In the May ballot initiative 17-59, if approved, would restore funding for the jail and juvenile justice center in Grants Pass (owned and operated by Josephine County) and free up funds currently used for the jail to be re-directed to providing sheriff’s deputies again in the county. Maintaining a fully functional criminal justice system is a priority for any community, but the details can prove complex and there are many aspects to consider. Much of the argument for or against the levy focuses on the jail and how much money would then be allocated to sheriff’s deputies, but often the juvenile justice piece is lost in the shuffle. That begs the question, is it worth allocating some of those funds raised by the levy for the youth justice in our county?
(Total levy would cost a household an additional $119 for every $100,000 value of their home)
First, what do the County and City currently have in place for troubled or at-risk youth?
Answer: Just about nothing since the County center was shut down 2 years ago.
So not only are there extremely limited options for dealing with dangerous youth who need detention, but there is nowhere to send abused children or other at-risk kids that need temporary shelter.
How much of a need is there?
The short answer: A lot.
Continue reading Is the Juvenile Justice Center Really Worth it?
By Frank Morin
Some reports floating around Oregon claim that our local justice worries are over. Apparently, since voters in our county have chosen not to fund the justice system, the state is going to fill in the gap and provide the services for us.
For example, an article from the Associated Press makes it sound like troopers are flooding in to make up the short-fall, and was quoted by several news outlets including The Register-Guard (See http://www.registerguard.com/rg/news/31273599-76/county-josephine-state-troopers-cases.html.csp)
and The Bulletin: http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/1871682-151/sheriffs-gap-in-josephine-county-currently-being-filled#
Although it is true that the state police have responded to many calls for assistance and have tried to shoulder as much of the overflow burden as possible, they cannot provide nearly the level of service required now that the Sheriff’s department is all but shut down.
Continue reading State Troopers are Not the Fix for Our Police Short-Fall
When the justice levy failed a couple years back and most of the county sheriff’s office shut down, I remember thinking, “At least no one will be around to give me speeding tickets.”
Apparently a lot of people agreed.
Maybe we should have thought that one through a little more.
It turns out drivers in Josephine County aren’t as great on real roads as we are in Mario Kart, and unfortunately in real cars we don’t re-spawn when we crash. The result is that our roads are twice as dangerous as those in other parts of Oregon. The following graph shows how poorly we stack up with motor vehicle fatalities in Josephine County compared to the Oregon state average and even the broader US average.*
Continue reading The Need for Speed
Ever wonder what happens to stray dogs and cats in this area?I never worried about it. Infact, I didn’t really see an issue. Turns out, the reason I didn’t see hundreds of loose animals running wild through the city and county is because the Josephine County Animal Shelter quietly works every day to make sure that doesn’t happen.
In fact, in 2013 the animal shelter took in over 1700 dogs and cats, plus some other weird cases like alpacas, goats, pigs, and rabbits. In fact, they received on average 147 dogs and cats every month. That’s36animals every week. Or 5 animals every single day!That’s a lot of animals. And amazingly, they found homes for over 700 of those animals. They do all that work with only 1.6 Full Time Equivalent workers, who also take care of the animals housed in the shelter until they can find homes for them.
How do they fund all that work? With difficulty.
Only 10% of their budget is funded from the county right now, while 40% is funded through charging of services and the remainder trickles in from other grant sources. With the overwhelming load they are faced with every single day, they are in desperate need of additional funding to allow for much-needed staff.
To support the efforts of the Animal Shelter, there is a proposed levy for the May ballot, asking for 8 cents per $1000 of assessed property tax value. For an average home of $150,000, that would cost the homeowner $12.00 per year, or one dollar a month. With those funds, they can continue serving the county and handling the constant demand of animals needing shelter,and providing families across the county with animals for adoption.
To me it makes a lot of sense.
FAQ Animal Shelter