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Extra money owed to timber counties

 Posted: 7:45 AM March 14, 2013

(Oregon Public Broadcasting) — Senator Jeff Merkley is asking the Department of Interior to free up money for Oregon's southwest counties, formerly dependent on timber harvest revenues.

The last round of so-called timber payments was delivered this year, but ten percent of the promised money was withheld in anticipation of sequestration cuts. But that ten-percent estimate was more than was needed to fulfill the sequester terms.

Senator Merkley is asking that the nearly 5% balance of funds be released to the counties as soon as possible.

Jackson County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal says he appreciates the effort, but notes the resulting $150,000 to $300,000 dollars for his county wouldn't be enough to restore jobs.

"I don't see that being a salvation to Jackson County in any way shape or form. We still have to reduce our spending to make about six million dollars annually in cuts."

Breidenthal says over the past three to five years the county has

eliminated 106 library jobs, and half the employees in the clerk's office, among other reductions.

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