Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, March 6 2012 at 4:43 PM, Updated: Tue, March 6 2012 at 4:53 PM
Cash-strapped Oregon counties have gotten a 'green light' from state lawmakers to tap into county road dollars to fund police patrols...
Commissioner Al Switzer hopes that House Bill 4175 will buy Klamath County some time...
""it allows the funds to be taken from road reserves, to be used for patrol."
In turn, four million in patrol dollars will then be used to keep the number of Klamath County jail beds at current levels over the next two years. While Sheriff Tim Evinger welcomed the news, he also offered a cautionary note...
"What has to be remembered is, it has to be tempered with knowing that this is very temporary, and a long-term solution has to be found - or the problem is going to be worse in two years."
Public Safety Advisory Committee member Monte Keady notes that even a temporary solution has its perks...
"This will allow us to keep those deputies on the road, and not have to go through a re-training process and lose valuable time and money."
And, Klamath County voters won't be facing a jail levy on the May ballot.
Deputies are currently on patrol only ten hours a day in Klamath County. Sheriff Evinger notes that road funds will help to boost those numbers...
"We're hopeful that there will be at least twenty hours of patrol, possibly 24 hours of patrol by the time we see what this does."
Governor Kitzhaber has said that he does intend to sign the bill into law.
Klamath County has a road fund of about 100 million dollars... Public Works officials chose not to comment on the decision to tap into that fund.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.