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Archiver > OREGON > 2007-04 > 1176304613


From: Sally <>
Subject: [OREGON] Jackson County libraries shut down
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 08:16:53 -0700


The same can be said for Josephine county libraries ,in July
Josephine county libraries will shut down for lack of funding. If i
need to go to the library after July ,I will be forced to go the
Douglas county. Its a shame that a stable funding base cannot be found.
Sally in southern oregon

Dick Eastman wrote on EOGN blog:

All 15 Jackson County (Oregon) Library branches closed down on Saturday,
April 7, due to a lack of funding. This is exactly the opposite of the
trend in the U.S.: most communities are investing to improve and expand
libraries. The 15 libraries serving this rural area of Oregon lost $7
million in federal funding this year, nearly 80 percent of the system's
budget. Library experts are calling the action the largest library
shutdown ever in the United States.

Last fall, Congress failed to reauthorize a $400 million annual subsidy
to 41 states to help rural counties prop up their local economies.
Oregon took the biggest hit -- $150 million. Jackson County lost $23
million and had to slash everywhere, from reducing jail beds to cutting
search and rescue teams.

That meant some hard choices, said Jackson County Administrator Danny
Jordan. He says that Congress broke a promise when it cut off the funds
-- the money was supposed to be in exchange for land taken away from
Oregon by President Theodore Roosevelt.

In the early 1900s, Roosevelt took 2.4 million acres away from the
Oregon-California Railroad, which was accused of swindling land deals in
exchange for building the railroad. When the federal government
reclaimed the land, Oregon lost half its property tax base.

To make up for it, the federal government agreed to split timber
revenues on the acreage with Oregon. Over the next 50 years it was a
lucrative arrangement, and timber money was used to build courthouses
and jails, pave roads, and free Oregonians from having to pay sales taxes.

The good times petered out in the early 1990s, when the northern spotted
owl was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
This turn of events all but shut down large-scale logging. Today, just
one large sawmill remains in Jackson County, compared with 91 in 1954.

While promising to come up with rules for a more ecologically friendly
logging method, Congress agreed in 2000 to continue "safety net"
payments to rural counties for six more years. But the checks stopped in
December 2006.

In November, Jackson County residents voted down a property tax levy
that would have generated $9 million a year to keep the libraries open.
It was the third time since 1984 that voters were asked to bolster the
library budget, but this was the first time they said no.

"Back in November, the feds had not cut us off yet, and the possibility
they'd continue to fund us was still there, so people didn't think the
libraries were really going to close," said Margaret Jakubcin, a
regional manager for the Jackson County Libraries.

You can read more about this sad story at http://www.jcls.org/infoblog.

My thanks to Kathryn Bassett for telling me about this story.







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