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Economic and dam related articles

Contract Security at Army Corps'
Dams Comes to an End

by John Trumbo
The News Tribune, January 2, 2010

Contract security at six Army Corps of Engineers-owned dams on the Columbia River system in Eastern Washington and Idaho ended Dec. 31 and left about two dozen people jobless.

The Corps opted against having private security companies provide armed and trained personnel once the contract with Doyon Security Group of Federal Way expired Dec. 31, said Brent Meisner, senior vice president for the company.

Doyon was hired by the federal government three months ago on an interim basis to complete the security contract with HWA of Seattle. That company lost the contract for failing to pay its employees for two months in late summer and fall, amounting to approximately $900,000 for nearly 200 security personnel.

But the absence of a hired security company does not mean the Corps' dams are unprotected, said Gina Baltrush, public information officer for the Corps' Walla Walla district.

"There still will be security at our dams, now and in the future," Baltrush said.

The dams that are losing the hired security forces are McNary Dam near Hermiston on the Columbia River; Ice Harbor Dam, Lower Granite Dam, Lower Monumental Dam, and Little Goose Dam on the Snake River in Washington; and Dworshak Dam on the Clearwater River in Idaho.

Baltrush said the change in how security will be handled for the dams is because of a risk assessment that was ordered.

She said that because of security concerns, the Corps is not revealing how on-site security for the dams will be handled in 2010.

"It could be in-house or otherwise, but it will be commensurate with the risk assessment," Baltrush said.

Baltrush also said she did not know as of Wednesday whether Lt. Col. Mike J. Farrell, district commander of the Corps' Walla Walla district, had received results of the risk assessment.

Meisner told the Herald he felt the Corps led him into providing contract security on an interim basis with assurance that Doyon would be allowed to bid on a new four-year contract.

"We lost money on this. I was not told the truth about our ability to carry on," Meisner said.

Meisner said Doyon is well-respected private security company that has government contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars all across the U.S.

Among its current contracts are a $152 million contract for a Department of Homeland Security immigration and customs detention center in El Paso, Texas, and a $144 million contract for a Department of Homeland Security immigration and customs detention center in Krome, Fla.

Doyon also provides security for the Alaska Pipeline, the Port of Alaska and the Army headquarters at Fort Richardson in Alaska.

"We were put to the curb for no obvious reason that we are aware of," Meisner said.

Meisner said he intends to remove what's left of Doyon's vehicle, firearms and equipment from the Corps' dams today.

Steve Miller of Kennewick, who had been with Doyon as a security guard at McNary, said his last day on the job was Wednesday.

"What a great new year we've had, huh? And now we're out of jobs," Miller said.

Related Pages:
Emergency Deal Puts Security Guards Back at Dams by John Trumbo, The News Tribune, 10/2/9
Wanted: Manned Security for Dams by John Trumbo, The News Tribune, 9/23/9
Two Dam Crossings Temporarily Close by Staff, Union Bulletin, 9/4/9

John Trumbo
Contract Security at Army Corps' Dams Comes to an End
The News Tribune, January 2, 2010

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