Medford politician asks governor to reconsider Holly Theatre fund veto

Medford City Councilor Kevin Stine

Medford, Ore. – A local politician is asking Oregon Governor Kate Brown to reconsider her decision to veto portions of a bill providing funds to Medford projects.

Last session, the Oregon State Legislature passed House Bill 5006, which determines the amount of money authorized for financial agreements.

On August 8, Governor Brown said she will veto appropriations in the bill for the Holly Theatre, Harry and David Baseball Park and the Bradshaw Drop Irrigation Project.

The Holly Theatre was set to receive $1 million out of the state’s general fund along with $750,000 for Harry and David Field, and about $1.9 million for the Bradshaw drop irrigation canal project.

Local representative Sal Esquivel said the reason is clear. “It’s my understanding my three projects were the only ones that were taken out. So it’s obviously it’s a vindictive state on the part of the governor,” he told NBC5 News.

Esquivel said the governor’s vetoes are a power play fit for a political drama. He said he was asked to vote in favor of a medical provider tax to fund Oregon’s Medicaid program.

Medford City Councilor Kevin Stine personally wrote the following letter to the governor, asking her to reconsider her decision to veto funds for the Holly Theatre:

Governor Kate Brown,

I respect the work that you have been able to accomplish in your time as Governor of our great state. We have seen continued progressive legislation be enacted into law with the stroke of your pen, and for that I am grateful.

I understand that you and Rep. Sal Esquivel are at odds based on his actions towards HB 2391, the provider tax, a critical bill that closes the budget gap, and helps preserve health coverage for hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. I also understand your position in vetoing projects that Rep. Esquivel supported, but I ask that you reconsider using your pen to eliminate $1 million towards the Holly Theatre.

The Holly Theatre project, led by Randy McKay, is in the last stages before final construction. After completion of this project, the Holly Theatre will add $3 million to the local economy every year, and be a tourist attraction for an economically depressed area of our downtown. The loss of the State funding will delay the construction of the project, which has been supported by over 2,400 residents and $300,000 from the Medford Urban Renewal Agency. While I know your main intention is not to negatively affect Medford, your veto would do so.

Please think about the negative impact that your veto of the Holly Theatre funding would do to Medford, and instead, let us move forward to addressing the big issues that need to be resolved in the coming years, under your leadership.

Kevin Stine
MURA Board Chair
Medford City Councilor

In addition to the southern Oregon projects, Gov. Brown said she’ll veto a $2,050,587 transportation improvement project in Portland.

Gov. Brown’s office did not say where the money will be spent instead, but Brown was quoted as saying, “The cornerstone of all negotiations whether they occur in a public or private arena, is the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. I believe that each of these projects should be considered during the 2018 session to be evaluated on their merits.”

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