First results showed Douglas County voters rejecting a proposed library district
Supporters said the district would have saved the county’s libraries, which they said are likely to close within the coming year without a district. Opponents objected to the 44 cents per $1,000 property tax that came with the district.
Results for Measure 10-145 released shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday, showed 55 percent of voters said “no” to the library district while 44 percent had voted in favor.
Save Our Libraries PAC member Robert Heilman called the vote discouraging.
“We have been at this for quite awhile, many years in fact, and we fully intend to keep trying to get adequate and sustainable funding for our library system. We believe very strongly that that’s the way to bring a more fruitful and brighter future to this county here,” Heilman said.
Heilman said he has no idea what the next step for the library will be.
Gerald Gindlesperger of Umpqua, who opposed the library measure, was glad to hear the voters rejected a district.
“I’m hoping that we can keep our libraries open. I’m hoping we can do that without taxing property. There needs to be another way out of this,” Gindlesperger said.
“My hope would be that we could get back into the woods and start getting receipts from our timber. I don’t know that that’s going to happen anytime soon, but that would be my preference,” he said.
He also suggested individual cities might be able to run their own libraries.
Library district supporter Rick Sohn, however, said that won’t be an effective solution.
A countywide system offered economies of scale, he said.
City run libraries would likely operate with volunteers, and hand-me-down books, he said.
“Clearly the voters are speaking, and we’re going to have to find a way to run the libraries. Libraries can’t run with volunteers any better than schools can run with volunteers,” Sohn said.
Sohn was disappointed by the vote.
“It’s very hard to see a way forward for a lot of the folks that worked on it at this point, but we know we want to do the best for our children,” Sohn said.