Oregon State University Extension Service of Lane County has announced that it is shutting down most of its programs by the end of this summer due to the failure of a funding measure in yesterday’s election. Faculty members presently stationed there will be reassigned elsewhere. The official press release:
The defeat of Measure 20-158 leaves the Oregon State University Extension Service in Lane County without adequate local funding to continue existing operations. Extension is now making plans to reassign its Lane County faculty to other locations, lay off its local support staff and shut down all local programs that are not financially self-sustaining.
“On behalf of the OSU Extension Service, I would like to thank Lane County residents—and particularly our volunteers—for the support they have provided to our organization for nearly 100 years,” said Steve Dodrill, staff chair of the OSU Extension Service in Lane County. “We hope to continue serving Lane County communities through the end of this summer, but will conclude our 4-H, Master Gardener, Master Food Preserver, Compost Specialist, Extension Study Group and Climate Master programming no later than Labor Day weekend.”
Laws that created the national Cooperative Extension Service established a funding model that relies on federal, state and local revenues for county Extension offices to exist. Lane County commissioners ended that local funding in 2008, prompting Extension volunteers and supporters to craft Measure 20-158 as an alternative local funding solution.
“While local Extension programming will end in Lane County, local residents will still have access to Extension educational materials and online learning opportunities through the Internet,” said Dodrill. “Extension programs also will be available in neighboring counties that have local funding support, although Lane County residents may incur out-of-county fees for participation in those programs.”
According to the Eugene Register-Guard, about 54 percent of those voting opted against the measure, which would have cost 5 cents for every $1,000 in assessed value, or about $10 per year on a home assessed at $200,000.