Historic Districts or Heritage Districts

Historic Districts or Heritage Districts

Posted in the Talent Forum

Bob Casebeer

United States

#1 Mar 9, 2007
After World War II, the voters of Jackson County authorized a tax levy to preserve the history of Southern Oregon. That funding created the Southern Oregon Historical Society as it exists today: the main society in Medford and Jacksonville, and the fourteen community societies and museums in the outlying areas of Jackson County. When Measure 5 was proposed and the subsequent Propositions 47 and 50 were passed by the voters of the State of Oregon, that action rolled all the various county levies into the general fund of Jackson County. As timber reciepts were falling and the county funds dimenished accordingly, the funds which the voters of Jackson county had allocated for historical preservation (both of buildings, artifacts, documents, photographs, etc.)became a very tempting source of revenue for the six members of the
county budget committee, the county administrator and eventually the three county commissioners.
So instead of following the mandated desire of
the voters of the 1940s all of the historical funds have been swept up to pay for county services. The Jackson County court ruled that the county had a legal ability to alter the distribution of these funds as a result of the wording of Measures 47 and 50. The result is that the second best reservoir of Oregon history is without its one-time source of tax revenue. Legal theft is what I call it because only six individuals: three appointed budget committee members and three county commissioners made this decision, thus twarting the will of the voters of Jackson county when the initial tax levy for historical preservation was made. This, in my opinion, is arbitary use of power and a travesty of democratic decency.

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