Mismanaged Oregon Towns Veer Toward Insolvency

Updated: Sunday, April 15, 2012, 2:08 PM

By Rachel Stark, The Oregonian

When Tiffany Couch’s phone rings, it often means trouble for another Oregon city.

Last year she was called to Oakridge, a Lane County timber town of about 3,700 people that in two years ran through $1 million in reserves. She scoured the city’s books and interviewed staff in search of fraud or some explanation for the town’s financial mess. Couch issued a report of her findings – error-racked budgets, sloppy bookkeeping, overspending – along with her best advice. Then she was off.

Her next client was waiting 130 miles north. Molalla.

The two small towns, Couch learned, share remarkable similarities. The mistakes piled up, the options narrowed, and the towns faced insolvency.

In a state that provides minimal financial oversight, it’s a story she expects to pop up more and more.

Continue reading “With lax oversight, mismanaged Oregon towns veer toward insolvency”