Volunteers will Make a Difference tomorrow…
The third Saturday in July has long been recognized by members of the LDS Church as “Pioneers Day”. Five years ago, members in the Coos Bay Stake opted to spend the day “making a difference” in their communities. This year’s 400 members Central and South Coast members of the Mormon Church will work on two park projects in Florence.
One of those projects: installation of new playground equipment at the 18th Street Pocket Park. Erin Linton lives in that neighborhood and wanted to improve the park. She completed a fund-raising effort earlier this year.
210 – “$35,000 for a brand new play structure. We ended up with a little bit extra so that we can get a few more things done and clean up the park and make it a nice area.”
She and other church volunteers will do just that tomorrow morning. The larger crew will be at a new dog park slated for Singing Pines Park on Kingwood near the airport. Wally Greth is the Bishop of the Florence Ward…
211 – “We have already poured 400 linear feet of sidewalk. Saturday we’ll be spreading bark for the dogs, we will be spreading gravel for the pathways, we’ll be installing a fence completely around the perimeter.”
City officials say if the new dog park were to be built using the traditional model, it would cost upwards of $150,000. Public Works Director Mike Miller estimates the actual cost at about one-tenth of that.
By the way, to facilitate the park construction, Kingwood Street between 15th and 17th Streets will be closed from nine to two Saturday.
At least three other parks will receive attention tomorrow as part of the Power of Florence day. Volunteers will be cleaning up at Gallagher’s Park at 126 and Spruce; Rolling Dunes Park on 35th and at Veterans Memorial Park on Bay Street. The crew at the latter park will venture across the street to clean up the vacant lot below Dairy Queen. Volunteer Mike Bones said the owners of that property allow it to be used for many community events and he felt it was appropriate to repay them with the effort.
Power of Florence organizer Kaylee Graham says there will be about three dozen activities and events in all tomorrow. Other beautification projects will take place at the Boys and Girls Club and Siuslaw Elementary, as well as at the North Jetty.
One hot bed of activities will be the parking lot at Grocery Outlet where there will be several different booths set up to help out the Humane Society, Florence Food Share and the Florence Area Coordinating Council.
Two activities will be aimed at helping one individual. 14-year old Chris Bursaw was severely burned in a fireworks accident on July 4th. 50-percent of the cost of a “starter” tattoo at Oregon Coast Tattoos, as well as 100 percent of the proceeds from a lemonade stand at Grocery Outlet will go towards a medical fund in his name.
A complete listing of Power of Florence activities can be found on KCST-dot-com.
This is the second straight summer of minimal conflicts between humans and their ursine neighbors in the Florence area. A very wet winter and late spring meant plenty of natural food for the dozens of bears that populate the area says wildlife biologist Doug Cottam.
215 – “It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a difficult time with many bear complaints.”
He’s had very few complaints from the usual ‘hot bed of activity’… neighborhoods in and around the north end of Florence. The heaviest conflicts are south of the Siuslaw River.
216 – “This year, most of our complaints have come from Dunes City.”
Cottam says the conflicts that do arise are consistent with previous years.
217 – “They are typical trash can bears. There’s multiple bears involved and that is, you know, usually the way it goes.”
He says the most effective way to prevent bear conflicts… and make existing ones go away… is by simply removing the food source. That means locking up your garbage cans, not leaving pet food outside at night, and even removing and putting bird feeders away.