When the next Oregon Legislature meets, it’s likely to slash state support for an array of services, among them mental health, medical services for the poor, and in-home assistance for seniors. And the cuts will be deep. There will also be deep cuts in juvenile corrections as well as parole and probation for Lincoln County’s 600 paroled felons who must have supervision as part of the deal to let them out of prison.
These and other sorrowful predictions were given by the Lincoln County Commission Wednesday evening during their annual joint meeting with the Toledo City Council. Commission Chairman Bill Hall also predicted deep cuts in state support for the Lincoln County Jail. Cuts to Health and Human services programs that help needy and troubled families. He predicted the possible loss of a number of federally subsidized programs due to the lack of state matching grants that by law must team-up with federal dollars. So when the state cuts a dollar, Lincoln County will lose up to $9 on vital health and welfare programs. And with the predicted demise of Oregon’s Project Independence, the state will be throwing away a program that saved a dollar for every five cents spent on keeping frail seniors in their own homes.
He said there will also be terrible damage done to efforts at keeping needy children in school. Hall and his fellow commissioners said it will leave many students without any medical care because the county’s two walk-in clinics may be shuttered as well.
Hall also predicted possible substantial layoffs of Oregon State Police troopers who Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies rely on for “back up” when responding solo to dangerous or potentially dangerous situations.
Hall said the state must close a $3.2 billion dollar gap between revenues and expenditures for the next two year budget. Hall predicted more bad news at the end of the week when the next official state revenue forecast is given in Salem.
Moving onto other topics, the commissioners informed the Toledo City Council that the county is ready to hand over a number of county-owned roads that lie inside the city limits of Toledo. The county has owned the roads for decades based on the assumption that the county was in a better financial position to maintain them. But now that the county is being hammered financially, it’s best that Toledo take them over. The roads include Butler Bridge Road, Arcadia Drive, Burgess, Olson, Rum Bottom and others. The oldest street was built in 1924, the most recent in 1967.
An additional change on the horizon is the sharing of county employees with local cities like Toledo. Toledo desperately needs a code enforcement officer to handle complaints on everything from weed control to unsafe living conditions. It was agreed that Toledo and the county should explore ways to share staff in this and other capacities to get the public’s work done in the difficult times ahead.
On another issue, Toledo City Councilor Mark Camara asked the county commissioners to help Toledo convince ODOT that something must be done to make the intersection of Highways 20 and 229 safer. Referring to this week’s fatal crash between a log truck trailer and a pickup, Camara said the intersection has gotten a lot busier over the last five years and it’s getting worse. Camara suggested that ODOT put rumble strips in the pavement to alert motorists that they’re approaching a challenging intersection and to stay alert. Commissioner Terry Thompson said he too has seen a marked increase in traffic flows and that it will only get worse with the completion of the Highway 20 improvements between Toledo and the valley. He said “They ought to really complete the project by doing something about that intersection.” Commissioner Don Lindly suggested that these and possibly other ideas be presented to a future meeting of the local transportation advisory committee which recommends road and highway fixes to the State Transportation Commission in Salem.Share on Facebook