Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: May 18, 2007”

Taxes rebutted

Before we leave the week, we should note results from the string of elections in southwest Oregon on Tuesday, concerning proposed taxes aimed mainly at replacing the big chunk of federal funds cut last year. (We wrote about one of them, the Jackson County library proposal, on Tuesday.) These proposals had to do with paying for basic services, in most cases including large portions of local law enforcement activities.

Oregon Catalyst has a concise summation:

Lane County Income Tax defeated by 71%
Jackson County defeated a property tax levy by 59%
Josephine County public safety measure failed
Coos County defeated a property tax by 68%
Curry County rejected a property tax by 67%

A Central Oregon 911 tax and a West Linn Public safety levy failed to get decent voter turn-out and was rejected. Both gained more yes votes but failed to convince voters that the election was important enough to participate in.

Worth bearing in mind.

The weight of clout

We have no particular take here on the technical issues involved, but watch closely how this issue comes out - this matter of a conflict between a batch of local governments in Kootenai County, and the Real Life Ministries at Post Falls.

The background matter is the fragile Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, which underlies much of western Kootenai County and beyond, and provides drinking water for the metro area - upwards of a half-million people. Officials in Washington and Idaho have been working to avoid pollution of the aquifer. To that end local governments in Kootenai, including the cities of Post Falls, Rathdrum and Hayden and local water and sewer districts, have been pulling together plans for a centralized sewer system, and gradual elimination of the mass of septic tanks and systems in the area.

Real Life is an evangelical church which has been growing wildly in the last decade (and it is only about a decade old). Until recently, the big church in the region was New Life at Rathdrum, which as of a few years back had grown to upwards of 3,000 people; people from its membership became important political players, two at least state legislators. But in the last few years Real Life at Post Falls has blown past, averaging Sunday turnouts of around 7,000 and drawing an estimated 12,000 for last month's Easter services. It is the largest church in Idaho by a couple of orders of magnitude, and the largest in eastern Washington as well.

Real Life last built a main structure in 2004, but in response to its growth has been pressing for building expansion. Its plans, news reports say: "The church hopes to build a new campus over the aquifer, including a 3,500-seat worship center and nine other buildings totaling 458,000 square feet." And a new septic system as well, which led to the concerns from local mayors and others.

This is a situation with political implications. Watch it closely.