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Voters reject Heritage District levy

Jackson County voters rejected a special tax district Tuesday that would have funded Southern Oregon Historical Society and other local heritage organizations.

Unofficial results showed voters rejecting Measure 15-164, a special district that would fund historical and genealogical societies, by a margin of roughly 2 to 1.

Tuesday night returns showed the measure trailing 59,270 to 30,385. 

Proponent Scott Henselman called the results a "sad day for our county," but he said it was clear the timing wasn't right.

"It was certainly not due to a lack of effort," Henselman said. 

The proposed district would have funded 15 local agencies under a governing board using a 5 cents per $1,000 property assessment that would have added a $10 tax burden to a home assessed at $200,000.

"The general county voters just felt this was not the time to add an additional cost to their bill," Henselman said. “Even though the cost was very minimal to most people, it was still enough that they felt they couldn’t handle the responsibility of that cost.”

Agencies supported by the measure would have included SOHS, Woodville Museum in Rogue River, Gold Hill Historical Society, Southern Oregon Railway Historical Society, Eagle Point Museum and Buncom Historical Society.

Many, such as SOHS, will be forced to figure out how to proceed without public funding.

"They'll have to make some hard decisions about how they'll proceed," Henselman said.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.