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Preliminary vote tally shows Lane County Jail levy will pass

The Lane County Elections Office says they've seen a low voter turnout for the May 2017 special election. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – The polls are closed for the May special election and county offices are adding the votes.

A hot item on the Lane County ballot was the jail levy extension.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, 72 percent had voted in favor of the measure to extend the levy, while 28 percent voted against it.

Passing the measure allows Lane County to maintain a minimum of 255 local jail beds for the next five years.

The levy that passed several years ago to help fund the jail was set to expire in 2018.

The measure will help allow Lane County to maintain a minimum of 255 local jail beds. It will also provide eight beds for detention of youth offenders and eight beds for treatment of youth offenders.

Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp said he’s grateful for the community support. He said the funding will help create stability in current deputy positions at the jail. It will also support the investment already made in those who are in training.

“That’s a lot of time and resources that we've invested with academy training and out of the community in Salem, and other resources and time put in there instructing them,” Trapp said. “So, that allows us to reassure them to have some job stability here locally and stabilize our hiring efforts.”

Trapp said 46 deputy positions were added when the levy was initially passed four years ago. He said the sheriff’s department is still trying to fill about a dozen positions.

The current levy has been set at 38 cents per $1,000 of assessed home values in the county.

Trapp said this rate was not sustainable in the long run and is the reason why the renewed levy was set at the 55 cent rate.

He said it will be reviewed again on an annual basis and could be lowered again in the future.

Nearly 62,000 ballots were turned in from Lane County voters. That’s a little over 25 percent of registered voters in the county.

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