Things have been going from bad to worse for efforts to keep law enforcement levels at some sort of standard in the Siletz area, home to roughly 1,200 citizens. For a few years, the Siletz Tribe, owner of Chinook Winds Hotel Casino, have provided funds to the city of Toledo to provide those services by having Toledo Police patrol the community and provide first responder services in the event of an emergency. OSP and Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies also provide services but they are spread over a much wider geographic area and usually wind up providing “back up” for Toledo PD in cases where they need it.
However, the Siletz Tribe continues to point to reduced income from their hotel-casino in Lincoln City, due to the prolonged recession. And for that the tribe says they can no longer afford to shoulder the entire burden alone.
The tribe turned to the Siletz City Council, which had run a community survey on the issue, for help. But the council earlier this month turned down a special levy ballot issue that, if passed, might have filled the gap. The council said the survey showed no appetite for higher taxes since the town has costly sewer system upgrades looming on the horizon.
The tribe’s position is that its contract with Toledo PD will end in mid-March. The tribe held out an olive branch in a news release this morning that suggested it would be willing to contribute toward police services but only if Siletz property owners or some other entity helps to fill the funding gap.
A tight budgeted Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office must cover a very wide geographical area which has been made more difficult with weakened funding levels due to the recession. In response, the cities of Depoe Bay and Waldport contract with the sheriff’s office for enhanced patrols, the funds going toward adding deputies to the roster and all the equipment, including patrol cars, that go with it.