Ricks Views


Our communities want to feel safe and protected, and Rick has always been a great supporter of strong law enforcement to protect and serve our citizens. He has consistently supported strong budgets and adequate staffing for all jurisdictions to enable them to enforce the laws we have on the books and hold those accountable that wish to make our communities less safe. He has also advocated for utilizing programs like The Ethos Project and others to help give law enforcement personnel the leadership tools they need to more effectively handle the moral and ethical issues that can confront them in their professions and provide the best possible service to our communities.

Rick has been working with many in law enforcement and the criminal justice system to solve our jail capacity issues in Jackson County. This work will continue along with our many community allies to find and implement workable solutions to this complex challenge. Jackson County has purchased land suitable for building a new jail. We need to develop solutions to accommodate the construction and operations of a new jail that is financially acceptable to Jackson County taxpayers.


Affordable housing is a major concern in Jackson County. We need affordable options to attract the workforce necessary to drive our economy and options for those living with limited resources and on fixed incomes to find suitable solutions. Government regulation and administrative costs are a big part of why housing is so expensive in Oregon. We need to continue to work to ease restrictions and reduce regulatory burdens that unreasonably restrict development and inhibit the construction of vital additional housing units.

Continued compassion and assistance are needed for those that find themselves homeless due to circumstances beyond their control. However, compassion is a two-way street, and we need to be compassionate to the concerns of all of those in our county that are impacted by the issues created by some of those living on our streets. The health and safety of our citizens need to be our top priority, and while Rick remains a staunch advocate for providing effective mental health and substance abuse treatment options, as well as pathways to employment and stable housing to those that will accept the offer of help, those that continue to deny assistance offered to them and choose to continue living in a situation that imperils the rest of our county’s residents should not be tolerated.


Jackson County has always had emergency management, preparation, and response as top priorities. After the Almeda and Obenchain fires, The Board of Commissioners and Jackson County Emergency Management resolved to take the lessons learned and enhance our capabilities even more. Using the after-action report commissioned by the board as a blueprint, Jackson County has:

  • Remodeled county administration offices to accommodate emergency operations functions in-house.
  • Increased staff, hiring a new Assistant Emergency Manager and a Rogue Valley Integrated Fire Plan Coordinator.
  • Enhanced and integrated emergency alerts and notifications.
  • Improved operations planning and coordination.
  • Helped develop evacuation zones throughout the county.
  • Stepped-up community outreach and education.

Jackson County is now even better equipped to handle future public emergencies and natural disasters.

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The Jackson County Board of Commissioners has worked tirelessly for many years to help try to eradicate the issues created by illegal marijuana in our region. After several attempts to appeal to Salem for the necessary resources to effectively deal with the problems, the BOC decided enough was enough on October 13, 2021. Rick, as the board chair, announced a state of emergency in Jackson County due to the impacts of illegal cannabis activity. To compel the necessary action by legislators and the governor, Rick then embarked on a campaign to raise awareness throughout our state by talking to local, state, and national elected officials and doing interviews with media in Jackson County, the Portland area, and even national outlets. The effort seemed to work as the legislature then acted to appropriate funding toward marijuana enforcement efforts throughout the state. Since that time, Southern Oregon has seen a marked decrease in illegal marijuana activity and the impacts created by it.

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Through fiscally responsible policy decision-making, Rick and the Jackson County Budget Committee have overseen eight straight years of balanced budgets, each year delivering robust service levels while at the same time increasing our rainy day reserve funds. Today, with no general obligation debt, reduced PERS debt, and ample financial reserves, Jackson County sits in a very strong position to take on future challenges in these uncertain economic times. This stands in contrast to many local, state, and federal jurisdictions that have not managed resources as well and are facing budget cuts, increased taxes, and reduced service levels.

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