Counties Weigh Public Safety, School Board Members, and Other Issues

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, May 21 2013 at 6:25 PM, Updated: Tue, May 21 2013 at 7:06 PM

It's election day in our area and counties are voting on everything from school board members to funding public safety.

Ballots were being counted and last-minute voters headed to drop boxes Tuesday afternoon.

"Right now Jackson County is sitting around 16% return which is a very low turnout. Keep in mind, we do not have any money measures on, which of course spur voter turnout as well," said Chris Walker, the Jackson County Clerk.

She said it's typical for a special district election. However, other counties are seeing more ballots turned in this time around.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Curry County voter turnout was hovering around 50% and in Josephine County roughly 46% of the community voted.

Public safety tax measures in both Curry and Josephine Counties are getting put to a vote.

"The burglaries, the assualts, the property crimes, those are accelerating...We're down to 99 beds out of 262 beds," said Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson in a previous interview.

He said it could get a whole lot worse if the tax levy, which is $1.48 per $1000 of assessed property value, doesn't pass. Those 99 jail beds could dwindle to 60. In addition...

"I will have one deputy for the entire county," added Sheriff Gilbertson.

Meanwhile in Jackson County, school board member races have heated up as allegations of corruption fly in the Eagle Point School District. In Medford, where Superintendent Phil Long's contract was neither extended nor renewed...

"Whether next year is my last or there are more years beyond that I have no regrets. It's been good work," said Dr. Long in an interview from March of this year.

We're told new members on the school board could mean another opportunity to extend Dr. long's contract.

There are multiple official drop boxes around Jackson County. Of course there's one at the elections office on West Main in Medford.  Others are located outside the Ashland, Eagle Point and Central Point public libraries. In Rogue River the city office is the drop location. The deadline is Tuesday evening at 8 o'clock sharp.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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