BEND, Ore. -

Months after voters rejected a levy to fund expansion of the Deschutes County Jail, Sheriff Larry Blanton said Thursday they are getting close to having to return to early release of inmates, a formula known as ?matrixing.?

?You heard me say during the (May) election that I would rent jail beds before I would matrix inmates,? Blanton told KBND Radio.

?Since that time, our pre-trial population has grown to such extremes that I may have to matrix before I rent jail beds, because the pre-trial (population) is growing,? the sheriff said.

Blanton says he?s budgeted about $290,000 to pay for renting jail beds in Jefferson County. But he said once they start that option, they need to continue it, as it wouldn?t be fair to Jefferson County to budget for the added burden, only to stop it from time to time.

Blanton said they are trying to be as conservative as possible, moving inmates around, so they don?t have to release them early or rent space out of the county.

?It?s a constant management issue every day here for us in the sheriff?s office,? the sheriff said, ?several times a day, in terms of moving the inmate population around.?

?It?s a continual concern, but we?ll do the best we can with what we have, and we?re happy to have it,? Blanton added.

Blanton said he also is concerned about Jefferson County?s Nov. 2 ballot measure, asking residents for a five-year jail operating levy, and the impact on potential rental of jail space if it?s defeated.