Robert Marquette, president of the board of Oregon’s senior center on Bay Shore Road, sought support from the Oregon school board for passage of the 0.5-mill, five year levy on the ballot to fund senior citizen service.
As a member of the pro-levy group “Oregon Citizens Supporting Senior Services,” Marquette emphasized at a recent Oregon school board meeting that the levy revenue would fund the expansion of services available at the current center, the James “Wes” Hancock Senior center, on Bay Shore Road. It would not go toward building a new senior center.
“Today, our seniors are more active than the seniors we used to know,” he said. “As we age, our senior community is more vibrant. We don’t want to retire and sit in a rocking chair. We want more than golf. We are lacking services.”
The senior center, he said, has fewer dollars coming in.
“In our community we have a senior center that has been operating on a nearly skeletal budget. Ten years ago, we had a budget that was $10,000 more than what we have today. We have lost dollars through grants, the Area Office on Aging, and the state and federal government.”
The center currently has a budget of $127,000, about 11 percent less than last year, he said.
“We have fund raisers. But fund raisers just don’t cut it anymore,” he said. “If the community supports this, we can become independent form needing to go to our federal and state government, and have senior services we can afford independently right here in Oregon.”
The money would add services helpful to seniors, he said.
He noted that seniors have also been involved in reading classes in grade schools and “give back to the community.”
“We just need the opportunity and the dollars to institute these types of services where we can work with everyone else in the community,” he said.
Board President P.J. Kapfhammer said he would personally vote for the levy.
“I do support Oregon and things that improve the city,” said Kapfhammer. “But it’s tough for [the board] because the same people, the senior segment, are the same people who say `No more levies. We can’t afford it. We’re on fixed incomes. We’re going to lose our homes.’ So it cuts both ways. There’s nothing we’d rather do than work hand in hand with the senior community. But within the next year or year and a half, we’re going to need a levy, too. We’ve lost a lot – over 20 percent of our budget. I support the senior community.”