Early returns show Duerst-Higgins, jail levy a go from voters

© 2017-Cottage Grove Sentinel

Oregon's May 16 special election ballot was full of school board and fire district candidates as well as a much-talked about jail levy. As of 8:30 Tuesday night, the results began trickling in. 

South Lane School Board President Sherry Duerst-Higgins had collected 1,237 of the 1,453 votes as of 10 p.m. Resident Mary McNamara waged a write-in campaign in the days leading up to the election for Duerst-Higgins' seat but as of Tuesday night, write-in candidates had received 8.67 percent, or 126 votes. 

Current school board member Taylor Wilhour will most likely join Duerst-Higgins on the board again with 1,305 votes (97.9 percent) as of 10 p.m. Alan Baas is also the projected winner of his current seat with 1,295 votes (97.96 percent).

Joel Higdon (98.2 percent), Dan Duffy (98.0 percent) and Tom Munroe (98.6 percent) were also leading for spots on the South Lane County Fire and Rescue Board as the final votes were tallied. Monroe has been serving in the position after replacing a former member of the board and finishing out their term before statute required he run for seat to maintain it. 

The most attention-grabbing question on Tuesday's ballot was the issue of the Lane County Jail and Youth Levy renewal. The levy is set to expire in the middle of next year but in the weeks leading up to the election, Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp went on a media tour explaining the office's dire need to maintain service levels by renewing the levy. Trap noted over-crowding and early release for inmates in his plea for voters to extend the 55 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. 

As of 10 p.m., the jail levy renewal was expected to pass with just over 60,000 votes in from 80 precincts and 70 percent of those votes counted in favor of approving the renewal. 

Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp said in a statement just before 11 p.m. Tuesday night, “We are thankful for the support of our community. The levy has increased the safety of our county immensely, and will continue to provide us with the resources we need to detain and treat both adult and youth offenders.”

Follow the Sentinel's twitter feed of up-to-date results @cgsentinel. 

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