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FALLS CITY GIRLS HOOPS
Volume 140, Issue 8
February 25, 2015
POLK COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY LEVY DEBATE
IN YOUR TOWN
Shellie Friesen-Berry thought she was being
original when she asked her friend’s parents, Jim
and Carolyn Wall, if they were “adopting.”
According to the couple’s daughters, Barb Pow-
ers, Debbie McCleery and Jody Lewis, she wasn’t
the only friend of theirs to ask that question.
But really, it seems Jim and Carolyn have adopted all
of Dallas — and it shows through their countless contri-
butions to the community, according to Friesen-Berry.
The Walls were given the recognition they would
never seek Friday night, being named Exceptional
Family at the 58th annual Dallas Community Awards.
FALLS CITY NEWS
KATHY HUGGINS/ Itemizer-Observer
Polk County government’s slice of the tax pie is a little more than 14 percent of all taxes collected in the county.
Confusion reigns when
it comes to county taxes
Permanent tax rate for Polk government among state’s lowest
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a se-
ries of stories looking at issues and topics
that surround the Polk County public
safety levy that will appear on the May
19 vote-by-mail ballot.
By Jolene Guzman
POLK COUNTY — So what is it? Does
Polk County have one of the lowest tax
rates in the state or one of the highest?
If you are concerned about taxes
paid just for county government, Polk
County does have one of the lowest
permanent rates in the state. But there
are also those individuals who contend
the county has the sixth-highest “effec-
tive rate” in the state, based on an Ore-
gon Department of Revenue report.
The effective rate is a real number,
$13.44 per $1,000 of real market value
in 2013-14, the last year statistics were
Polk County Asses-
sor Doug Schmidt
said the report’s defi-
nition of the effective
rate is the total taxes
levied in each county
divided by the Meas-
ure 5 value (real mar-
ket value) within each
The calculation gets a little muddy be-
cause not all value included in Measure
5 is real market value. Measure 5 value is
used to calculate voter-approved tax
limits on specially assessed properties
and can be different than real market
value, Schmidt said.
He added it also gives the perception
that the county is charging a much
higher rate than it really is. Bonds and
levies passed in individual districts
push the effective rate upward.
“If districts in a county have more
bonds or local option levies, or even
higher district permanent rates than the
county, that is going to skew the total ef-
fective tax rate,” Schmidt explained.
Schmidt did his own calculation of
the effective tax rate just for the coun-
ty’s tax rate and road bond, showing it
accounts for only about 11 percent of
Polk’s total effective rate. Marion Coun-
ty is at 18 percent, Washington County
is at 15.8 percent and Yamhill County is
at 17.6 percent.
See TAXES, Page 5A
Volunteers desperately needed
CASA seeks more advocates to look out for children’s best interests
By Jolene Guzman
POLK COUNTY — Mike
Barnett is a retired street cop,
so he’s used to what might
shock the average person.
But it was the words of a 7-
year-old girl that floored him.
Barnett, a Dallas resident,
is a Court-Appointed Special
Advocate (CASA) for Polk
CASAs are advocates for
children who have been
abused and neglected, and
have been removed from
their family’s home. Appoint-
ed by a judge as a party to the
case involving the child,
CASAs — all volunteers —
look out for the best interest
of the child.
“We are here for one reason
and one reason only, and that
is for the child,” Barnett said.
Barnett took that role seri-
ously, but it was the young
girl who made him realize
just how much CASAs can
mean to the children they are
assigned to look after.
He said in her case, the sit-
uation in her foster home had
taken an unfortunate turn.
“I was talking to her and
she looked at me and I told
her, ‘You need to tell your
case worker this,” Barnett re-
called, referring to her De-
partment of Human Services
(DHS) case worker. “She
looked up at me with her big
brown eyes and said, ‘Is she
on our side?’”
See CASA, Page 5A
In the more than four decades since the first girls
basketball team set foot on a court for Falls City
High School, no team had ever accomplished some-
thing of this magnitude.
The Mountaineers punched their ticket to the
Class 1A state playoffs for the first time in school
history on Thursday after defeating Jewell 47-28 in
a conference playoff contest that decided the
Casco League’s No. 3 seed to state.
Even for a team that prides itself on not letting
emotion get the best of it, the victory set off a cel-
ebration of monumental proportions.
The Grove Community Church is moving into
the old Lenora’s Ghost location at 114 S. Main St. in
The congregation held services in the Mon-
mouth-Independence YMCA, but has doubled in
size, said pastor Andy Johnson.
“One day I was walking downtown and noticed
they had new ‘for lease’ signs,” Johnson said. “Next
thing you know, we’re moving.”
The lease was signed on Jan. 5, the day the Inde-
pendence Planning Commission approved the
conditional use permit required for a church to op-
erate in the downtown area, Johnson said.
The road to love can be fast and simple, or it can
be long and rocky.
For Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley, love clicks in
place as easily as puzzle pieces. But for Jane’s sister,
Elizabeth, and Mr. Bingley’s friend, Mr. Darcy, things
of the heart are more complicated.
Jane, Elizabeth and their three other sisters ex-
perience the journey of love, courtship and man-
ners in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” present-
ed by Western Oregon University’s Department of
Theatre and Dance, starting Thursday. Curtain is at
POLK COUNTY NEWS
JOLENE GUZMAN/ Itemizer-Observer
Mike Barnett, the assistant director of Polk County Court-
Appointed Special Advocates, has been a CASA for six
years. He’s seen the positive impact CASAs can have.
The long process of finding new homes for 38
abused and neglected horses and 20 goats began
Tuesday. Up until then, the animals, which were
seized on Feb. 13 from the 300 block of Pioneer
Road near Dallas, were still receiving veterinarian
care, said Polk County Lt. Jeff Isham.
Animal owner Monica Foster, 41, of Dallas was
cited and released on Feb. 18 for first-degree ani-
“We’re working with a horse rescue out of the Seat-
tle area,” he said. “They came down (Sunday) and took
photos of each animal and touched the animals.”
Trio Elf brings its
modern style of jazz
to Western Oregon
Music Hall for a per-
7:30 p.m. $5-$8.
It’s opening night
for the Western Ore-
gon University pro-
duction of “Pride
and Prejudice” at
7:30 p.m. $7-$12.
The red-hot Dallas
team hosts league-
leading Silverton in
7 p.m. $5.
The final perform-
ance of Dallas High
of “Our Town” is
scheduled at Boll-
7 p.m. $5.
It’s the first Sunday
of the month, and
that means the Polk
Flea Market is open
at the Polk County
9 a.m.-3 p.m. $1.
lic Library is hosting
a Dr. Suess Birthday
Party for all ages at
the library, 175
7 p.m. Free.
Kitchen hosts meals
for everyone in the
area every Tuesday
at St. Philip Catholic
Church in Dallas.
4:30-6 p.m. Free.