Voters torpedoed a proposed Home Rule Charter for Douglas County on Tuesday. As of 9 p.m., with most votes counted, the results were 24 percent voting “yes” to 76 percent voting “no” on Home Rule, according to unofficial results.

Douglas County election turnout was high, at 41.5 percent, compared with 29.4 percent statewide Tuesday. More than 30,000 Douglas County residents turned out for the vote. As of 10:38 p.m., the vote was 23,310 to 7,327 against Home Rule.

At a small gathering of Home Rule supporters at former commissioner candidate Victoria Hawks’s office in downtown Roseburg on Tuesday evening, the mood was grim, but defiant.

Home Rule supporter Stacey McLaughlin told the group they should be proud of the work they’d done against an opposition that poured money into the “no” campaign.

“They bought their way to success,” McLaughlin said.

Doug Robertson, chairman of the anti-Home Rule campaign said Tuesday night, there’s a reason the “yes” side couldn’t raise as much money as the “no” side.

“They were outspent because people stood up and said we don’t want any part of this. This is bad for the county, and we don’t want any part of it,” he said.

The Home Rule Charter proposed in Measure 10-159 would have restructured county government, replacing three paid commissioners with five unpaid commissioners and an appointed county manager.

Proponents of Home Rule said it would modernize county government, making it more like most city governments. Opponents said it would add a layer of bureaucracy and reduce accountability and transparency.

The issue became partly polarized on party lines after the Douglas County Republican Party announced its opposition to the measure. Timber and other business interests poured $140,000 into the campaign to defeat the measure, more than ten times the amount supporters collected.

“We gave it a good try,” said Home Rule petitioner Doug Hockett on hearing the results Tuesday night. “It’s hard for $12,000 of truth to compete against $140,000 worth of lies.”

The “no” on Home Rule side put signs up around the county, some charging “extreme environmentalists” were behind the measure, and others displaying Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin’s face. Hanlin opposed the measure because of a clause in the charter he thought would give the county commissioners power over which laws the sheriff enforces. The sheriff is an independently elected official.

Robertson said it took “a considerable effort by a lot of people to educate the public on just exactly what transitioning into the weakest form of county government in the state would mean to this county. Thanks to a lot of people and a lot of effort we got the message out, and thank goodness we did.”

He said community members didn’t like the Home Rule idea for a number of reasons. They supported the sheriff, for one thing. For another, many didn’t like the idea that the governor would have to select one of the new commissioners in order to make a quorum for the five-member board. And they wanted to maintain the commissioners’ influence over timber policy — something Home Rule opponents said just couldn’t happen with a part-time, all-volunteer board of commissioners.

Robertson, who served as a county commissioner for more than three decades, said he’s run nine campaigns, and even when he didn’t have an opponent, his vote totals weren’t as big as the “no” on Home Rule vote.

“I think this is a pretty big statement on the rejection of this kind of effort to basically take Douglas County’s voice out of play for federal forest issues, and all of the things that we’ve been involved in for so long,” he said. “This is a pretty resounding statement that Douglas County is right where we ought to be, right in the middle of these discussions.”

Supporters were cagey about who actually selected the Clatsop County charter as a model, and about who decided on the revisions to that model.

Those who turned up to the pro-Home Rule party Tuesday night were worried about the amount of money the opposition had spent. Hawks maintained some hope early on.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if all the people in the rural areas who don’t have a voice voted yes,” she said. “That’s all it would take.”

After the first results were posted online, the group began talking about the possibility of rewriting the charter and starting again.

Diana Larson, another supporter, felt both good and scared before the vote totals came in. She said a lot of money was spent on “misinformation and lies.”

“It’s just one of those things that’s wrong in our system,” she said.

McLaughlin said it was hard to get their message across to county residents.

“It’s very hard to change something when people don’t know something is wrong,” she said.

Hockett said he’s glad he had the chance to work on bringing something so important to the county’s voters.

“Win or lose I’m just glad I had the opportunity to work with such a great group of people,” Hockett said.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or

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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 Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(41) comments

Comment deleted.

Don't be sorry, just don't do it again. It's called spamming and that's not what comment sections are for.


Tighten up the wording and bring it back again. And keep bringing it back till it passes. The number 1 reason the Charter failed is John Hanlin. To have a sheriff in a non-political position use his position, in uniform, in his office, to perpetuate LIES regarding how the Charter is affected by Extreme Environmentalists and MIGHT affect his Second Amendment Rights is nothing but Republican Partisan Politics we see destroying our Democracy daily. Is this the Republican way now? Should the residents of Douglas County expect that those of us who lean conservative are going to be sabotaged by Party Politic Liars? Hanlin needs to go, regardless the Charter failed to pass. And I'll say again, Shame On You, Sheriff Hanlin! Your lies do NOT dictate who we are here in Douglas County. We cannot accept that lies make good government.


Final word to those "No," votes. You will get what you deserve . . . no libraries, no public health, stump filled parks, idiots with no education making multi-million dollar decisions; corrupt Commissioners serving only special interests, in particular the timber overlords; masturbating Senators; and many more embarassing headlines to come. Well done.

Suzan Mesik

Well, we can expect more of the same - our Trifecta of Twits making decisions without citizen input, refusing to support real economic development that looks to the future, more of our taxpayer money wasted on trips to DC to whine about being able to raze our forests, etc. The ignorance of many of my fellow citizens in Douglas County never, ever ceases to amaze me.
And pro Home Rule signs were continually stolen, and so were at least three pro-ballots.
Hey! Ya wanna live in Douglas County, Third World Nation? Go ahead. AT least some of us won't just bend over, pull down our pants and say "Go ahead!"


Yep! Who cares that 8 of 9 home rule counties in Oregon have higher per capita incomes than Douglas County? Who cares that Douglas County is low on that list at 30 out of 36? Who cares that the counties which have never even tried to pass a charter are the lowest on that list? (Baker, Jefferson, Malheur, Douglas, to name those in the bottom.) Who cares that of the top 14 per capita income counties, -6- are home rule counties with professional managers? We landslide voted ourselves into continued, downward-spiral-poverty, must be aiming to knock Malheur out of position 36! If you can't be the best, might as well be the best at being the worst! With an economic suicide, a vehement resistance to diversify our economy, probably only rivaled by West Virginia! Hooray, Congratulations Douglas County! [thumbup] Nevermind that $90,000 of the $140,000+ that the opposition raised went to Salem ad firm New Media Northwest, since you hate Salem's influence so much, they're still happy to take the money from your resources, from your beloved local industries. Nevermind that Doug Robertson, on top of his $95k retirement, $24k current contract with the county, got paid at minimum $4k to parade around the county and hope you don't ask him questions about the charter beyond surface level, because he might let on how much he doesn't know, and how prosperous and fiscally conservative Home Rule counties are in drastic comparison with Douglas County! Nevermind that Home Rule puts the citizens on equal par with the commissioners, that we would be allowed to actually vote on things like commissioner salary increases! Nevermind that former county department head Kevin Potter -ironically- voiced his opposition to Home Rule, since he retired and moved to Portland, to a Home Rule County, much like RFP opposing Home Rule in Douglas, after recently moving their headquarters to Lane, a Home Rule county. [They like Home Rule just fine, they just don't want YOU to have it. Why? Because you have no clue how hardcore they are selling your resources out, they pay no tax, they ship the product overseas for cheaper processing, they automated long ago while your county became a technological desert!] Nevermind that Home Rule is the only way to institute the Term Limits you desire, and that no charter reform brought by your county government will EVER include Term Limits. Nevermind that you complain of 10-159 as an attempt to make "government bigger," when your commissioners recently added a full time position for a publicist to handle their shady dealings and convince you that everything is just fine. Nevermind that your county government sold you out long ago to corporate interest, on the global trading market, that the Timber Harvest Tax was all but eliminated and Douglas GDP has suffered at this loss. Blame your imaginary foe the "EXTREME ENVIROS," because that's easier than acknowledging reality, which is that a "vocal minority," of well informed, critically thinking citizens, know more than the majority about the financial and corporate realities of your County -- and offered you a chance to improve your currently (and now inescapable) oppressed and enslaved status.


Oh my, what a rambling ranting and raving response. BBgurrl "aka Brandy", your attitude completely reflects the problem with your and the YES ON HOME RULE thinkers. 3 out of 4 Douglas County voters who voted, voted this down. Get it,,, 75% of the voters disagree with you. YET, you continue to scream and holler that you (and your supporters) know better than everyone else. This is the very type of know better, conceited attitude that drafted this proposal (in private), and which 75% of the citizens don't want any part of. You can stomp your feet about how ignorant you think folks are, because they didn't vote the way you think, but in the end you are in the extreme minority on this issue. Interesting comment by Stacie MacLaughlin in the News Review article "we'll just have to try again". Doesn't matter 75% of the folks don't want it, let's just belly up to the table, draft another version in private, and try and bully it through again. A poster child for extreme behavior. Time to move on, and realize you are NOT the opinion of the County. The News Review photo of the loser crowd shows it all... the charter drafter (Stacey), and the extreme environmentalist (Diana Larson). Learn how to lose gracefully, a skill that you apparently have never been taught.


BBGURL- Sorry your logic does not have correlation to having a Home Rule! Home Rule would have been bad for this County. I am proud that 76% of our public realized that the way forward is not backward with Home Rule. You forgot to mention all of the turnover in Clatsop County where the home rule charter was instituted. We need full time County apples. Sorry for your Sour Grapes I am proud of our county, the timber industry and our conservative roots!!!!


Gotta love the loser mentality by some. When things don't go their way, EVERYONE is ignorant (what an amazing blanket statement to say about 110,000 folks in Douglas County). If things go their way, then the voters were SMART as could be. This type of loser crowd, who rant, rave, and name call, are never self aware enough to figure out that maybe they are the one's who are wrong. Oh no, it could never be them, even if 3 out of 4 other folks say so...LOL!


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Many people voted no due to fear. Fear of the unknown is a big factor and some would prefer to ignore the problems and continue with what they are familiar with. That is just as strange as voting party lines and not doing your research. The current commissioner will be on good behavior for a few months until this has died down and then ???

Old Tobi

I agree completely. Huge change, and being unclear as to exactly, how would all the chaos involved in making this change, make things better?
And what's next? Keeping watch, looking at voting demographics, figuring out how to increase participation, striving to make things better for 'ordinary folk.'


Or maybe instead of money, most of us just don't LIKE the idea and that's why we voted no. I'm good with how Douglas County is right now and don't like the idea of changing a generally working system. And no, I'm not a redneck, nor a republican, but an informed voter who just didn't like the idea and will vote against it again if it comes back around.


I will never again underestimate the number of rednecks in Douglas County.

Suzan Mesik

Hey now, name-calling is just stupid. If you're really an old"darkie," you should know this. My gramma from Arkansas called our fellow black citizens darkies, but she finally quit. Just cut it out.

just me

ii voted yes, but am somewhat relieved that it went down


Interesting when you look at the crowd gathered there: nearly every one of them female. What conclusions should we draw from that lack of gender diversity?


From the lack of men in the picture you can draw the conclusion that women are not swayed by threats of gun seizure or being called an extreme envirnomentalists but men is appears are more easily scared into submission and in this case a "no" vote. Or does this say that women just seem to care more about where they live? Either way it doesn't say anything good about men.


Most of the women I know voted no, so your 'conclusions' are built on a false narrative. Also, it's ONE image, not a whole.


Sorry you are right women are just as swayed by made up threats. Sorry to give our gender more credit then we deserve.


Are not all but one of those people in the picture women? One might suppose that only the most ardent supporters of this measure would be there. How is that a false narrative?


Inductive fallacy. Try try though.


Not a darn thing because it's a single image, of which no evidence can be made nor conclusions drawn. Please re-take elementary science and how things work in logical thinking.


People draw conclusions from election results all the time. Watch the news.


Those people in the picture, you, Mogie, Suzan Mesik, all females (except the one guy). Very interesting.


What are you talking about? The picture for the article? I am not in any picture.

Suzan Mesik

In line with your shallow, ignorant question .... they guys were all out drinking and complaining. Can't volunteer time to political causes, might interfere with the good ole boys good ole times.


Oh dear, I had know idea you were such a misandrist. Maybe that contributed to your sides loss on this issue.


Looks the extreme environmentalist and taken your guns away lie worker with voters. Too bad there wasn't a level playing field for this issue.

Capt Umpqua

The new charter was turned down. because no case was ever made as to why it was necessary. I, and many felt there was some unstated agenda on the part of the proponents. Also, on the micro level it was an extremely poorly drafted proposal. It wasn't the money, or opposition lies, it was that the proposal was not sold.


For you it might have been the proposal but I have talked with a few others who freaked out when they heard the "they are going to take your guns away" line and didn't listen to a word after that. So to be fair there were several reasons for the charters failure but a big one was installing fear in people.

Facts don't lie

Mogie clearly you are delusional. People in Douglas County are a lot smarter than you portray in regards to why the charter failed. Level playing field lol...... Troll on.


You keep saying the same things and yet they keep being wrong. Please stop trolling.


Mogie I'm definitely a pro gun person, but never heard that they would take away our guns, nor did the idea ever enter into the decision to strongly oppose the measure. What did enter into the decision was the fact that 1) many of the supporters were members of or supporters of extreme environmental groups, which was easily found until they changed their Facebook privileges. 2) There was no reason to change the qualifications for Sheriff, or to add in the clause to have the board direct which laws the Sheriff would enforce - Especially since the supporters "said" they had no intention of directing the Sheriff. 3) The Charter was drafted without open public meetings, justified by the excuse that they had no leader, yet they managed to find someone to file the measure, organize signature gathering, etc.
It was led by a vocal minority that hand fed a few liberal and misguided reporters from both the News Review and Oregonian to try to mislead the general public. There were two main common denominators of the majority of the supporters, they were against the Timber Industry and/or upset because of the lack of support for the marijuana industry by current county officials. The election results show the true extent of the support or lack of support for this type of underhanded, backdoor type of political revisions. Be upfront with the reasons and the development, and the actual results may change.


mogie I want you to know you are 1000% right, and the majority of people are 1000% sheeple


Very well said Capt Umpqua. There was a lot of reasons to vote down the charter. Our Government is not perfect but this County is in much better shape than a majority of counties across the state due to their fiscally conservative values. If the reserves would not have been what they are. We would be in much dire shape. 76% of the County voted against this charter not because of scare tactics but because this would have been very bad for the County and for business.



This. It read too much as 'everything is wrong in Oregon, we must be seperate' to be of any value to a liberal like me who supports the current form of government (not always happy with it, but it works).

Suzan Mesik

Again and again and again it was made crystal clear just exactly why. Just because you can't get your brain around this doesn't mean it isn't there.


And again and again it's pointed out that 75% of the folks who voted last night DISAGREE with your thinking, for whatever their reasons are. For you to rant and rave that folks must be wrong or ignorant, simply because they don't believe what you do, is, well quite frankly, ignorant on your part. Take some time to reflect upon yourself, rather than insulting other folks knowledge, ideas or motives.


None of that is why I and my friends and neighbors voted no, but hey, keep posting and maybe one of your spam comments will get something right.


I didn't say the reason for your vote. I have spoke with people that voted no and I listed their reasons. I never stated that the reasons I listed were the sole deciding factors for everyone. I related what I had first hand knowledge of. Thank you for sharing your spam comments also.

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