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Here is a timeline of the troubled Two Rivers Detention Facility:

May 18, 2004 - Hardin City Council creates Two Rivers Authority, a port authority that will serve as the city's economic-development arm.

2004 - Big Sky Economic Development Association hosts a presentation from out-of-state investors who want to build a detention center in the region. Local, state and federal officials attend, including Paul Green representing the city of Hardin.

State and federal officials say bed space is needed. Yellowstone County officials say the community would not support construction in Billings.

Department of Commerce Regional Director Al Jones works with Hardin officials throughout the year to develop plans for construction in the town's industrial park.

Aug. 3, 2004 - Hardin City Council endorses a plan for the detention center.

October 2004 - Then-Department of Corrections Director Bill Slaughter meets with Hardin officials and says the state and U.S. Marshal's Service need beds.

The first feasibility study conducted for Two River's Authority finds that local, state and federal agencies would support construction of a more-than-300-bed facility.

June 13, 2005 - At a meeting in Hardin, state corrections officials say Montana needs additional secure beds and also space for treatment programs. They also say placement in Hardin would be beneficial to a large corrections population of American Indians.

June 14, 2005 - At a similar meeting in Billings, U.S. Marshal Dwight MacKay says his agency needs an additional 80 to 90 beds.

Yellowstone County Sheriff Chuck Maxwell says the 287-bed county jail is housing 440 inmates and his office is considering expansion. The state is poised to release a request for proposals for more than 250 state beds and 120 beds for methamphetamine treatment.

The state requests for proposals are pushed back until 2006.

The Marshal's Service needs are later reduced when a private prison opens in Shelby.

November 2005 - Slaughter tells the Corrections Advisory Council that the state has 176 prisoners in county facilities awaiting placement in state prisons and that more than 4,000 felony warrants were not being served because of space constraints.

January 2006 - A second TRA feasibility study concludes local, state and federal demand would support construction of a more than 400-bed facility.

Dan Kern, Hardin's economic-development director, tells the Montana Board of Crime Control that the town was putting together an RFP for constructing a detention center and is told it was a great project.

February 2006 - Slaughter offers Kern technical assistance from the corrections department and says the state would have to review the facility before it could do business with TRA.

May 18, 2006 -Hardin City Council unanimously endorses TRA building the jail with revenue bonds, using no tax dollars.

June 2006 - Two Rivers Authority breaks ground on a 464-bed detention facility in Hardin.

April 7, 2006 - Department of Corrections Advisory Council meets in Billings and hears the male prison population in Deer Lodge is "above emergency capacity." Slaughter said moving prisoners out of state is a "viable option of public safety becomes jeopardized." Slaughter said, "The system is full, even parts of the system not under the jurisdiction of the department," according to meeting minutes.

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January 2007 - Hardin officials meet in Helena with state officials, including corrections director Mike Ferriter and state legislators. The state people say that they will not recognize the city's authority to operate a regional detention center nor Hardin's authority to house federal and out-of-state inmates and that Montana does not need beds for inmates.

2007 Legislative session - Hardin officials have Senate Bill 545 introduced to allow Two Rivers to operate as a regional correctional facility. It fails on third reading.

Aug. 3, 2007 - Hardin requests that then-Attorney General Mike McGrath issue a legal opinion on Two Rivers Detention Center's standing to hold inmates.

September 2007 - Construction is complete, and Two Rivers Detention Center is ready to open but has no contracts for inmates.

Dec. 3, 2007 -McGrath rules Hardin cannot hold out-of-state prisoners.

Dec. 13, 2007 - TRA and Hardin challenge McGrath's ruling in a lawsuit.

June 2008 - Helena District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock overturns McGrath's ruling, and TRA starts combing the country for contracts.

April 2009 - TRA officials announce they are looking into the process to hold alleged enemy combatants from Guantanamo Bay.

Contact Becky Shay at bshay@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231

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