Josephine County safety levy passes for the first time in years


MEDFORD, Ore. - A safety levy that's been shut down by voters numerous times in the last several years has finally passed in Josephine County.

The 5-year tax to fund the jail and juvenile detention services passed last night with a 52 percent of voters saying yes.

News 10 broke the news to Teddy Shepard of Grants Pass this morning.

"I'm just so happy, I'm excited, I can't believe it happened, this is awesome," Shepard said.

It was a feeling shared by many.

"Well I've lived here for about 40 years and I am just thrilled. I think it was getting kind of scary knowing that there weren't any sheriff patrols that there weren't as many beds that would be available," Sue Orris of Merlin said.

Joel Morrow of Grants Pass says he hopes this will help with keeping the community safe and holding criminals accountable.

“Well I hope a lot of criminals won't just be this revolving door because they don't have room. You see people that have committed six or seven crimes and they just let them out let them out let them out," Morrow said.

The adult jail will have 55 new beds available.

And 14 juvenile beds will reopen after being closed for five years.

The commissioner’s office who endorsed this levy with the sheriff’s office was in high spirits too.

Commissioner Dan DeYoung believes this long awaited win came from having a good strategy.

"Good proposal from the Sheriff, it was under a dollar. Plus, it had that juvenile aspect in it which was important to the board," Commissioner DeYoung said.

He says the increase from 58 to 93 cents per $1,000 will lead to more support from the state.

"We're going to use this as leverage or matching fund if you will to get more money down here that we deserve," Commissioner DeYoung said.

Two other measures on the Josephine County ballot also passed.

Measure 17-79 to form and fund a library district was approved.

It will expand library hours, book collections, and add services for both adults and children.

The levy to collect 8 cents for every $1,000 for animal control and the Josephine County Animal Shelter was also renewed.

"The majority of the people in this community like the fact that there's more animal control officers that can investigate abuse and neglect," Josephine County Animal Shelter volunteer Tammy Moore said.

Moore says she's happy to see the community vote to approve all the measures on the ballot to keep improving the area.

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