Economic Development; Robbery Suspect Sought; Bridge Opens; Voters Delay

Coast Radio News
Local News
27 October 2014

Economic Development Could Be First Focus for New Council

Helping to boost the local economy will be one of the major goals of the new council following next week’s election. Temporary City Manager Larry Patterson:

Larry Patterson – “It’s one of the topics that we’ve heard in this campaign, as well as, I know the present council’s talked about, and that’s economic development. And there’s a lot of work that needs to be done there if we’re truly going to take a hard look at that issue and try to put something together.”

Patterson says the first and best step is to ‘look within’.

Larry Patterson – “You can look at your existing businesses and industries, see which ones may be willing or have some issues about expansion and what the barriers are and see if you can clear some of those.”

Once that is accomplished, the word would spread that Florence is “business friendly” and a good place to live.

Updated suspect description, photo and possible vehicle released

Police released two photos of a suspect and her possible vehicle in a robbery at Oregon Pacific Bank's Safeway Branch in Florence Friday afternoon.
Police released two photos of a suspect and her possible vehicle in a robbery at Oregon Pacific Bank’s Safeway Branch in Florence Friday afternoon.

Police are continuing their investigation into a robbery Friday at the Safeway branch of Oregon Pacific Bank.

Lieutenant John Pitcher said witnesses described the suspect as being a white female in her mid to late 40s. Surveillance photos show she has a broad nose and was wearing glasses with a design on a metal frame. She is approximately 5’4” and heavy set with light skin and a round face.

The suspect was wearing a medium gray hooded sweat shirt, blue jeans and brown shows.

A suspect vehicle is also being sought. Police believe the woman may have been driving a darker green Ford Explorer with a roof rack, running boards and alloy wheels. The vehicle was last seen northbound on Highway 101 leaving Safeway.

About 1:45 Friday the suspect presented a note demanding cash. A bank employee immediately complied and the robbery was very “quick” according to bank President Ron Green, who said nobody was injured.

No weapon was displayed.

Voters Taking Time

With just over a week remaining until the final ballots are counted, voters in Lane County are taking their time in deciding.

As of late Friday afternoon just over 28-thousand ballots had been returned to Lane County… that’s approximately 13-percent of the more than 211-thousand ballots that were mailed out two weeks ago.

Voters in Lane County and across Oregon are deciding seven ballot measures. Two of those were referred to the voters by lawmakers. 86 would create a state fund for people seeking “post-secondary” education and 87 would allow state judges to teach at public universities and serve in the National Guard.

Ballot Measure 88 was referred from the legislature also, but it was forced by petition… if approved it would allow the state to issue driver’s licenses to people who cannot prove they are legally in the country.

Four measures are on the ballot through initiative petitions… 89 would add an equal rights amendment to the state constitution; 90 would create a “top-two” primary system regardless of party affiliation; 91 would legalize recreational marijuana; and 92 would require labeling of genetically modified foods.

McCulloch Bridge Reopens

Traffic began moving on the McCulloch Bridge over Coos Bay yesterday morning. High winds damaged a construction enclosure being used by crews in a corrosion abatement project Wednesday afternoon. Gusts shifted the top of the tall structure as much as 60 feet creating an unsafe situation.

Traffic was re-routed around East Bay Drive during the closure.

It’s not clear whether or not the death of a Florence man Wednesday afternoon was related to the accident. 52-year old Mark Fortune was a mechanic working for the bridge contractor. He died when his pickup fell into the bay from another work platform Wednesday evening.