Bill in Salem could help save cash-strapped OSF

ASHLAND, Ore. —NBC5 News has told you all week about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival launching an emergency fundraising campaign to save its 2023 season. But a bill in the Oregon legislature this year could give OSF, and other similar organizations, a boost.

OSF’s goal, is to raise $2.5 million to prevent the season’s closure and more layoffs.

Oregon House Bill 2459 would appropriate state funds to the Oregon Business development department. It would then give grants out to cultural organizations in the state that have been hurt financially by Covid.

Ashland State Senator Jeff Golden says the total funding is $50 million with one of the largest funding numbers on that list for OSF at $5.1 million. He says the bill is in the Ways And Means Committee if it passes there, it would go to the floors of both the House and Senate for a vote.  Golden says to get state support, the embattled organization would have to show a robust fundraising campaign and create a strategic plan for supporting its operations moving forward.

“I don’t see a big bailout from Salem on this unless a plan is developed a really credible sustainable plan so that legislators can feel that if we make this investment that they are on the road back to stability and prosperity,” said Golden.

Senator Golden says not having OSF in Ashland would leave a hole in the community. But for now, he says it’s about working to get OSF back on its feet again.

Other local organizations that could benefit, include Britt the Craterian, Ashland Armory, Ross Ragland Theater, and more.

Golden says it could be around May that we get an answer on if the bill passes.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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