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Public Safety Funding Talks Continue

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A former Oregon legislator wants to find ideas to help fund cash-strapped Oregon counties.

Kevin Mannix met with a citizens group in Grants Pass on Tuesday to discuss plans to find more money for public safety. One item being talked about would divert lottery funds to the county sheriff’s office.

Those involved say it’s a big concept to change where Oregon Lottery dollars are allocated, but supporters of the idea say it’s a way to finally get some extra funding to things like sheriff’s patrols, which have been drastically cut in the past year.

Former Oregon legislator and two-time candidate for governor Kevin Mannix met with the group Securing Our Safety. The group was seeking his opinion on how to best create a statewide initiative that would allocate lottery dollars to fund county public safety departments.

Supporters say if it is successful, it could bring in several million dollars. Mannix helped lay out the costs and process of getting an initiative started, and said it’s something that should be looked at by the affected counties.

“There can be some discussion about whether specific part of the lottery funds ought to be used to support public safety in the counties, and to allow the counties to use those funds. And we’ll be having a discussion about that opportunity,” said Mannix.

Mannix spoke at Securing Our Safety’s weekly meeting at Wild River Pub. Supports say even if the initiative is successful, it still wouldn’t fund the entire criminal justice system, but it would help bring on more resources until a long-term solution is found.