Updated (8/15) -- Governor Brown has announced that she will not veto the Holly Theatre project. Governor Brown did veto the Bradshaw Drop Irrigation Canal and Harry and David Ballpark projects.
to read Governor Brown's letter describing her deliberations regarding each bill.
On August 8, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced she will veto appropriations in House Bill 5006 for the Holly Theatre, Harry and David Ballpark and the Bradshaw Drop Irrigation Project.
Last session, the Oregon State Legislature passed HB 5006 which meant the Holly Theatre would receive $1 million out of the state's general fund along with
$750,000 for Harry and David Field, and $1.8 million for the Rogue Valley Irrigation District piping project.
Mayor Gary Wheeler sent the below letter to Governor Brown to request she not use the pending veto to eliminate funding for these three important projects. Click here to see a copy of the letter sent to Governor Brown.
This letter is written on behalf of the City Council and citizens of Medford to urge you to not use the line item veto to fund three significant Medford-area projects: the restoration of the Holly Theatre, Harry and David baseball stadium improvements and the Rogue Valley Irrigation District (RVID) piping project. Each of these projects is extremely important, as all of them increase the economic vitality of our area and the additional environmental benefittotheRVID project.
The City’s vision includes focusing on revitalizing our downtown and the restoration of the Holly Theatre is critical to seeing that vision come to fruition. The Holly Theatre was built in the late 1920’s and eventually closed in 1986. Beginning in 2011 the community has come together to restore the Holly. The total cost of the restoration project is $5 million. Once restored the theatre will become a venue for live concerts, films, and other events. With 1,003 seats, it will become the largest indoor venue between Eugene and Redding, CA. It will generate an estimated $3 million in additional spending and will add 85 jobs to the local economy. The $1 million that the State would have granted would have been a much-needed boost to this critical project.
Another economic driver for Medford is our outdoor recreation areas bringing in over 11 million in revenue last year from both in-state and out-of-state groups. State funding for one of these areas, Harry and David Field, where the Medford Rogues play baseball, would be used to help finance improvements to provide roofing over the stadium seats to shelter fans from the sun. With temperatures over 100 degrees this summer the roofing would have increased the likelihood that this recreational and economic jewel would be used by more people.
The State funds would be used as the final funding piece to allow the Rogue River Irrigation District to construct pressurized underground pipes to run their water through. Because irrigation ditches lose water to both seepage and evaporation, piping aids water conservation efforts and allow irrigation water supplies to stretch further. Agriculture continues to be a prominent and important economic driver for our region and increasing the efficiency of water delivery not only benefits our economy but more efficiently uses our scarce natural resources.
As the Mayor of Medford, my position is to advocate for our citizens. I do not know any more about this potential veto than what I have read in the newspaper and I am not about to take any side but that which benefits the citizens of Medford. And to that end, I would ask again that you refrain from your veto of the three important projects described in this letter.
Gary H. Wheeler
Mayor, City of Medford