From the Siuslaw News
30 April 2005 Edition
Letters to the Editor (Opinion)

Time To Subdivide Lane County

        Lane County (LC) is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined; almost the size of Connecticut. Our West Lane District (WLD) of LC is 1,200 square miles! The County, formed in 1851, became what we have now by 1854 with under 5,000 non-native inhabitants. What worked prior to the Civil War is no longer serving the people of our coastal area.

        LC developed into three unique zones: WLD, Eugene/Springfield (E/S), and East Lane District. WLD is coastal; historically into fishing/timber; sparsely populated; now heavy into tourism, recreation, and retirement; and has an easy-going rural-driven lifestyle. E/S is landlocked; historically into farming/ranching; densely populated; now heavy into industry, government, and I-5 corridor jobs; and has a fast-paced urban-driven lifestyle. WLD and E/S are as different as night and day.

        With LC so large, it established satellite facilities in/near Florence. Exclusive of the city, we have our own court/sheriff station, major school system, 911 dispatch/disaster center, human services, state forestry, major fire/rescue/ambulance, public works offices/equipment, hospital, air and sea ports, etc. LC continues to shut these down to spend our taxbase on E/S concerns. Our Commissioner, Anna Morrison, left Florence last year and now lives in Junction City. It's no wonder E/S gets priority service having 4 of 5 Commissioners now voting in their favor. Florence was orphaned decades ago; worked (taxed) hard while abandoned to starve in the streets.

        Florence has the facilities, an existing taxbase (take it back from E/S), and the maturity to form its own people/property-oriented friendly County. Oregon Constitution Article 15 states any new county must be at least 400 square miles in size and with 1,200+ inhabitants. Oregon Revised Statutes 202, titled "Establishment of New Counties", defines the process. We need 51 percent of the registered voters in the proposed new County signing a petition to call for the vote. Then 51 percent of those voting from within the same area to vote "yes". Only those in the new County area get to vote; the rest of LC have no say.

        Those wishing to participate in the team spearheading the move for independence from LC should contact me by email at Stanton@SiuslawCounty.Org. My desire is to form a team representing all the private, business, and public sectors of our community. And we don't need any new taxes!

Keith Stanton, Florence Oregon