Levy on November Ballot; Redistricting Gets C Rating; OCCO Concert Series; Money for  Restoration Projects

Levy on November Ballot

Voters living in the Siuslaw School District will see one item on the ballot for the November 7th special election.  The school district is seeking re-approval of a “local option tax levy”.  If approved, it would continue a levy of 75-cents per one-thousand-dollars of assessed value to support district operations for five years beginning in the 2024-2025 budget year.  Approval would not increase the tax burden on property owners, but it would continue a tax that has been collected for the past decade.  The cost to the owner of a “median assessed” home valued at $217-thousand dollars would be $162 a year.  The overall impact over the life of the levy would generate just over $8.5-million dollars.   The deadline to register to vote in this election is tomorrow, October 17th.  Ballots will be mailed beginning October 20th.

Redistricting Gets C Rating

Oregon has room to improve when it comes to drawing voting-district lines, according to a new report. The nonpartisan elections watchdog Common Cause gives the state a grade of ‘C minus’ for its redistricting process, which happens when states receive census data and use it to map the borders of legislative districts. Head of Common Cause Oregon Kate Titus says Oregon is a model of democracy’s best practices in many respects, and consistently has high voter participation.

“But when it comes to redistricting, Oregon has a process that’s controlled by the Legislature, and that’s inherently problematic, because legislators have a conflict of interest in drawing the lines of the districts that they’re going to run in.”

The report criticizes Oregon for inadequate public outreach and failing to incorporate public input, especially from Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs members over their concerns that the map split their reservation from the nearby city of Madras.

OCCO Concert Series

The Oregon Coast Chamber Orchestra announced their fall 2023 concert series, “Songs of the Sea”. The concerts will feature nautical-themed works and other compositions by Charles Perkins, Percy Grainger, Florence Price, Robin DeVour, and more. The orchestra will also premiere a new work, “The Oregon Coast”, by local musician and OCCO member Robbie Dee Smith. Concerts are free and open to all.  There will be two performances in Florence and one in Yachats.  Florence performances will be at the Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw on November 12th and 19th.

Money for  Restoration Projects

Siuslaw National Forest officials are soliciting project proposals to be funded under Title II of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Individuals, non-profit organizations, local governments, tribes, and other groups may propose projects that restore watersheds, decommission or maintain roads, control noxious weeds, or otherwise improve resource conditions on or near Forest Service lands. Approximately $1.2 million is available for distribution across Benton, Coos, Douglas, Lane, Lincoln, Polk, Tillamook, and Yamhill counties. Application forms, instructions, and submission guidelines can be found on the Siuslaw National Forest website. Questions may be emailed to SM.FS.siuslaw_RAC@usda.gov . Project proposals are due electronically by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17. Proposed projects need not be implemented on Forest Service lands but must show a benefit to national forest resources. Funding is county dependent; project proposals that span multiple counties should have a separate submission for each county. Each proposal should request a minimum of $5,000.