Local News – Postal Restrictions – Natural Gas – Port Comission – Victorian Christmas

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First Class Mail facing delivery slowdown

Postal officials have announced intentions to close the Gateway Mail Processing Center in Springfield.  That would increase the amount of time it takes for a first class letter to reach its destination.  Closure of the center means that if you mailed a letter from Florence to Eugene, it would be trucked to Portland, sorted, and then shipped back down to Eugene for delivery.  That’s a process that could take up to five days.

Currently, the mail would be sorted in Springfield overnight and, in most cases, delivered the next day.  The increase in delivery time for First Class Mail comes on the heels of plans announced earlier this year to close hundreds of rural post offices around the country.  Locally, residents in Swisshome, Deadwood, Walton and Gardiner would lose their rural post offices, forcing many of them to drive several miles to get their mail.

That’s unacceptable according to Oregon’s Fourth District Congressman Peter De Fazio.  The Springfield Democrat says rural residents don’t have many of the same options available to city dwellers.  De Fazio says the closures will be a blow to the economy and he’s calling for the firing of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

State asks for Jordan Cove permit revocation

Lawyers for the state of Oregon have asked a federal agency to revoke permits for a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Coos Bay.  Lawyers for Attorney General John Kroger say the Jordan Cove development was originally designed to import gas from overseas, but is now looking for permission to reverse that flow and export it.  The state says the result would be to boost natural gas prices domestically and hurt the economy, so the project is no longer in the public interest.

16th Annual Victorian Christmas

The finishing touches are going on the Victorian Christmas décor at the Heceta Light Station 13 miles north of Florence.  While the scenic Heceta Head Lighthouse itself is closed for renovations, the Queen Anne style lighthouse keeper’s residence, a bed and breakfast, has been decorated by volunteers and is open for tours.  Lightstation spokesman Steven Bursey says the residence will be open to the public for free tours over the next two weekends from four to seven pm each Saturday and Sunday.  Donations are gladly accepted, he says, and he wants to remind visitors that an access fee is required for parking at the nearby Lighthouse Scenic View Point.  Bursey says to be sure and dress warmly and bring a flashlight for the short hike up the trail.  Or, he adds, you can catch a shuttle from the parking lot to the B&B.

Port Commission to get ice update

Port of Siuslaw Commissioners will hold a special meeting today to review a report by Key Mechanical, the refrigeration company that has inspected the Siuslaw Fisherman’s Association ice machine on the docks.  After a seven year effort, a community fund drive paid for rehabilitation of the machine, but it almost immediately experienced mechanical problems after installation last spring.  Interim manager Suzy Lacer says the Commission may also go into private executive session to discuss a real property transaction.  That meeting is set for 1:15 this afternoon at the Port of Siuslaw Office.