Last night the Umpqua Valley League of Women Voters had the only candidates forum of this primary race for Douglas County Commissioner. They provided citizens the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. Unfortunately one important question was not asked: Are Our Current Douglas County Commissioners for Sale?
It is a given that during campaign time in Douglas County, Oregon (the Timber Capitol of the World) we will demonstrate why timber is king here. A review of campaign finance documents at the Secretary of State shows the large infusion of cash into the campaign coffers of both incumbents by those involved in or associated with the timber industry. Although this alone gives rise to the question posed above, it is not why it is now being asked.
The timing of the following goes beyond the concern about timber money and its impact on our local public policy. The two examples below have to make us wonder if it is worse than we have come to expect.
So, Are our Douglas County Commissioners for Sale?
$$ & Budget Committee Appointment:
This story made the daily news here and there is a link at the end of this story where you can check it out.*
Our local daily newspaper, the News Review helped sound the public alarm with their report about citizens protesting the recent appointment to the Douglas County Budget Committee. The appointee, Katharine Jones had just recently given $1000 each to our two county commissioners who are running for re-election: Tim Freeman & Chris Boice.**
Records from Oregon Secretary of State (SoS) show that the recent appointee to the Douglas County Budget Committee, Katharine Jones gave $1000 campaign contribution to each incumbent Douglas County Commissioner running for re-election.
Campaign fiance records for Tim Freeman show that a $1000 campaign contribution from Katharine Jones was reported to the Secretary of State on 3/15/2018. Records from Chris Boice’s campaign finance disclosure shows a $1000 contribution recorded on 3/8/2018. These were around the time that she was appointed to the DC Budget Committee in March 12, 2018.
Although Katharine Jones did give two contributions in Mr. Freeman’s last race in 2014 ($250, before the May primary $500 after he won election), there is no record that she donated any money to him while he was in the state legislature .
There is no record that Ms. Jones ever donated to Chris Boice’s campaign before this current donation, just four days before her appointment to the Budget Committee.
Campaign contritubtion information be found at the Secrtary of State’s campaign finance reporting page. **
$$ & More $$$$$$$$$$
Although the story of Ms. Jones’ donations and appointment made local headlines, there was no news story about this one. In fact, if it were not election time, this may not have been discovered at all.
You actually might find this one to be more problematic than the committee appointment.
While doing some research regarding current campaign contributions in the Douglas County Commissioners’ races, as well as looking into the work being done on economic development in Douglas County, some unexpected information came to light that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
It seems that the company who is the parent company of North River Boats gave the county commissioners running for re-election right now campaign contributions right around the time the company was awarded a $100,000 grant from our county’s economic development funds.
Secretary of State (Sos) campaign finance records shows that, on April 11, 2018, Freeman’s campaign reported getting a $1000 and on, April 9, 2018, Boice’s re-election campaign got $2000. Both of these campaign contributions came from NW Bend Boats LLC dba as North River Boats.
These donations were right around the time that NR Boats was asking for and was awarded a $100,000 grant for expansion from our county’s economic development funds. This according According to the draft Minutes of the Industrial Development Board from their March 20, 2018 meeting***.
“New Business: A. North River Boats $100k Grant – Wayne Patterson Wayne Patterson spoke about North River Boats and the executive summary outlining the expansion project that was previously distributed to the DCIDB members. Discussion ensued. Bob Ragon motioned to recommend the Commissioners approve the $100K grant for the North River Boats expansion. Dave Sabala seconded. The motion carried unanimously.”
This then got the final approval from the two county commissioners, as indicated by Monday’s meeting of the DC Commissioners held this week on April 16th, where an IDB (Industrial Development Board) invoice for the North River Jet Boats, at least based on information on the Agenda for that meeting.****
“2 Management & Finance – IDB Invoice – North River Jet Boats (Expansion Grant #30963) (Jessica Hansen)”
Note: Commissioner Chris Boice is also the commissioner liaison to the Industrial Development Board (which controls aspects of local economic development funds.
Although there are references to North River Boats & then North River Jet Boats, they are the same.