Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 @ 3:13 p.m.

Curry County Commissioners Follow Jackson, Coos Colleagues in Saying Ballot Measure 110 Doesn't Work, Call For Its Repeal

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Curry County Commissioner Brad Alcorn says he wants to help lead a multi-county effort to repeal Oregon Ballot Measure 110.

Just before he and his colleagues unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday, Alcorn said he envisions joining other Oregon commissioners at the capitol demanding lawmakers overturn the voter-approved referendum that addresses drug addiction.

Alcorn asked to add Curry County's resolution to the agenda right after Board Chairman John Herzog called Wednesday's meeting to order. A copy of Curry County's resolution isn't included in the agenda packet posted on the county's website.

“The ripple effects of Measure 110  touch the homeless community, they touch housing, they touch so many different elements of our community that every county is struggling with the effects,” Alcorn said. “This is really the beginning of counties joining together to make an effort to convince the leadership of this state to repeal this measure so we can get back to actually helping people.”

Approved by voters in 2020, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act aimed to expand access to harm reduction services by establishing Behavioral Health Resource Networks statewide. The measure also changed penalties for the possession of illicit drugs for personal use, making them a Class E violation that carried a $100 fine or a completed health assessment.

Previously, possessing a small amount a Schedule I-III substance was a Class A misdemeanor that could land the offender in jail for a year and impose a $6,250 fine on them. Possessing a Schedule IV substance before voters approved Measure 110 was a Class C misdemeanor with a penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,250 fine.

The addiction recovery service centers would be paid for by tax revenue from the sale of marijuana in Oregon.

Curry County’s resolution comes about a week after Jackson County Commissioners took similar action. On Tuesday, Coos County commissioners also approved a resolution calling for Measure 110’s repeal.

Alcorn asked his colleagues to “join me in signing this and sending it out to all of the other commissioners across the state and asking them to join us as well.” The resolution Alcorn introduced to his colleagues mirrors Jackson County’s resolution.

Jackson County’s resolution states that while Ballot Measure 110 aimed to reduce crime, improve public safety and save lives, it’s had the opposite effect. Overdose deaths have increased from 585 in 2020 before the measure was approved to 917 in 2021 following the vote, according to Jackson County’s resolution.

In 2022, there were 1,161 overdose deaths as of March 8, 2023, according to the resolution.

Jackson County’s resolution states that the ballot measure makes it more likely that people would use drugs since the threat of arrest and prosecution isn’t there to serve as a deterrent.

“As of June 30, 2023, of the 5,299 tickets filed in Oregon Circuit Courts since Measure 110 went into effect, more than three-fifths resulted in a recipient failing to pay and facing no further penalties,” Jackson’s resolution states. “Most of the rest of the tickets were dismissed or are pending.”

Curry County commissioners Jay Trost and John Herzog supported Alcorn’s call to gather all of Oregon’s county commissioners at the state capital building to put pressure on the Legislature to repeal Ballot Measure 110.

Trost pointed out that it wasn’t too long ago that commissioners joined together to get the state to pull back on some restrictions that were in place against local businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It wasn’t that long ago when I stood up here and challenged the commissioners that no commissioner by themselves has that much power. But you do have influence,” Trost said. “In this case it’s using influence to put pressure on the Legislation to make the right decision and repeal this Measure 110. I’m 100 percent in support. This is something we’re bound to do.”

Curry County Sheriff John Ward told commissioners that Ballot Measure 110 diverted marijuana tax revenue away from law enforcement and public safety. This makes his agency’s job more difficult and has resulted in a dramatic increase in overdoses and deaths.

Ward said he’s sure that the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association would back the proposed repeal of the ballot measure.

“It’s less teeth to bite somebody for than a seatbelt ticket,” Ward told commissioners. “I’d stand in full uniform at the capital too to support repealing this Measure 110 and I’m sure there’s a lot of sheriffs that would do that as well.”

In April 2023, the independent Portland-based firm, DHM Research, conducted an online survey of about 500 Oregon voters.

The company reported that six in 10 voters think Measure 110 made drug addiction, homelessness and crime worse. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed supported bringing back criminal penalties for drug use while continuing to use marijuana tax revenue to fund treatment programs.

Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed stated they think drug and mental health problems are the root cause of homelessness rather than a lack of affordable housing.


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