Skip to content
Home » Top Stories » Jackson County Ballot Measures: Explanations and Recommendations

Jackson County Ballot Measures: Explanations and Recommendations

On the May 21 ballot, there are three ballot measures to change the Jackson County Charter, the City of Ashland, Evans Valley Fire District and Three Rivers School District.

Jackson County

15-224 – Jackson County Commissioners to be Non-Partisan

Under this ballot measure, there would no longer be a primary election whereby Democrats and Republicans in May nominate a candidate for the general election in November. Instead, voters would choose from all candidates and there would be no party affiliation on the ballot by each candidate’s name. A commissioner could be elected in lower-turnout primary elections if he or she received more than 50% of the vote. Currently, county commissioners are elected in November when voter turnout is highest.

One proponent said in the voters’ pamphlet: “Getting rid of a party label will make county commissioners better and more effective in their jobs. Can’t we all get along?”

If only it were that easy. The reality is that voters get a general sense of a candidate’s political stance when it’s known if the candidate is a Democrat or a Republican.

Democrats in Salem have voted in taxpayer-funded abortion up to the day of birth for Oregonians, out-of-state mothers and even recent illegal migrants. Democrats pass anti-gun legislation that erodes our Second Amendment rights. Democrats also pass new and higher taxes such as the Corporate Activities Tax and plan a statewide property tax in the 2025 legislative session.

Republicans generally support less government and lower taxes on families and businesses. Republicans also support strong property rights and making it easier to build homes.

Democrat and Republican candidates for county commissioner should wear their party labels proudly. Transparency in government is a good thing.

The Eagle urges a “No” vote on Measure 15-224.

15-225 – Increase the Number of Jackson County Commissioners Positions to Five

This ballot measure would increase the number of commissioners from three to five beginning in 2026.

Jackson County has had three county commissioners for over 150 years. Is it time to increase the number to five?

As a comparison, Multnomah County has five commissioners for a county with over 800,000 people. Orange County, California, has five supervisors for a county with 3.2 million people and six congressional districts. Jackson County’s 220,000 population has been represented well with three county commissioners.

Increasing the number of commissioners by 66% will certainly increase the cost of county government. Tax dollars that might otherwise support law enforcement will cover the cost of office expenses, remodeling and staffing. This would be greatly exacerbated if the proposed salary reduction under measure 15-226 either fails to pass or is ruled illegal as happened in Josephine County after a similar charter change.

The Eagle supports less government. Vote “No” on Measure 15-225.

15-226 – Codifying Jackson County Commissioners’ Salaries in the County Charter

Should this measure pass, county commissioner salaries would be reduced to $75,000 per year beginning Jan. 1, 2027.

The Eagle previously reported in “Proposed JoCo Charter Already Conflicts with Past Court Rulings” (February 2024) that setting salaries in Oregon is an administrative process and not a legislative matter. This means that salaries cannot be codified in a county charter. This was the ruling in Josephine County Circuit Court in Hudson v. Feder (1990) and Pumilia v. Hudson (1998).


These court rulings meant that Josephine County commissioner salaries are set by the finance director and the budget committee. Legal action would highly likely bring the same result in Jackson County.

Let’s avoid needless litigation. Vote “No” on Measure 15-226.

City Ashland

15-227 – Amending the Ashland City Charter to appoint the City Recorder

Since 1908, Ashland voters have elected the city recorder. The passage of this measure would allow this position to be appointed rather than elected.

According to the measure summary, a “Yes” vote for this measure amends the City Charter to allow for the City of Ashland to hire an individual with appropriate training and skill to fill the city recorder position. A “No” vote for this measure maintains the existing language in the City Charter, which outlines the sole qualifications for being elected city recorder as residing within city limits and being currently registered to vote.

The voters pamphlet includes arguments in favor of this measure from current and former city administrators, mayors and city councilors.

15-228 – Amending Ashland City Charter Article XIV-Chief of Police

Question: Shall the City of Ashland Charter be amended to allow the chief of police to designate a sergeant-at arms?

This ballot measure would allow the chief of police to designate a sergeant-at-arms when on vacation or otherwise not able to attend a City Council meeting. This ballot measure had no arguments in favor or opposed in the voters’ pamphlet.

Evans Valley Rural Fire Protection District 6

15-229 – Five-year Local Option Tax for General Operations

This measure would replace the current $0.36 per $1,000 levy with a new 5-year levy at $1.35 per $1,000 to fund fire and life safety services within the territory of the district. A new levy will allow for maintaining current service levels in the district including two firefighter positions currently funded by an Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Capacity Grant. Grant funding for the firefighter positions expires in May 2026.

The replacement levy would also fund essential services such as the student staffing program, apparatus replacement, facilities maintenance and equipment replacement.

The proposed rate will raise approximately $410,309 in 2025-2026, $422,619 in 2026-2027, $435,297 in 2027-2028, $448,356 in 2028-2029, and $461,807 in 2029-2030, for a total over five years of $2,178,388.

Three Rivers School District

17-118 Authorizes Bonds to Improve Safety, Security, and Reroof Aged Buildings

The Three River School District includes the Applegate area in Jackson County and Josephine County outside the Grants Pass School District 7.

For information about this school bond measure, go to the Josephine County Ballot Measure article on page 22.