SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - With promises of lower crime and higher accountability for inmates, the Springfield city jail opened in 2010.
"The jail has performed as we expected," said Police Chief Jerry Smith.
Now, the city needs a tax levy renewal to make sure the doors stay open.
Springfield voters are in line this fall to decide the future of the city jail and how to pay for it.
City officials will likely send a new tax levy to the November ballot.
Smith is the city jail's biggest booster. He hopes voter will be on his side in the fall.
The jail helps Smith and the police send a message to would be criminals: "We've got room here in our jail, and when people are arrested for property crimes, they go to jail."
That isn't always the case across the border in Eugene, where the Lane County Jail routinely releases non-violent offenders due to overcrowding worsened this week by budget cuts.
The Springfield jail opened in 2010. In the jail's first two years, around 3,700 inmates have been booked with a daily average of 60 inmates.
The current local option levy pays for most of the costs of staff, food and medical services.
Chief Smith said that because of the jail, crimes like car break-ins, vandalism, thefts and other property crimes are down.
"Between 2008 and 2011 there's about a 30 percent drop in property crime. Now, that's huge in our business," Smith said.
Bail money collections have more than tripled, and fewer criminals are skipping their court dates, Smith said.
City surveys show plenty of public support to renew the Springfield levy, but if it were to go down in November, Smith believes the financial hit on the rest of police services would be big.
"I would be at less than 1980 staffing, providing services to the city," he said.
Smith added nothing is for sure, but 63 percent of residents in a city poll said they would vote yes on a new levy.
"Well, certainly any measure can be defeated, but we're optimistic," he said.