Portland prison inmates dish about dirty dinnerware

The prison moved to hand washing 2 years ago

Jail inmates (KOIN 6 News, file)
Jail inmates (KOIN 6 News, file photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Complaints about food are common in prison, but some inmates at the Columbia River Correctional Institution are more concerned with the dishes.

Inmates tell The Oregonian they’ve been eating off dirty trays and using grimy utensils since the minimum-security prison in Portland switched from a dishwashing machine to washing dishes by hand.

Michael Page says he was served beans and discovered cereal from breakfast stuck to the edge of the bowl. He now brings his own spoon and reuses a soda bottle for water to avoid using prison-issued dinnerware.

The Oregon Department of Corrections says the prison moved to hand washing 2 years ago because it requires less water and the machine was unreliable and expensive to maintain.

Spokeswoman Betty Bernt says the agency follows rules to ensure cleanliness and the most recent visit from a health inspector found no significant issues at the prison.