A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Benton vote: Keep wasting time

Written November 3rd, 2015 by Hasso Hering
The little Benton County jail won't be replaced, voters decided.

The little Benton County jail won’t be replaced, voters decided.

It’s disappointing that Benton County will have to continue wasting deputy sheriffs’ time driving inmates back and forth to jail in McMinnville and Newport now that a bond measure for an adequate local jail has been defeated.

The result of the bond election — abour 52 percent against  and 48 percent in favor, according to unofficial returns — leave me wondering what else the county commissioners and Sheriff Scott Jackson could have done to produce a different outcome.

The time seemed perfect for this issue finally to get solved. The need is obvious, considering how often the little 40-bed jail is unable to accept new inmates for lack of space. Interest rates are low, keeping the cost of bonds relatively modest to local authorities and taxpayers.

The argument that Benton County is a safe place, so who needs a bigger jail, answers itself. It is safe at least in part because the county rents jail beds for sentenced offenders elsewhere and is forced to waste uncounted hours on prisoner transport. But that, apparently, is what slightly more than half of voters in this bond election want.

Considering the effort that went into this campaign and the outcome, it’s likely to be years before there’s another attempt. In light of what the electorate wants, the county ought to stop renting jail beds so that when offenders are sentenced to jail time by the courts, the sheriff will just have to turn them loose on the streets of Corvallis instead. After a couple of years of that, we should see how safe Benton County remains. (hh)

9 responses to “Benton vote: Keep wasting time”

  1. Rhea Graham says:

    Well, being proactive as Corvallis is, they will soon have a tidy sum of money from the tax on Recreational Cannabis. Some people think it is “an insignificant amount of money that can only be spent …” but those people are very wrong.
    They’ll be able to build a Prison Palace and pay for it – just wait!

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Benton County ought to stop jailing offenders as payback for this defeat?

    You have succumbed to bitterness. You’re better than that.

  3. Ray Kopczynski says:

    From this morning’s DH Editorial:

    “But Konopa, among others, has argued that voters were sold a bill of goods by marijuana proponents — in particular, that the sales of recreational marijuana would become a financial windfall for local governments. ”

    It is very disingenuous to think the voters did not know what they were voting for in M91. So rather than abide the will of the people, we blow that off.

    “…the city’s action Monday night means it will be ineligible to receive any tax money at all from sales of recreational marijuana, but the fact is that relatively little money is at stake, at least in the short run.”

    True in the short run. But as both WA & CO have definitely proven beyond any shadow of a doubt, the incoming tax revenues increase dramatically year after year — and are predicted to do exactly the same in the State of Oregon. But “we” know better and want no part of that revenue as it comes in??? Albany & Linn Co. are now happy to allow watching other communities gain that revenue while we hold our heads high in a “holier than though” smugness…even after Albany voted in favor of it. It boggles the mind with the continuing hypocrisy…


    (And as the Denver Post reports, the sales of marijuana has passed the $100,000,000/month mark…)

    “In particular, voters will be able to watch Corvallis, where dispensaries have received the green light to sell recreational marijuana. One of the appeals of the compromise promoted by Councilor Ray Kopczynski is that it would have allowed city voters to see how early pot sales played out in Albany. Not having that information available seems like a lost opportunity.”

    No kidding!! But this game is not over yet. (And the continuing and overwhelming amount of negative news concerning problems of the early rec. sales by dispensaries keeps speaking volumes of the none-to-be-seen problems the sky is falling because of it…)

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Politics is a profession where the only skill you need to have is the ability to deceive people.

      Benton County politicians should hone this skill by paying more attention to Albany politicians.

      • Bob Woods says:

        “Politics is a profession where the only skill you need to have is the ability to deceive people.”

        Pretty cynical of you Gordon. But I must admit it describes you to a “T”.

        • James Carrick says:

          Another smug personal attack by the master of baloney.

          Bob only highlights his “sheeplike” attitude that government will/can do no wrong. I’ll take cynicism any day, all day.

          • Bob Woods says:

            So when are you going to post that proof about the Council illegally and deliberately funneling money to folks. You made that charge many times there Gordon. You have to be very cynical, untrustworthy, and DECEPTIVE to accuse folks of felonies without ever putting up any proof.

            Of course, you could always publically apologize for all those nasty comments.

          • Gordon L. Shadle says:

            Woods, what are you talking about? Show me a quote where I accused anyone on the council of committing a “felony.” If you can’t, are you prepared to call yourself a liar?

    • James Carrick says:

      Keep up the good fight, Ray. This is one issue I’m with you on and agree with all your points. Konopa fancies herself a “futures” expert when it comes to pot sales?

      I guess the voters of Albany will have to decide this.


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