By Terri Harber
Work continues on Baker City's local animal training center.
The former Leo Brookshier building in the 3300 block of K Street will be used for training as well as provide office and operations space to New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals, said Dick Haines, president of the organization.
Some training sessions already are going on there.
New Hope also intends to use a nearby site for an animal shelter. Construction there is being planned and money being raised for the project, Haines said.
Last year, New Hope bought the Brookshier building and the future shelter location across the street.
An area veterinarian currently works by contract to treat and board found dogs.
The facility can hold a dog for just five days, after which time the dog could be put down. Clinic employees and others work hard to find places for the dogs so the procedure is avoided and no dogs are euthanized, Haines said.
A third nearby site owned by the Oregon Department of Corrections will be leased to the organization long term, for at least 15 years, he said.
Much of the preparation of the Brookshier site has been accomplished by inmates at the nearby Powder River Correctional Facility, a minimum-security prison.
The inmates have been "enthusiastically cleaning, painting and making other improvements" on the 3,700-square-foot building, Haines said.
"They maintain a good energy and they like the idea of giving back," he said.
Haines said donations from Leo Brookshier Trust and Best Friends of Baker Inc. made the two real estate acquisitions possible.
All three sites are across the street from the prison, near the intersection of K and 13th streets. The prison hosts the Powder Pals Program.
Inmates involved in Powder Pals learn how to train dogs that have been neglected, abused and otherwise difficult to place in homes. They receive tutelage and guidance from experienced dog trainers.
And the inmates involved obtain skills that help them succeed when they are released from prison, particularly job skills.
New Hope was instrumental in establishing the Powder Pals, which will expand outside the prison onto the new sites.
It also keeps the program going with volunteer assistance and donations.
New Hope will host a banquet and fundraising auction this fall. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Oct. 20.
Tickets are $25 each, and can be bought by calling 541-403-2710.
The organization also needs more volunteers. Training will be provided for a variety of tasks.
Call the same number or visit http://www.newhopeforanimals.org/ to apply online. Direct specific questions to members listed on the application Web page.
New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals was incorporated in 2010 as a charitablenonprofit organization to benefit animals.It's working on a strategic plan financed by the Brookshier Trust and Ford Foundation.
The training center doesn't accept found dogs from the public.