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Jefferson, Crook voters deciding on measures to improve schools, address safety concerns

Ballots counted Tuesday night

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Both Crook and Jefferson counties have bond measures on the ballot for Tuesday’s Election Day. 

Measure 16-98 would repair and create new school facilities in Jefferson County School District 509J.

District Superintendent Jay Mathisen said the average school building in the district is 54 years old, and if voters pass the $24 million bond, it would help maintain schools for generations to come.

“When things are 54 to 80-plus years old, we need to be wise stewards, which means we need to invest in their upkeep, in their enhancement and repair,” said Mathisen.

The bond would also bring some new facilities, such as a soccer facility at Madras High School and a new K-8 building in Warm Springs.

“It would be a free-standing wing, with six classrooms and other spaces,” Mathisen said.

Jefferson County's other ballot item, Measure 16-99, supported by Jefferson County Sheriff Marc Heckathorn, is a five-year levy for jail operations to continue at current levels.

The measure's maximum property tax rate is $1.69 per $1,000 of assessed value, up 30 cents from the current levy that expires in mid-2022. Officials say it's needed to meet rising jail operating costs.

In Crook County, voters are deciding on Measure 7-74, to build a new justice center and preserve the historic courthouse.

The $35 million bond measure would let the county match a contribution in state funds secured through the Legislature to help construct a justice center.

District Attorney Wade Whiting previously told NewsChannel 21 that more courtroom space is needed to accommodate rising criminal and civil caseloads.

The courthouse currently has just one courtroom, but with the construction of the new justice center, it would allow three courtrooms.

“Our district attorney is currently trying cases from 2019, which to me is not the way we want to be dispensing justice in Crook County," Judge Seth Crawford said. "We want it to be timely, we want to make sure people get through it quickly, but with only one true working courtroom, that just doesn’t work.”

Voters from both counties will have until 8 p.m. Tuesday night to turn in their ballots.  

You can find those and other Oregon election results Tuesday night at the state's website.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson County

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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.


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