Curry County seeks emergency declaration

PORT ORFORD — Commissioners in Curry County want the National Guard to help provide security along the southwest Oregon coast.

The commissioners voted this week to request that Gov. Ted Kulongoski declare a state of emergency in Curry, one of several Oregon counties that took a financial hit when Congress declined to extend a subsidy that provides payments to rural counties hurt by cutbacks in federal logging.

Commissioner Lucie LaBonte said the county has lost 68 percent of its general fund and plans massive layoffs beginning Friday.

LaBonte said the District Attorney’s Office will be staffed only by the district attorney, and no one will be booked into the county jail if he isn’t around. And with deputies no longer on patrol, she said the Guard is needed.

The county’s 90 miles of coastline are in the hands of a U.S. Coast Guard station in Brookings, three state troopers and the police forces of Bandon, Port Orford and Gold Beach, which don’t offer 24-hour protection.

“We really feel that we’re vulnerable at this point,” she said. “We’re requesting that the governor figure it out.”

Voters in Curry County last week overwhelmingly rejected a property tax levy that would have funded public safety programs.

— The Associated Press

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