© 2021 KLCC

KLCC
136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401
541-463-6000
klcc@klcc.org

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Oregon's Willamette Valley seen from Eugene
NPR for Oregonians
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Northwest News Network

State Finds Four Oregon Counties Still Merit Extra Scrutiny

File photo. Curry, Josephine and Douglas counties in southwest Oregon are all heavily dependent on federal timber revenue.
File photo. Curry, Josephine and Douglas counties in southwest Oregon are all heavily dependent on federal timber revenue.

Four county governments in Oregon are still struggling enough that the state should continue to monitor their financial condition. That's according to a state audit released Tuesday.

Three of the four counties have a lot in common: Curry, Josephine and Douglas Counties are all in southwest Oregon. They all have some of the lowest property taxes in the state. Their unemployment rate is higher than the state average. And they're all heavily dependent on federal timber revenue.

The audit from the Oregon Secretary of State's office notes that these counties all have limited options for raising local revenue and in some cases struggle to provide basic county services such as public safety.

The fourth county on the watch list is Polk County, which is just west of Salem. The audit notes the county's situation is improving since it’s less dependent on timber revenue. And voters there approved a property tax increase last year aimed at beefing up public safety services.

The number of counties on the watch list has decreased sharply since the last such state audit of county government's fiscal stability in 2014.

“Our review found that a recovering economy and some strategic cost-cutting measures by our local governments has decreased the number of counties on our watch list from nine to four,” Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins said in a statement. “This is encouraging news.”

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network