Animal shelter must move before new facilities ready

Animal Shelter Director Laura Braxling works to paint the new modular building. She must find a place for everything that will be removed from the Lincoln County Commons in advance of the Newport Farmers Market moving to the exhibit hall for winter. (Photo by Cheri Brubaker)

NEWPORT — “The job that’s been hard for a really long time has just gotten exponentially harder,” said Lincoln County Animal Shelter Director Laura Braxling as “everything that was in the shelter” must be moved from the fairgrounds, including animals, in advance of the Newport Farmers Market moving inside for the winter.

The building at 510 NE Harney St. in Newport was torn down when harmful mold was discovered. The shelter has been occupying space in the fairgrounds and also operating out of a mobile trailer in the parking lot since July. Temporary buildings were delivered earlier this month, but they are not yet usable.

Access to the area is just one problem, said Braxling. “I had to stop two teenagers from sword fighting with rebar on top of a shipping crate,” she said.

A jail inmate work crew and forklifts are arriving Nov. 8 and putting everything over there, Braxling said, pointing to a spot next to the dog kennels outside.

Braxton was painting interior walls of the new building on Thursday afternoon herself. “The painter was supposed tore here on Monday,” she said.

 “We have cats who are sick … very contagious. We don’t have a place to put them,” she said, paint brush in hand.

Yesterday Braxling drove to Sherwood, two hours away, taking 15 cats and kittens to Cat Adoption Team.

“We have heat, but no water,” in the two new kennels which are not yet safe for animals, Braxling said.

Braxling and her staff of four are doing the best they can covering 10-hour days, seven days a week while dealing with the latest logistic crisis. One staff member is out on medical leave since August with the same mold from the building growing in her lungs, said Braxling.

“We have a great core crew of volunteers,” but it’s difficult to manage volunteers, to keep everyone safe as the work on the new buildings is completed,” she said. “Were doing our best to get everything in place.”

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