Local News – Snow leaves thousands in the dark; City officials reschedule meetings; Gas prices continue climb

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Local News

Heavy Snow Causes Power Outages…

The heaviest snowfall along the Central Oregon Coast in decades downed trees and power lines between Lakeside and Depoe Bay yesterday, leaving thousands of residents and businesses in the dark.  By the end of the day, however, the lights were on for most of the Customers of Central Lincoln PUD.  But, there are still plenty of outages facing crews today.

Much of Mapleton remained in the dark overnight, prompting cancellation of classes at schools there today.  A wide stretch of the Florence area south of the Siuslaw River, including Westlake and much of the Glenada and Cleawox areas were also dark overnight.

One of the hardest hit areas near Florence was on Santa Road where a PUD Spokesman said line crews encountered several broken poles.

According to the CL PUD twitter feed this was the worst storm in two decades and though power has been restored to thousands… they estimate at least a thousand residences are are still without light and heat in the Florence area alone.  They suggest calling the outage line at 866-484-3783 if you are still in the dark… even if you have already called.

The Power of Words

City officials were facing a curious dilemma yesterday.  The Florence Planning Commission had been scheduled to meet last night and conduct a design review hearing for a new building for the Port of Siuslaw.  But, with the heavy snowfall and power outages officials initially considered cancelling the meeting outright.  But Community Development Director Sandra Belson pointed out that notification regulations for this type of proceeding could force a delay of up to a month.  Showing the power of semantics… and with port officials on a very tight timeline for construction it was decided to simply postpone, rather than cancel the meeting.  It has been rescheduled for next Tuesday evening.

One other city meeting originally intended for yesterday was a review of a rate study for area garbage haulers by the Environmental Management Advisory Committee.  They operate under a different set of less restrictive requirements.  They’ve rescheduled their meeting for this afternoon at 2:15.  An earlier report this morning incorrectly listed a later start time.

Caution still needed on roads

Emergency responders say even though things are warming up and the snow is melting there are still hazards on area roadways.  Emergency crews say that was demonstrated yesterday around 9:30 when they were dispatched to a single vehicle crash on Highway 126 just west of Walton.  Paramedic Al Kreitz said the sport utility apparently slid on the slick roadway, into a ditch and onto its side.  By the time responders arrived there was nobody near the vehicle and the engine was cold… but the headlights were still burning brightly.  Kreitz said even though road surfaces may appear to be clear of ice and snow… conditions can change rapidly.

Gas Prices Continue Climb

Tensions in the mid-east and speculation by oil futures buyers continue to fuel increases in the price of regular gasoline in the U.S.  Triple A reports the national average price for a gallon of gas increased four cents this week to $3.80.  Oregon’s statewide average went up by two cents this week and is 3.98; while in Florence the average went up a penny… and is at $3.96 a gallon.  Two communities in Oregon report average prices over four dollars… Eugene-Springfield’s average price is $4.03 and in Medford the average price is $4.04 a gallon.