Local News – Police confirm pipe bomb; Dialysis Clinic needs to cut costs; Reedsport Police investigating death; Florence 4th graders fight alien invaders

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Highway 126 Closure Was Caused by Explosive Device

The incident that closed Highway 126 just east of Florence for about three hours Tuesday evening turned out to be an explosive one after all says Oregon State Police Lieutenant Gregg Hastings.

Gregg Hastings – “It was a pipe bomb.  It was placed, or possibly fell off a vehicle; we don’t know how it got to that location; before it was spotted by a citizen about 6:30.”

There’s no telling how long the improvised explosive device was on the North Fork Siuslaw Bridge before it was spotted, but it took about an hour for the first police officer to arrive on scene.

Gregg Hastings – “OSP and Lane County Sheriff’s Office had no officers on duty at the time so we called out two troopers from their residence.  One arrived about an hour later.”

A bomb disposal unit from Salem responded and was able to neutralize the device, saving much of it for evidence.  The Lieutenant said an August 2010 pipe bomb in Woodburn Oregon that killed two and injured another is a factor in how police respond.

Gregg Hastings – “Uh, a couple years ago it did take the lives of Senior Trooper Bill Hakeem and Woodburn Captain Tom Tenant and so that’s why we have to take every precaution that we should reasonably take, because they’re unpredictable and they’re obviously very dangerous.”

State Police are actively seeking information about the source of the pipe bomb, anyone with information is asked to call the Oregon State Police.

Dialysis Clinic Needs to Cut Costs

The developer of a proposed Dialysis Clinic in Florence says he had hoped to be under construction by now.

Dr. Mattox Purvis — “The biggest problem we’re having of course, is trying to get it to come in at budget and that’s why we’ve had these delays because we’ve had to do some value engineering to try and come up with some ways to get it down to a reasonable rent level.”

Dr. Mattox Purvis, has also developed similar facilities in Coos Bay and Eugene.  He says an offer by the City of Florence to defer payment of Systems Development Charges over a ten-year period won’t have an impact.

Dr. Mattox Purvis — “That probably would not solve our problem, what will solve our problem, I think is if we can cut back a little bit more on the, you know, building construction costs.”

The 62-hundred square foot facility would be located on Kingwood Street just north of 27th and would be able to accommodate approximately 60 to 70 dialysis patients each week.  Purvis will be in Florence tomorrow at noon where he will address the Florence City Club at Noon… that will be at Ocean Dunes Golf Links.

Reedsport Police Investigate Death

Foul play is not suspected, but officials are treating the death earlier this week of a 28-year old Reedsport man as a homicide.  A utility worker found the body of Justin Robert Schneider Tuesday morning about 9:30 in a storm water retention basin near Champion Park just off 12th street.  A diver had to recover the remains.

Reedsport City Manager Scott Somers said the cause of death has not yet been determined.  The reservoir where Schneider’s body was found is a collection basin for storm water runoff in the northern part of Reedsport.  From there it’s pumped into nearby Schofield Creek.

Battling Alien Invaders

More than 80 Siuslaw Elementary School Fourth Graders spent a couple days before spring break battling an “alien invader”.  Busses dropped them off at the Oregon Dunes Day Use Area 8 miles south of Florence where, armed with gloves and garden tools, they spent time removing scotch broom from an entire hillside.

The project was led and organized by Siuslaw Salmon and Watershed Studies Coordinator Jim Grano (GRAH-no) and Forest Service Fish Biologist Mike Northrop.  It wasn’t all hard work.  Students also participated in guided nature walks and learned about the natural history of the dunes.  They also heard how the Oregon Dunes are imperiled by yet another invasive weed… European Beach Grass.