Losing timber money, Lane County swings budget ax

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Facing the loss of federal timber money, Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner plans to close half the county's jail beds, lay off 80 employees and cut the patrol force so hard that deputies will respond to only the most violent crimes.

The Register-Guard reports (http://bit.ly/vZdUJg) the county commission gave the sheriff the OK Wednesday to start the cuts in about 30 days, the notice he's required to give before making layoffs.

Turner calls the cuts "widespread, life-threatening and potentially disastrous."

Commissioners say there's little choice.

The county expects to lose more than $13 million next year in federal money that has been flowing to help make up for the loss of timber revenue.

All county departments have been told to be ready to cut next year's budgets by a quarter.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com