Why Form a New Coastal County Now?

        When our forefathers started settling the Pacific Northwest, the need to provide public safety became paramount.   A major function of county governance is bringing law and order to the citizens.   The newly formed counties were originally carved out of large sections or regions of the Pacific Northwest, in some instances, spanning entire future states.   Over time, these mega counties were pared-down in size, making them more politically and logistically manageable.   Lane County is an example starting as an original mega county created in 1851, pared-down creating other counties until 1854, and then with minor boundary changes until its present form in 1923.   The last "new" Oregon county is Deschutes created by cutting Crook County in half and taking a bit of eastern Lane County.   For a more detailed Oregon County History click on: AOC_CountyHistory.pdf

        The underlying reasons for re-sizing counties are many; but generally, politics and economics played very important roles.   It has been many decades since the formation of a new county in the Pacific Northwest and specifically in Oregon.   The driving forces are still at work and it may be time to consider spinning-off another county from Lane County for the same underlying reasons of the past.   Present day Lane County has seen persistently changing representation and resource allocation favoring the Willamette Valley and specifically Eugene.   This has caused an increased cultural isolation between the coast and the valley further compounded by the major geographic features separating the two communities.

        Due to greatly diminished revenues, public safety delivery to the coastal region of Lane County is nearly absent, harkening back to a pre-county era.   The citizens from the coastal region are paying their fair share of taxes; but, they are not being provided their fair share of public safety coverage nor other country services.   There is an overwhelming and growing cultural divide separating the coastal and valley communities.   The Eugene-centric politics is resulting in resource allocation inequity and only gets worse with each passing year.

        Question:   Is now the time to consider the formation of a new county that will provide basic public safety and county services to our community using the estimated $20 million the coast currently provides to Lane County?   There is little doubt that the current distribution of public resources is not only inefficient, but grossly unfair and biased in favor of Eugene.   This renders our coastal community under-represented and less safe to live, work, and raise our families.   Is it time for us to consider our options and possibly take the necessary steps to form a new county, our county, to take control of our destiny?   Keep in mind those in Siuslaw County will not be paying any more nor new taxes not currently paid to support Lane County since subdivision includes not only the land mass but also its current revenue and assets.

        The only way to answer these questions is to explore what it will take to form a new county as well as the benefits we can expect to gain.   As is the case with any major decision, we need to proceed with the highest level of pragmatism and skepticism ensuring the best possible decisions and results.   Oregon Revised Statues 202 allows the formation of a new county by a majority of the registered voters signing a petition for and then voting in favor of the proposed new county.   It is important to provide solid unimpeachable facts supporting this formation.   The current effort started in 2005 by Keith Stanton with a quick-n-simple approach jumping straight to the petition and ballot measure on the assumption the voters were ready to go.   Not so, so the next effort will require involving those who are active in community, politically astute, and aware of the massive benefits this will bring all the residents of the coastal communities.

        Henry Thoreau: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to every one who is striking at the root."

        Chinese proverb: "He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life on one leg."

        Do you think we deserve better or can do better?   If the answer to either of these questions is yes, please consider supporting the idea of exploring options by making contact via:   Info@SiuslawCounty.Org

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