Ousted director warns that JPR Foundation's net worth could plummet

The net worth of JPR Foundation's assets may drop to zero because of its recent agreement with Southern Oregon University, Jefferson Public Radio's ousted executive director asserts.

"It basically doesn't have any money," said Ron Kramer, who was terminated effective June 30.

Kramer made his assessment after reviewing a six-page agreement reached between SOU and the JPR Foundation and announced Monday. Without assets, the foundation will be hard-pressed to take on projects such as the remodeling of the Holly Theatre in Medford, Kramer said. Even more dubious is an effort to build new JPR headquarters at Jefferson Square on 10th Street, he said.

JPR Executive Director Paul Westhelle said it's true the assets of the foundation will be significantly reduced, but they will be partly shifted into Jefferson Live!, which eventually will own the Holly, Jefferson Square and the Cascade Theatre in Redding, Calif.

After taking out the debt on these various buildings, Westhelle said the net worth of Jefferson Live! could total more than $5 million.

"It would have plenty of assets," he said.

Other assets owned by the foundation, such as radio station licenses, would be shifted to Southern Oregon University for the benefit of JPR, he said.

As a result, the foundation would become something of a money manager, raising funds for the radio stations while coordinating with Jefferson Live! on separate cultural projects that would benefit the community, such as the Holly, he said.

Westhelle, who helped coordinate the effort to remodel the Cascade Theatre, said he hopes that fundraising efforts on the Holly could yield significant progress in pushing forward with that project in about a year.

— Damian Mann

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