County: $40 per taxpayer to fully fund jail

County: $40 per taxpayer to fully fund jail

EUGENE, Ore. -- There has been a definite spike in crime since the release of 32 inmates from the Lane County Jail on Thursday, sheriff's officials said. 

The Eugene Police Department said that they have already arrested two people that were released from jail yesterday.

Police arrested one of the men for robbing a Eugene bank less than an hour after he was released.

Another man, 48-year-old Steven Berry, was released on Thursday evening as a part of the jail's "capacity based release" program.

Police arrested Berry on Friday morning for breaking into a car.

Jail Captain Greg Fox said that the solution to the revolving door at the Lane County Jail is to fund all of the 500 beds at the facility.

The latest cuts only leave enough funding for 205 beds at the Lane County Jail.

"I'm frustrated that we can't get some additional funding to open the beds that we need to have  open." Captain Fox told KVAL's Tom Adams.

Fox said that it would cost up to $9,000,000 a year to open all of the jail beds and staff all of the prison wings.

Alex Cuyler, the Government Relations Manager for the county, affirmed that the public safety system in Lane County is in crisis.

County commissioners said they are set to talk over possibilities for funding the jail next week.

One option that will be talked over is a $.50 per thousand tax levy for public safety. The levy would mean a tax increase of about $40 per taxpayer.

In a commissioner poll that tax levy would have passed with a thin margin of a 52% majority.

However the voters in Lane County haven't passed a public safety measure in 14 years.

"They've recognized that the measures we've gone for in the past have been very comprehensive, but they have also failed." said Cuyler.

The commissioners decided against a November election to decide on the funding.