Local News – Streets Failing; Reward Program Flushes Restroom Vandals; Transportation Plan Hearing Continues; Marine Science Day

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Local News

Florence Streets Failing at an Alarming Rate

As much as 20 inches of rain in March caused rapid break up of paved streets in the city. Florence has an urgent need, say officials, for at least $250,000 in street maintenance and repairs in the coming year. (contributed photo)

Some of it is because of deferred maintenance, but a lot of the potholes and cracked pavement you’ve been seeing around Florence the past few weeks have been caused by the weather.  That’s according to Public Works Director Mike Miller.

Mike Miller – “With all the moisture we’re seeing streets failing a lot quicker than projected.  It wasn’t like this four months ago.  It’s because of the weather.  It’s because of the 20-inches of rain in March.”

With limited funds to do the basics like take care of streets, officials have been looking at every possible source of revenue.  Miller says there’s about a quarter-million dollars worth of maintenance that needs to be done… with no money to pay for it.

Mike Miller– “What we’re really talking about is taking care of some serious street issues.”

One possible funding source presented to the Budget Committee last night is the current Street Lighting Fund.  Each utility bill in the city now includes a $2 per month fee.  Officials want to change that to a ‘street maintenance fee’ and increase it to $5 per month…

Mike Miller– “It’s a starting point.  It raises the $160,000 that we can leverage to do larger projects.”

Florence Public Works Director Mike Miller says the edge of Rhododendron Drive near Marine Manor is slipping into the Siuslaw River. (contributed photo)

Miller says the city council and staff are “very concerned about the overall impact” of higher fees.  The first year of the street preservation program will cost about a quarter of a million dollars.  The city will borrow the additional $90-thousand and pay it back the next year using the street maintenance fee.

19-year old Alexander Daniel Sholberg, along with three juveniles, face charges relating to damage at the Miller Park Restrooms. (contributed photo)


Reward Offering Helps Flush Suspects

A 19-year old Florence man and three juveniles have been identified as being allegedly responsible for damage at the Miller Park Restrooms late last month.  Florence Police say several tips that came into the department as the result of a reward offering in the case led them to taking the four into custody… plus provided information on another earlier case of vandalism at the park.

Alexander Daniel Sholberg was arrested for Criminal Mischief, plus faces additional charges of Tampering with a Witness and.  Two of the juveniles were charged with Mischief and Trespass as well.  A third faces the same charges in addition to Assault, Coercion, Witness Tampering, Resisting Arrest and Escape.  Police say they have stepped up patrols in the park and those who have been trespassed from the facility will face charges.

Trans Plan Hearing Continues

Florence area residents will have a chance to make additional comment on updates to the city’s Transportation Systems Plan this evening.  The Planning Commission reviewed the draft plan two weeks ago and conducted an additional hearing.  The plan covers all aspects and modes of transportation in the city and looks at future needs as far out as 2035.  Tonight’s hearing begins at seven pm.

Marine Science Day

The first ever Marine Science Day will be offered up this coming Saturday at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.  From ten to four that day the public will be able to go behind the scenes of one of the nation’s leading marine science and education facilities.  Maryann Bozza, the program manager for the center says visitors will be able to hear about undersea volcanoes and hear whales “sing” in an audio display; learn about supporting sustainable fisheries through research; do a little hands-on experimentation of their own; and explore novel oceangoing and ocean floor instrument platforms and meet the scientists who designed them.