Josephine County's longstanding issues with public safety funding emerge unchanged from yet another election cycle.
County voters rejected the latest version of a property tax levy that would have provided funding for sheriff's deputies, jail beds, and prosecutors. Measure 17-74, like every public safety levy before it, went down to defeat. In the first rounds of returns, the No votes led the Yes votes, 61 to 39 percent.
Josephine County is one of many Western Oregon counties that depended heavily on timber receipts from federal land to fill its general fund. With little logging, the revenues crashed, and the county's property tax rate is too low to make up the difference. Sheriff's patrols have been reduced to a few hours a day, with Oregon State Police picking up some of the criminal justice slack. The levy loss ensures a continuation of that arrangement.