Last year, I was a candidate for Douglas County Commissioner. It became very evident during my campaign that Douglas County no longer had the financial resources to continue as in the past. We have seen the County Health Department and the Douglas County Library System close. I respect Sheriff Hanlin and the leadership he has provided. However, I do not understand why he has allowed “vote no” signs on the proposed Charter with his picture on the signs.

The proposed Charter will not allow the county to decide what laws the Sheriff Department will or will not enforce. The duties of the Sheriff’s Department are determined by the state of Oregon. Under the proposed Home Rule Charter, the Board of County Commissioners can still hold public meetings and seek input from the citizens of Douglas County.

The Home Rule Charter will provide for five commissioners based on districts rather than three elected commissioners. Also, the county should still pursue cutting federal timber land and receive federal funds for the operation of Douglas County. I am not opposed to cutting timber and receiving from the federal government.  We need to face the fact we will never receive federal funding as we did in the past.

I believe it is time to make a change in our county commissioner system and look for other ways for our county to receive critical funding needed. I plan to vote “yes” for the proposed Charter and encourage each of you to carefully study the proposal and also vote “yes.”

Dale Bryson


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Reasons to support the charter

1. Douglas County, champagne taste on a beer budget:

Douglas County is losing money, paying our commissioners less money makes financial sense. For example, Curry County commissioners recently each took a $20,000 decrease each to hire a county manager.

2. County Commissioners are generalists not specialists: 

The minimum requirements to serve as commissioner are; be a registered voter 18 years of age, be a resident of your county for 12 months prior. It is not even a requirement to have completed high school. Why pay $130,000 in salary and benefits to each commissioner for just being of age and a resident?

3. Home Rule Counties have better per capita incomes:

8 of the 9  Counties in Oregon using a Home Rule Charter have better per capita incomes than Douglas County. Out of 36, Douglas ranks 30 with a low per capita.

4. Counties with Degree Holding Professional Managers more successful: 

19 of 36 Counties in Oregon have some kind of County Administrator or County Manager. 17 of those 19 counties with County Managers have higher per capita incomes than Douglas County.

5. Counties without a Degree Holding Professional Manager not successful: 

Of the 14 highest per capita income counties in Oregon, 6 are Home Rule counties with county managers. The lowest per capita Home Rule Counties are Josephine and Umatilla, which have no manager or administator for their counties. 

6. Quorum: 

With the current 3 at large commissioners, 2 is a quorum and makes decisions for all 108,000 people in Douglas County. With 5 district specific commissioners, 3 would be a quorum. A quorum of 3 makes more sense than 2.

7. Term Limits:

In 2014, 70% of voters approved of Term Limits on commissioners. A court of law judge found that term limits are unconstitutional without a Home Rule Charter. The proposed charter includes the term limits, we the citizens wanted.

8. You will be supporting the initiative process:

Home Rule is a citizens initiative. Something we are lucky to have the right to use in Oregon, and an act that should be respected and encouraged.

9. Former commissioners oppose it:

The commissioner that was the chairman and speaker against this measure is still getting $95,000 in retirement benefits, as well as contracting for the county for an additional $24,000, and receiving at least $2,000 to make speeches around the county telling you to vote against it. Supporters of this measure are not being paid anything.

10. Members of the Libraries Futures Task Force oppose it:

Volunteers who are reopening their libraries do not want to work with "the Libraries Futures Task Force." This board formed when they heard that there were grant monies available to help reopen libraries, however they are alleged to be attempting to push out the citizen volunteer base, same Douglas County power players on this board.

11. The Roseburg Chamber of Commerce opposes it:

The Roseburg Chamber of Commerce has little interest in the Chamber of Commerces of other cities or how well businesses outside of it's own cabal fare. Those who are treated specially by the current system have no interest in a more equitable system.

12. Former Douglas County department head Kevin Potter opposes it:

Kevin Potter promptly moved to Portland upon retirement, to a Home Rule County. Much like RFP that also opposes Home Rule in Douglas County --- but moved their headquarters to Lane, a Home Rule County.

13. Statutory Rule kinda sucks:

Under Statutory rule we usually have no checks and balances either in review by other branches of county government or in rules requiring citizen review or approval. Primarily the only checks and balances occur if an individual issue runs against a specific ORS.

Representative commissioners under statutory rule counties make the rules and can also change the rules as they please at any time they please. it is almost impossible to have citizen or media oversight because thre is no time in between for enacting legislation.


So tell me again why the new charter will be better? You did not put forward one fact that tells me why this new charter is superior to the current system.

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