Local News – Port Dealing With Last Minute Requirements; Community Chorus; Neighbor Helping Neighbor

Coast Radio News
Local News

December 7, 2012

Wharf Rehab to Finally Start…

The permits for work to rehabilitate the structure under the Siuslaw wharf have finally been issued, but Port of Siuslaw Manager Bob Forsythe says it’s been a frustrating process getting the final approval the National Marine Fisheries Services.

Bob Forsythe – “They actually moved the goal posts on us.”

NMFS has jurisdiction over fish habitat… basically anything that is submerged at least part of the time.  Officials initially said the Port would have to modify the wharf to allow more natural light through.  Forsythe said he thought he had worked out a compromise by agreeing to remove debris instead.

Bob Forsythe – “And they agreed to that.  Well, what they did is they left it in the permit requirement 34 pages back into it and said, oh well, that was for the shadow you cast.  However, since you’ve extended the life of it, it falls under new rules.”

The latest requirement came up this week leaving Forsythe scrambling to determine what costs it will add to the project.  He estimates the delays have already added nearly a hundred thousand dollars to the $1.3-million project, with the likelihood that another forty to fifty thousand will pile on before contractors can actually get underway.  He says he could fight the requirement, but if the Port lost, it would be catastrophic.

Bob Forsythe – “It would more than likely bankrupt the port.  ODOT would pull their money on it and we’ve already paid for a lot of the beams and all that sort of thing so we would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole and no way to pay it back.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation has already advanced money that has been spent on planning, engineering and materials.  By accepting the permit as issued work can begin and he can still file an alternative within six months.   If the appeal fails, the Port will still have two years in which to pay for replacing part of the wood decking with metal grate; and painting the underside of the wharf with reflective paint.

Neighbor Helping Neighbor

Local disaster planners say there is a lesson for residents on the Oregon Coast to be had from the response and cleanup efforts to Super Storm Sandy.  The cost of cleanup and recovery continues to mount and residents in the hardest hit areas are still facing several more weeks… if not months… without electricity, with limited food, and a total disruption of their lives.  The West Lane Emergency Operations Group conducts monthly classes on how to prepare for something like a devastating storm, an earthquake or tsunami.  Tomorrow’s class at Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue will focus on “Neighbor Helping Neighbor”  There’s no cost for the class, but space is limited and pre-registration is required today by calling the fire station.

Sounds of the Season

The Florence Community Chorus will present their annual Christmas work this evening at Crossroad Assembly of God on Maple Street.  Director Laura Merz says they’ve been working on it since August and it will feature a variety of music.

Laura Merz – “Focusing mostly on a piece called Gloria, which is by John Rutter.  It’s a big work, it’s a fabulous work it’s, it’s absolutely brilliant.”

Joining the chorus will be another chorus… this one of sixth graders from Siuslaw Middle School.

Laura Merz – “There’s nothing more beautiful than children that age singing Christmas Carols.”

Another group that Merz works with is the Flo-Tones… a vocal jazz ensemble that is loosely affiliated with the Community Chorus.  They’ll be performing this weekend as well.

Laura Merz – “We’d like to provide the opportunity for the community to come and sing Christmas Carols.”

That’s for the annual Christmas Carol Sing-Along… Sunday, two pm at the Florence United Methodist Church.