Medford could vote on proposal for new county jail

MEDFORD, Ore. — “The crux of the issue is the jail and the lack of jail space,” said Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler.

It’s a project the sheriff and the county have been pursuing for months… a new, larger county jail.

“The jail is the weak link to our criminal justice system,” said Sheriff Sickler.

But the service district the county is looking to create and tax to support a new jail’s construction and operations require the approval of each of the county’s eleven incorporated cities.

Talent’s city councilors chose not to vote Wednesday night, however, five cities have already given their thumbs up for the proposal.

The hundred and sixty-six million dollar project is estimated to cost county residents 83 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. That means if your home is assessed at $200,000, you would pay $167 a year.

Sheriff Sickler says that estimate is based on all 11 cities signing off on the plan. If even one of the cities opposes it, the county would have to go back to the drawing board.

“We’re going to potentially have to re-configure what the district looks like, add a new rate, and maybe start the process over,” he said.

Medford city councilors voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

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