and step aside. There’s a lot of recognition of, ‘Oh, we did a good job today. We’re bettering our community.’”
Ross Clark, who came to the work crew by way of probation to pay off supervision fees, said he found the work unexpected.
“We usually clean up overgrown areas like at the Scappoose Airport or McCormick Park. This is really different. It’s kind of sad. Their names are overgrown. If I had a relative here I wouldn’t even be able to find their gravestone the way it is now. Someone will appreciate this. If I were buried here, I’d appreciate not being buried and forgotten,” Clark said.
Kaufman said he regularly sees the work crew take extra time to clean moss and other growth away from the gravestones, and none of their work requires the usual motivation the parks do. Brooke said it’s something they can take pride in while building life skills to prepare them for moving on in life.
“These are all people who have gotten into some kind of trouble in Columbia County,” Kaufman said. “And when you’re at a hard point in your life, it’s easy to get off track. Things happen quick in life, and this is kind of a reminder of that.”
For more information on the Rainier Cemetery District, visit: https://www.rainiercemeterydistrict.com/
For more information on Columbia County’s Community Justice Programs for Adults, visit: https://www.columbiacountyor.gov/departments/CommunityJustice/community-justice-programs-for-adults