The first round of votes show overwhelming support for a proposed service district that would fund the Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center.
With 39 percent of the votes counted, the measure was leading with 75 percent of the vote, 32,929 to 11,180.
If passed, Measure 15-121 would tax up to 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. It would pay for staff, materials, travel, training and delayed maintenance, supporters have said. If the full 5 cents per $1,000 is collected, it would raise about $800,000. That would also allow it to hire a land-steward coordinator, Master Gardener coordinator, 4-H program assistant and a building and property manager, along with an office assistant.
The service district idea originated during Jackson County's 2013 budget hearings when the county's budget committee cut $6.7 million, including the Extension Service budget. The funding was restored for this year, but there was no guarantee going forward and the lack of local funding meant state and federal funding also likely would be cut and the program eliminated.
— Ryan Pfeil