Q & A

What is a Service District?
A Service District is a funding source for Extension districts.  The creation of an Extension Service District would stabilize funding and secure the future for Extension Services (4-H, Master Gardeners, Research, Extension) in Umatilla and Morrow Counties.

How does a Service District help me?
A new Extension Service District in Umatilla and Morrow Counties will further enhance the 4-H Youth Development program which currently helps thousands of youth through clubs, after-school activities and events to be successful in school, and to prepare them for future science, technology, and engineering careers all while developing life skills.

Extension programs promote and support good nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices for thousands of youth and adults in Umatilla and Morrow counties through nutritional education and Master Gardeners.

Thousands of residents and families throughout Umatilla and Morrow Counties regularly use Extension and Research services to support and build the regional agricultural economy.  Last year alone, the gross sales of agricultural products produced in the region had a value of over a billion dollars.  Agriculture production and food manufacturing represent 17,607 jobs, or about 37% of the regional work force.

For every local dollar invested, Umatilla and Morrow County Extension brings an additional $5 from state, federal grants and contracts to the counties.  Let us support the proven performers!

Why $0.33?

The measure institutes a $0.33 per thousand property assessment.  For example, a home assessed at $125,000 would cost the homeowner approximately $41 per year. 

Citizen advisors and stakeholder leaders have been meeting for several years, looking for strong and sustainable solutions to keep our communities strong with positive youth development programming, health and strong farms, ranches, and forests; a trained workforce, and healthy families.  Extension has been leading and shaping our communities in these areas for the last 100 years and we want to see it remain strong and grow with our communities over the next 100 plus years.

We have excellent agents and researchers in place - solid and stable funding will help insure that they can focus on delivering programs tailored to our local needs while bringing resources of the university to our local communities.

The maximum permanent rate is 33 cents for every $1,000 in assessed property value.  This amount may never be increased, but the county commissioners may choose to collect a smaller amount. 

What is the current situation?
Umatilla and Morrow Counties funding for Extension is unable to keep pace with needs.  While county funding has remained consistent, county officials have been unable to replace Extension dollars (ie. Faculty and support positions) lost to state and federal budget cuts and the research station budgets have faced even greater losses especially starting in 2008 from state and federal cuts.  In 2008, Agricultural Experiment Stations were asked to bring in 25% of their base budgets from local funds.  Smaller cuts have continued to erode the stations budgets over the past 9 years.  Other local funding options have been explored but have not been found to be sustainable or feasible.  Grants and contracts are strong - yet funders direct their priorities - that aren't necessarily our local priorities.  Since Extension is not considered an essential county service, such as law enforcement and emergency management, it could be reduced or eliminated during tough budget times ahead.

What solution is proposed?
Voting YES to create a new Umatilla & Morrow Counties Extension and 4-H Service District would be a permanent source of funding for 4-H, Extension and agricultural research in Umatilla and Morrow Counties.

What have other counties done?
In Oregon, voters in 26 of 36 counties established Extension service districts to maintain and in some cases return, educational services for their county.  In Eastern Oregon; Union, Wasco, Wheeler and Malheur Counties have service districts to fund Extension.  Recent districts in Malheur, Klamath and Jackson Counties have supported both extension and related agricultural research activities.

All of these counties have significantly leveraged new state, federal and grant money from dollars collected by the Service District.  Currently, estimated to be $2 of outside state, federal, grants & contracts for every local dollar invested.

When will the proposed service district be on the ballot?
May 15, 2018