The Honorable, Senator Jeff Merkley,
The Sheriffs, in the State of Oregon are still wishing to convey to Washington how important the Title III dollars are to each county, in helping to provide emergency services to federally owned land in the State of Oregon.
The Sheriffs’ are aware you submitted an amendment and then were asked to withdraw that amendment until later and we thank you for that submittal. We would however ask that you please look at Representative Walden’s proposal when you resubmit your amendment. Representative Walden’s language for the Resilient Forest Act, also included patrols for the forest. (I have included his letter for your review)
As you are aware many counties in Oregon are struggling to provide services in there more populated areas, have little to no money to provide lifesaving services to federally owned land and the in several counties equals to more than 50% of the land. There is currently money in several counties to provide these services but they are not permitted to use this money due to the very strict rules the Forest service has placed based upon a GAO report that we feel was in error.
We all want the public to enjoy our vast lands and recreation but without some help we will not be able to provide emergency services including wildfires, there just isn’t enough general fund monies. We need to have included, Law Enforcement patrols, Firefighting, Equipment and Training costs which are directly related to the emergency services on federally owned land.
Again thank you for submitting your amendment, and we look forward to your new submittal hopefully including Representative Walden’s suggestions.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Please see attached signature page.