Assuming voters approve Measure 5-217, an initiative to dissolve the Columbia Health District, you might be wondering what's next.

In this case, the Columbia County Board of Commissioners would appoint trustees for the purpose of satisfying debts and disposing of district assets, according to Oregon law. A likely scenario is the board would act as trustee.

Surplus funds and assets remaining after debts are paid would be credited to the county general fund. If there were insufficient funds to pay off debts, the county would have to levy taxes to satisfy those debts. But that doesn't seem to be the case in this scenario.

Commissioner Tony Hyde said any leftover assets would be held in abeyance to use for public health purposes, depending on how state funding for public health shapes up.

Once the books are settled, everything is turned over to the county clerk for filing.

One question mark, however, is the fate of the Millard Road property where the hospital had been planned. Though current CHD board members had been in negotiations to sell that property, those talks ultimately unraveled.

Oregon statute indicates the property reverts to the city where it is located, not the county. In this case, the property is located within St. Helens following a recent annexation.

County officials say they are uncertain if the property reverts to the county or to the city, and one official said we'd likely have to wait and see following the dissolution vote.

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