Politics & Government

Politics & Government

Rachael McDonald

The Benton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to put a measure on the November ballot to fund a new jail.  

The 25 million dollar bond would fund a new 110-bed jail to replace the existing facility in downtown Corvallis.
Rick Osborne is spokesman for Benton County.

Osborne: "Our current jail has 40 beds in it. We have a population of 85-thousand. That's the smallest jail per-capita in the state of Oregon. It was a temporary structure built in the mid 1970s to last about 10 years until we had a regional jail system."

Benton County Addresses Mental Health Issues In Jail

Aug 13, 2015

Benton County is working to implement mental health services for people who are incarcerated. The initiative also offers alternatives to jail time.

The Step Up initiative addresses mental health issues of people in jails and works with the courts, jail administrators and the families of inmates. Rick Osborn with Benton County says raising awareness is an important strategy to keep people out of jail.

Mjpresson Wikimedia

Monday night, the Roseburg City Council voted narrowly to allow the sale of recreational pot in medical marijuana dispensaries starting in October. Following passionate testimony and deliberations, the Council decided--5 to 3— not to ban recreational pot sales through the city's five medical marijuana dispensaries.

Steve Kaser has been a Roseburg city councilor for 6 years. He says the arguments went back and forth. One was that neither the city nor Douglas County supported Measure 91 to legalize marijuana statewide. So, the city should be allowed to choose its own fate now.

The West Coast earthquake early warning system is getting a $4 million dollar boost from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Beginning Monday Lane County will have a new District Attorney. It’s the first time the job will be held by a woman.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown appointed Patty Perlow as Lane County DA. The 52-year-old is filling the vacancy left by Alex Gardner. His new job is with the Oregon State Police as Director of the Forensic Services Division.

Perlow has been a prosecutor in the Lane County DA's Office since 1990, most recently serving as its Chief Deputy under Gardner.


Springfield’s City Council voted unanimously last week to add a fire renewal measure to the fall ballot. The property tax levy would give a five-year extension to one expiring in June.

City spokesman Neil Laudati says merging Eugene and Springfield’s fire departments has saved money by consolidating the Fire Chief and Fire Marshals office:

Laudati: “But when you talk about the renewal of the levy, it’s specific to Springfield, it’s specific to having five stations in Springfield. So this levy is for the cost of the operation of a fifth station in Springfield.”

City of Newport

The City of Newport is examining two urban renewal plans. One is located near U.S. Highway 20 and 101 near Agate Beach. The other is by the Port of Newport in the McClain Point area. Part of the plan includes providing resources to business owners and residences affected by any changes. Community Development Director Derrick Tokos says community feedback so far has been centered on the City's role in economic development.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today that could repeal efforts to label food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

A couple of states have passed laws requiring labels on food containing GMOs. In Oregon, Jackson and Josephine counties have GMO crop bans in place. A group in Lane County is collecting signatures for a ballot measure against GMOs. But these local efforts could be undone by a bill making its way through Congress. The legislation would prevent states from passing laws mandating labels on foods containing GMOs.

Funds Approved For Ex-offender Housing In Eugene

Jul 22, 2015
Rachael McDonald

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced state funding awards for 13 affordable housing developments. They will include a Eugene project for ex offenders looking to make a new start. 

Oaks at 14th will offer 54 units on oak patch rd in west Eugene.  The one bedroom apartments will provide permanent, affordable housing to ex offenders who have been successful in transitional housing facilities.  Steve Ochs is with the Lane County Housing Agency, which will oversee the development:

City of Eugene

Eugene is working on a plan for growth into the next two decades. The City Council Monday approved a "baseline" Urban Growth Boundary crafted by its Envision Eugene project.

Several years ago, Envision Eugene got started, mapping a course for the city's future into 2032 when its population is expected to grow by 34 thousand. Terri Harding is Principal Planner: