Local News: Vandals Close Restrooms; Eugene Man Facing DUII Charges After Colliding with Ambulance; Spring Snow Not Uncommon; Forest Plan Could Benefit Lane County

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City Parks and Facilities Become Targets

Public restrooms at Miller Park have been a target of vandals and graffiti artists almost since the facility opened more than 20-years ago.  Now they’re closed, possibly for good. 

Florence Parks supervisor Mark Durbin was called out Monday evening to find the men’s restroom had been heavily vandalized with fixtures smashed and water running across the floor.  Durbin shut off the water and then closed and locked the restrooms for the night.  Two hours later, he was called out again, this time by police who had discovered vandals had kicked in the locked doors to both restrooms and destroyed fixtures in the women’s.  Durbin had to secure the restrooms with temporary plywood partitions and city officials say it will cost roughly $3,600 to make permanent repairs. 

Destructive acts at city parks and facilities have been on the rise recently.  There has been damage to picnic tables, playground equipment and a shelter have been vandalized.  Those have cost several hundred dollars to repair or replace, but the big ticket item will be to cover up graffiti on the old water tower on Spruce Street… Public Works Director Mike Miller says that will require a specialty contractor and could cost up to $5,000 to cover that up.  Miller says vandalism and graffiti are a community issue.  He encourages residents to keep an eye out and report any offenses immediately.

Recent damage at Miller Park Restrooms has prompted indefinite closure. (contributed photo)








DUII Charges Filed 

No damage estimate has been released yet as the result of the 3/19 collision with an alleged drunk driver. But officials say the 2003 Ford chassis sustained serious damage to the rear axle assemply (photo contributed by Charles York)

A 27-year old Eugene man is facing charges of Driving Under the Influence after colliding with an ambulance on Highway 126, six miles east of Florence Wednesday night.  Wade Flaeschel (fletch-ell) was eastbound when his compact pickup crossed the centerline, striking the westbound ambulance.  There was no patient in the emergency vehicle at the time and the two paramedics were not injured.  In fact they initially treated Flaeschel until he was extricated from the truck by firefighters.  The Eugene man underwent surgery yesterday for shoulder and neck injuries sustained in the crash.  In addition to the DUII, he’s also facing a charge of reckless driving and two counts of recklessly endangering another person.  Both vehicles sustained considerable damage.

Logging Plan Could Benefit Lane County

Oregon Counties could share at least $120-million a year initially in a plan proposed by Oregon’s Congressional Delegation.  Land grants to the long-defunct Oregon and California Railroad Company were returned to federal control more than 75 years ago and have been managed by the BLM since that time.  Harvesting timber on that property has become mired in a tangle of legal and environmental challenges over recent years.  Draft documents released by Fourth District Congressman Peter DeFazio this week show that much of the O&C lands in Lane County would be turned over to state management for timber production.  His proposal, co-sponsored by Republican Greg Walden and fellow Democrat Kurt Schrader would move old growth timber to the Forest Service for preservation.  The rest would be managed for timber production with the revenue being shared by the state and counties.

Out Like a Lion?  Not All That Uncommon

Spring snow in Oregon isn’t all that uncommon, especially during a La Nina winter.  That’s according to the deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University.  Kathy Dello says, yes, the late season snow can be problematic because it’s typically wet and heavy.  That places trees, branches and power lines in peril with the added weight.  But, she adds, there is also an ‘up’ side because it has helped Oregon’s snowpack recover from a lackluster winter.  She says a quick check of the record books show that March can indeed “go out like a lion” instead of the reverse.  She said the weather pattern known as La Nina has been responsible for heavy spring snowfalls in 1951; 1960; 1965; 1968, 1972 and even as late as 2008.