State Lawmakers Looking To Help Struggling Timber Counties

, Posted: Fri, March 8 2013 at 5:35 PM, Updated: Fri, March 8 2013 at 6:05 PM

For more than 50 years Charles Seagraves has lived in Josephine County, a place that isn't like how it used to be.

"People are desperate. and will do things they wouldn't otherwise do," Seagraves explained.

After federal funding for timber programs were cut and the county failed to approve a public safety levy, the county has been on a downward spiral.

Several counties in Oregon have had to let inmates out of their jails because there's no room in the budget to keep them locked up.

Lawmakers in Salem are now attempting to step in and prepare for the worst.

A number of bills in the oregon legislature aim to lay the groundwork for financially distressed counties to declare a fiscal emergency and to allow the state to provide required services such as tax collection, and public safety.

Other bills would allow counties to merge or even declare bankruptcy.

Voters in Josephine County will have a chance to bring back portions of the counties public safety department in the May election.

If the levy fails, that's when the state will step in.

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