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Smith Supports Economic Rescue, Rural Communities

Press Release

Location: Lake Oswego, OR

Smith Supports Economic Rescue, Rural Communities

Criticizes Merkley for partisanship and leaving the economy rural Oregon behind

This week, Senator Gordon Smith reached across the aisle to help rescue the main streets of Oregon and extend an economic lifeline to Oregon's rural communities through an extension of the county payments program. Gordon spent the day today visiting communities most impacted by county payments - starting the morning in Medford before hitting the road for Roseburg, Grants Pass, Eugene and concluding in Salem.

"All of Oregon needs to have voice on the issues that matter to their communities - like county payments - or they'll get left behind. That is what is at stake in this election," Senator Gordon Smith said today. "I am not going to leave police, schools and libraries behind. Across the trenches in the battles for rural Oregon's way of life, I see Jeff Merkley fighting for the other side."

Jeff Merkley this week stated his opposition to the economic rescue bill that contained the county payments extension. The bill passed the Senate 74-25 with overwhelming bipartisan support. Merkley chose inaction in a time of crisis, partisanship over leadership.

A lesson to Jeff Merkley; what county payments means:

ü The extension provides $798 million to Oregon counties between 2008 and 2011

ü For Oregon counties in 2008:

KLAMATH COUNTY - $17,754,412

DOUGLAS COUNTY - $46,457,154


JACKSON COUNTY - $23,214,733

ü Without the safety net funding, Oregon schools have $31.9 million less for the 2008-09 school year

ü The Josephine County Sheriff's Office, no longer has deputies who can patrol county roads on a 24/7 basis.

ü The Lane County Jail has been forced to release prisoners, housing only the most serious of criminals.

ü The Douglas County Health Department's budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year dropped by 25 percent, resulting in reduced health services

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