DALLAS, Ore. -- The end of Oregon and California Revested Grantlands payments to Polk County is hitting the sheriff’s office hard.
In the past, the federal government paid Polk County $2.4 million a year from the timber "O&C land" fund, according to Sheriff Bob Wolfe.
The county asked voters to make up the money with a public safety levy last November. A majority of voters said “no.”
Now, only two deputies at a time patrol the rural areas over a county that stretches across 700 square miles west of Salem.
Deputy Rick Bojorquez is retiring from the force, one of three in the last three weeks to leave the department.
“Back in the day I always kind of thought of this county as the wild, wild west for the most part, just being two deputies on,” Bojorquez said.
And so it might be again.
Bojorquez is leaving for another job and said he’s not being pushed out by budget cuts. But the sheriff said with a tight budget, he’s not able to offer the 22-year veteran a chance to advance his career and so he’s moving on.
Sheriff Wolfe said budget cuts mean he will no longer have a deputy ready to respond to crimes between 2 a.m and 6 a.m. He worries crime will increase.
“The more the criminal element starts finding that we have less resources available, the bolder they get,” he said.
When asked if articles like this would make things worse, the sheriff said no. He’d rather taxpayers know what’s coming.
Some residents of Dallas, like barber Doyle Little, are arming themselves.
“I think it’s ridiculous. I mean, everybody’s gonna have to start packing their own guns to protect themselves. Because crime’s just gonna break out,” Little said.