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Springfield Seeks Renewal Of Public Safety Levy

City of Springfield

Springfield voters are considering whether to renew a public safety levy in the November 7th special election. The levy was originally approved by voters in 2006 and it funds the city’s jail.

Measure 20-273 funds jail staff and operations as well as police officers and other public safety staff. Springfield Police Chief Richard Lewis says the jail, which opened in 2010 and houses misdemeanor offenders, has been a game-changer for the city.

Credit Rachael McDonald
Springfield Police Chief Richard Lewis in the KLCC studios.

“The jail aspect of it has just had an incredible impact on crime in Springfield, the reduction in crime.” Lewis says, “30 percent for property crimes. I’ve never seen anything in my 34 years that has such an impact on holding people accountable.”
Lewis says there’s also been an improvement to the failure to appear rate. It’s dropped from 61 to 27 percent of offenders not showing up at their court dates. The jail now houses women as well as men. It has 98 beds.
The levy adds $1.40 per $1,000 assessed value for Springfield property taxes.
There is no organized opposition to the measure.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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