FEC Perceptions; Fire Danger High; O&C Lands; Gas Prices

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Local News

31 July 2013

Changing Perceptions About the Events Center

After three months of regular meetings, it’s pretty apparent to many involved that the Florence Events Center is in need of some form of public subsidy.  But, says Florence City Councilor Joe Henry, it should not be in the form of a special tax levy.

Joe Henry – “I won’t support that.  I believe that the citizens of Florence have enough taxes and fees and everything else going on right now that we just shouldn’t add to that burden.  Especially in this kind of an economy.  And especially with the number of people we have in our community that live on a fixed income.”

The FEC Special Committee began meeting regularly in May.  Since that time, Henry says he’s learned more about how the center operates.

Joe Henry – “You know some of my impressions have changed.  I got a different impression about our pricing, especially in terms of larger groups and groups from outside.  It seems that we’re fairly competitive there.”

Henry said he hoped they would be able to find a way to make it more affordable for smaller local groups and families.  The FEC Special Committee will meet again August 15th before presenting a list of recommendations to the City Council in September.

Timber Bill Reviewed

Representative Peter DeFazio’s timber trust bill to increase logging on Oregon’s O&C lands will be reviewed by a U.S. House Committee today in Washington.  It’s part of a larger bill… HR 1526… on timber related issues.

DeFazio’s bill goes beyond trees and chainsaws, and extends the discussion to whether or not rural counties that have traditionally relied on revenue from logging on public lands can continue to do so.

The Springfield Democrat is proposing to take about half of the 2.4-million acres of O&C land in Oregon and put it in trust that could be logged without having to consider at least some federal environmental laws.  The other half would be set aside in reserves and off-limits to logging.

The legislation was drafted and proposed more than a yea ago and this is the first committee review… no matter what happens in the House, the bill faces a tough time in the U.S. Senate partly because of other bills included in the package.

Gas Prices dip

Retail gas prices moved a little lower this past week, but the national and state average prices remain at some of the highest recorded for late July.

According to Triple-A, the national average for a gallon of regular gas dipped by four cents this past week to $3.62 a gallon… while the Oregon Average went down two-cents and is at $3.88.

In Florence the average fell by three cents in the same period to $3.75 a gallon.

Marie Dodds with Triple-A says U.S. drivers are paying on average eight cents a gallon less than they did on this date two years ago… and 32 cents less than the all-time record for this date set in 2008.

But, she adds, the national average is 14 cents higher than last year at this time.

Red Flags Fly

Area forests moved to a “high” fire danger level yesterday, prompting a plea for visitors to wooded areas to use caution.

Siuslaw National Forest Fire Management Officer Dan Eddy says the hot and dry weather and the commitment of local fire personnel to other parts of the state combined to prompt the declaration.

Eddy says the “High Fire Danger Level” means fuels… grass, shrubs, trees and anything combustible… are so dry that fires can start easily from any cause.

He said there are no current fire restrictions for the public, but he urges caution.

Fire crews are working on containing more than a half dozen major fires in Oregon today… one of the biggest and least contained is the Douglas Complex of several fires in and around the Glendale area in Southern Douglas and Northern Josephine County.