As part of the COVID-19 relief package passed by the U.S. Senate this weekend, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, created a new two-year program that will pour $1 billion per year into rural counties like Douglas County.

The money is intended to help make up for the fact that the Secure Rural Schools program is expiring this year. The new program is targeted specifically toward poorer, natural resource dependent counties that have struggled financially through the COVID-19 crisis.

Money from the program will also go toward Tribes that have suffered economically.

“These particular rural counties and Tribes were delivered a devastating blow when COVID-19 hit their communities. They are barely hanging on when it comes to resources for their schools, roads, and health services,” Wyden said in a press release.

Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman, who is also president of the Association of O&C Counties, said in a press release that a reduction in timber harvests from federal lands has cost the counties federal timber receipts right when county services are needed more than ever.

“This two-year package will allow O&C County Commissioners to focus on public health, public safety and other vital county services. The Association of O&C Counties thanks Senator Wyden for his work on this funding package,” he said.

Wyden secured the initial Secure Rural Schools package in 2000. It was intended to help solve the economic hit to county governments caused by a decrease in federal timber harvests in counties that have long depended on harvest revenue sharing with the federal government to fund county programs.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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

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(10) comments

Daniel

Amazing how Roseburgonian(s) continue to feel left out and victimized no matter how much state and federal governments do to work for them.

NJ

Mr Freeman, when you speak of how this funding is going to used, what exactly are the "other vital county services" you mention? If you're generalizing what Wyden indicates is to continue the "Secure Rural Schools program" that is expiring, tell county residents if this program will continue and how much of the funding given to Douglas County will be used for this purpose.

It's incredibly nice that Mr. Wyden can continue to secure funding to help bail out counties with waning timber receipts seemingly without questioning why those county leaders haven't been able to diversify in an effort to move away from timber as our only (?) source of revenue. Perhaps Mr. Wyden can enlighten us as to how he's approached when he's asked for help securing funding over and over for beneficial programs in O&C counties.

Roseburgonian

They all suck. They do not represent us. I bet he just secured a huge amount of money for his bank account too. Tired of this. Tired of the same people that have been in office my entire life doing nothing for me and people like me. It is a gross failure of our society.

CitizenJoe

Roseburgonian: "...doing nothing for me and people like me," is *precisely the opposite* of what our senator--and every Democrat in the United States Senate--just accomplished.

Your ad hominem accusation is similarly absurd.

Momos

A Democrat worked hard to bring money to Douglas County and succeeded. And Republicans? Nothing. Zip. Squat. Nada. Well, except harp on about how Democrats are the enemy of the people by trying to control a pandemic. I've never been a party line voter, but I'll vote against every Republican on the ballot every chance I get. From Trump to Kruse to Heard to Lief and Freeman, Republicans do absolutely nothing that benefits us. Feeding your hatred doesn't count.

larsington

I second that emotion.

CitizenJoe

larsington: I got the same notion. (H/T Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland)

larsington

[thumbup]

Mike

[thumbup]

CitizenJoe

Momos: exactly. Precisely *every* Democrat in the Senate voted for this. Precisely *zero* Republicans voted for it.

All Republicans have is reflexive, unthinking, obstructionism. Witness Dallas Heard not showing up for work, and then vowing to vote "NO" on absolutely everything when he comes back.

"A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it." --William F. Buckley, Jr.

So, this is not a new problem. My great-grandmother had an expression about how utterly useless Republicans are. (next comment, since it will likely get scrubbed...)

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