Pubdate: Mon, 16 May 2016
Source: Grants Pass Daily Courier (OR)
Copyright: 2016 Courier Publishing Company
Author: Shaun Hall, the Daily Courier


Shayne Christen is a man of few words.

Asked what he would do about economic development, if he were elected
to the Josephine County Board of Commissioners, he replied, "We need
to do something about more jobs. There's a lot of possibilities."

Asked about what he would do about the county's public safety funding
problem, he replied, "We've got to generate some more funds for that.
It's going to take teamwork to find out where those funds are going to
come from."

Christen, 66, is a Williams-area farmer, sheep rancher and retired
state of California oil and gas technician.

"Mostly what I'm all about is fair representation," he said, during an
interview about his candidacy to fill the seat being vacated by
Commissioner Cherryl Walker, who is not seeking a second term.

Seven others are seeking Walker's position, while nine more are
seeking the seat held by Commissioner Keith Heck, who is seeking
re-election to the three-member board. The primary is May 17.

Christen hinted at how he might be able to save the county some

"They certainly pay people a lot," he said. "There's a lot to

He did specify one possible funding source that might help increase
county revenue: the burgeoning marijuana industry.

"There seems to be a lot of people here that smoke cannabis," said
Christen, himself a grower of medical marijuana. "So, if we can get a
tax base off that, we should."

Less than two years ago, Oregon voters approved legalization of
marijuana. As of Jan. 1, consumers purchasing recreational-use
marijuana pay a 25 percent tax, with 10 percent of net revenue
distributed to counties. Individual counties may also impose a 3
percent tax. Christen felt that Josephine County might also be able to
generate revenue by collecting fees for marijuana-related land use

"There's going to be fees for land-use documents," he said. "That's
going to get some tax base."

Counties may charge a fee to certify that marijuana growing operations
are permitted uses, according to local zoning laws. Growers must
provide documentation that their operations are permitted uses.

Josephine County could use new revenue sources. It has been in a
severe budget squeeze for several years, particularly since 2012, when
declining federal payments prompted closure of the county's shelter
and detention facility and cut in half the size of the Sheriff's Office.

In the May primary, if one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the
vote, he or she wins the seat outright. Otherwise, the top two
vote-getters will vie for the seat in the November general election.
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D