Census Bureau forgets about many in southern Oregon town

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Census Bureau apparently forgets about many in southern Oregon town

The Associated Press 03/24/00 4:54 PM Eastern

CANYONVILLE, Ore. (AP) -- The U.S. Census Bureau is urging Americans to stand up and be counted. Hundreds in this Douglas County town would love to, but according to the census takers, they don't exist.

Their house numbers and apartments don't appear in Census Bureau records and they weren't issued Census 2000 questionnaires when they were mailed out last week.

Not only is it humiliating, it could cost Canyonville a chunk of money.

"We're talking about whole neighborhoods that haven't been listed," acting City Recorder Stephanie Bloemendaal said.

In addition, several residents noted that the census questionnaires came to their homes with a Roseburg listing rather than Canyonville.

Bloemendaal said she spoke with at least four people in the Census Bureau's Eugene office but that nobody got back to her.

Mike Steenhout, director of the Eugene office, which handles Douglas County, said Wednesday he was not aware of the problem.

He promised to look into the matter and get forms for any residences left off the original delivery list.

"If they haven't received the questionnaires, then we need to research it and take care of it," Steenhout said.

Several months ago, Bloemendaal identified several Canyonville neighborhoods left off the rolls of the 1990 census. Even though some of them had been around for 50 years or more, they did not appear on maps used by the Census Bureau.

Bloemendaal said she relayed the information to the Census Bureau's regional office in Seattle. The agency was supposed to incorporate it into its records and issue census forms for those homes. Apparently that didn't happen.

"We are up in arms over this," said Mayor Gloria McGinnis, who is one of those left out of the count. "We are a small town and we rely on the numbers from the census to help fund a wide variety of projects."

The Census Bureau estimates that each person counted in the census is worth between $3,000 and $12,000 in federal aid each year.

If the city's estimates are correct that 400 to 500 people living in Canyonville were missed in the 1990 census, the town lost out on between $1.2 million and $6 million in aid each year during the 1990s.

That doesn't include state money from gas, alcohol and cigarette taxes that are handed out to cities based on the number of residents.

"Unless we can get it straightened out, we will be undercounted again," Bloemendaal said.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), March 24, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ