Contributions to the pro-Home Rule campaign have nearly doubled in the last three weeks, but the $7,464 in total pro-Home Rule contributions are just over 6 percent of the $115,750 collected so far by the anti-Home Rule campaign.

Both campaigns have reported to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office their contributions continue to grow as the Nov. 7 election nears.

In essence, Home Rule would replace three full-time commissioners with five part-time commissioners, remove commissioners’ salaries, and create a paid new county manager position.

Proponents of Home Rule suggest a shakeup of county government will encourage new ideas for rescuing shrinking county budgets and promoting job growth. Opponents say it will harm county commissioners’ advocacy for timber harvests on federal lands that could restore county budgets and create jobs.

The bulk of the pro-Home Rule donations are contributions under $100, too small for the names to be reported, while business interests have donated thousands apiece toward the effort to defeat Home Rule.

Dora Haymond of Roseburg donated $100 to the campaign for Home Rule. She was upset when the county closed its libraries this spring, and said she believes the current commissioners are too entrenched in timber interests.

“I think we need some new ideas in our county, something that will bring us some prosperity,” she said.

Some of the smaller donations on the anti-Home Rule side are about ten times the amount Haymond donated. Haymond said she’s not surprised.

“Even though they give a lot more money, I’m hoping this grassroots effort will take hold. Even if my little amount is small, it might give them just enough impetus to keep trying and keep going forward,” she said. She also said the differences in moneys raised might show people that “big money is behind the current regime, and maybe we do need a change.”

Home Rule’s biggest supporter, financially speaking, is Henry Huddleston, a disabled Vietnam veteran who lives in Roseburg.

Part of his motivation for contributing is a beef with local law enforcement. Huddleston alleges, among other things, that he’s been wrongfully arrested, mistreated in jail, and that his 9-1-1 calls for help have gone unanswered.

He doesn’t have anything good to say about the county commissioners either.

“They don’t give a damn about kids. They close the library and then they take our money and give it to their buddies for things they weren’t meant for,” he said, referring to a recent controversy over whether $490,000 in Title III Secure Rural Schools money was properly spent on the Roseburg company Communities for Healthy Forests, which used part of the money for a video promoting timber salvage on burned federal forest land. Commissioner Tim Freeman has said the county will hire an independent auditor to review the county’s Title III grants.

The Roseburg city government is working on a plan to reopen the Roseburg library, which was shut down by the county government the end of May, and most of the smaller branch libraries have reopened with volunteer staffing.

Huddleston said he hopes for change under a new county government.

“You get a new gang of people to find out whether they’re crooks or not. Hopefully, they’ll be diverse,” he said.

Other pro-Home Rule donations include $500 apiece from Roseburg CannaKing Marijuana shop manager Dennis Rogers, Idleyld Park solar energy contractor Al Walker, and former Douglas County Democratic Party leader Sara Byers.

The pro-Home Rule campaign is the only side with an out-of-state donation. It’s a modest $300 from the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, which mostly donates to Democratic candidates.

Glendale-based timber company Swanson Group donated $6,000 to the campaign against Home Rule. Owner Steve Swanson said the system isn’t broken, so there’s no reason to “fix” it. In particular, he believes it’s important for the commissioners to continue their fight for increased harvests on federal timberlands.

Swanson provides jobs for 850 people, including employees at its Springfield facility, and he estimates there’s a multiplier effect of three to one, meaning three jobs are indirectly created for every one job in the timber industry.

“Federal timber policy is critically important to county government, to industry and to the population in general, and I believe we need to have elected officials that are making at least an attempt at influencing federal timber policy,” Swanson said.

He doesn’t believe the part-time commissioners under Home Rule would be willing to invest the time and effort to continue that effort.

“I have a hard time believing that five basically unpaid county commissioners are going to have the desire to travel back and forth to Washington, D.C. to advocate for timber policy on behalf of the citizens of Douglas County,” he said.

One of the largest donors to the anti-Home Rule campaign is Roseburg Forest Products, which donated $10,000. Eric Geyer, manager of business development and external affairs for RFP, said it opposes Home Rule for the same reasons as those cited by the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber argued Home Rule would cost more, increase bureaucracy and hurt the economy, among other things.

“The current structure of government is doing a good job,” Geyer said.

Other timber and related companies which have contributed to the anti-Home Rule campaign include Douglas County Forest Products, Don Whitaker Logging and Hauling, Lone Rock Timber Management, Seneca Jones Timber Company, Murphy, Keller Logging, Gene Whitaker, PLIKAT Logging, and C&D Lumber. Their donations ranged in size from $1,000 to $7,500.

Other contributions include $1,000 from the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, $1,000 from Clinton Newell and $1,500 from Sutherlin Sanitary Services.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(13) comments

Momos

"Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution"
The Shirky Principle

The problem they are trying to preserve is not being able to clear cut publicly owned forests. Coal counties back east are in exactly the same situation. Neither industry will ever be what it once was, but they buy politicians who keep telling us only they can save us. Sadly, we believe them.

S

A few definitions:
Cor·po·ra·toc·ra·cy - noun; a society or system that is governed or controlled by corporations.

COMPANY TOWN: the employer develops a company town, where an individual company owned all the buildings and businesses and government.

PUPPET GOVERNMENT: Puppet governments are usually kept in power by special interests, oh, say like the Timber Industry. A Puppet state is a biased term. It is used to criticize the government of the alleged puppet state.

LET THEM EAT CAKE: A saying that shows insensitivity to or incomprehension of the realities of life for the unfortunate.

OLD BOYS' CLUB: an informal system by which money and power are retained by wealthy white men through incestuous business relationships.

Take a moment . . . and just compare the dollars.


Facts don't lie

Your definitions which insinuate a claim for how Douglas County is ran is an extremely poor argument for the Home Rule Committee to make. Even if Home Rule did pass Commissioners will still be elected and they will still have financial backers, who you claim run this county. So what would be the difference.

Furthermore based on your posts you are clearly very involved in the Charter and have a lot of inside information. Why don't you start by telling us who drafted it? Also I enjoyed the fact you didn't dispute your financial backers, but instead just tried to throw mud the other way talking about a displaced family and "pesticide violations."

S

Perhaps the Home Rule financial backers are more aware than you think. And, perhaps our Sheriff ought to be tending to his house rather than the Courthouse. https://aclu-or.org/en/news/cruel-conditions-douglas-county-jail

Mogie

But the people have a chance to research who is running and see if they will represent them or big business. Why do you want to know who drafted the charter? Is that so they can be targeted for harassment? Were you at the meeting held by the League of Women Voters? They had lawyers there to answer and explain. No side was taken just facts explained. Or is it easier to sit home and type on your computer then actually get involved?

InDWoods

Increasing federal land timber harvests is about the only way for the County to increase it's revenues to pay for the things that residents want: libraries, schools, services, etc.. It would also increase the economic prosperity of business in Douglas County which would mean more good paying jobs. The county commissioners are right to focus on this. I'll be voting against Home Rule unless I can be shown how it will fix the current problems with county revenues.

mysteron

If the current system has shown time and time again that it can't fix the problems, what gives you the confidence to vote for the status quo? We had a federal election on this very principle, and I would bet you voted against the status quo that time.

Facts don't lie

So some of the top Pro Home Rule financial backers include an anti-law enforcement activist, a marijuana shop and an Organization outside the State?

I think it's clear on how the county's residents should vote on this charter.

S

Yes, it's clear how the County's residents should vote. They should vote against special interests and a puppet government. Front page last night Faith Construction is a big time $10,000 donor against Home Rule and was fined for fair housing discrimination against a family with Children made the front page of this news paper. . . shall we proceed to the fines for many of the other entities for pesticide violations not to mention the misuse of federal funds.

Bounder86

Roseburg is still a conservative family friendly city. I do not want anti law enforcement, marijuana shop or outside state organizations trying to tell us how to run our government. Vote No on the charter.

Creeksend

Roseburg is NOT Douglas County. THAT is the entire focus of the Home Rule Charter. You think that the City of Roseburg should have the only voice. This county is deeply torn and divided by that attitude. It is further proof that this County needs change and vision. The lack of transparency and the back room deals have done this county no favors. The county is sick and requires a full cleanse. A purgative is in order. Bounder86 an and Indwoods, as well as Mr Truth have spent so much time forcing their interests down the throats of the people that it is time for the Corporatocracy to fall. Vote YES on Home Rule Charter. Give Reedsport a voice. Stop stealing from the rural areas. Stop lying about timber jobs. Your "family friendly city" is a lie. It is a city that makes sure that the children with vision leave, and traps those who have no resources into lives of hand to mouth existence.
I recently spent time in Bend/Redmond area. The kids who graduate there have options. Trades like construction, electrical, excavation, interior design, ,plumbing, and building inspector. Opportunities are everywhere! Bend is growing and bustling. Jobs and dreams seem to be growing there.
The county of Roseburg is rotten to the core. It is Stagnating and chasing old nightmares and You can hear the sucking parisitic and pustulent ugly extraction and exploitation of a once beautiful place.

bbgurrl

Perfectly shared @Creeksend, as a local youth, I couldn't agree more

Mogie

Roseburg is not a conservative family friendly city. It is a retirement community. I don't want the timber industry or their buddies to run our government. The current setup isn't working we need fresh blood and a fresh approach to this. Unless, like the poster above, you live in the past. ANY tax paying citizen has a right to be heard not just those that suck up to the timber industry.

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