Lane County Considers Vehicle Registration Fee

13 November 2014

Officials Discuss Whether or Not to Sent to Voters

Lane County Commissioners have spent a great deal of time over the past two days discussing the possibility of referring a $35 annual registration fee to vehicles to voters next spring.

If approved, it would generate just over $11-million a year. 60-percent of that, about six-and-a-half-million, would go to the County for exclusive use on roads and bridges. The other 40-percent would be divided between incorporated cities in Lane County based on population. They would be able to use it for what they wish.

It’s estimated Florence would receive about $143-thousand each year; Dunes City about 22-grand. In Florence, that funding, along with an existing $3 per month street utility fee could be seen as a viable replacement for the estimated $300-thousand a year that would have come from a fuel tax.  Florence voters turned that down earlier this month.

Lane County Commissioners are continuing their discussion as to whether or not to send the matters to voters.

Motorcycle vs. Car Injures Florence Man

Police say it was fortunate Todd Rickford wasn’t injured more seriously.

As it is, the 50 year old Florence motorcyclist suffered injuries to his hand and leg; but his helmet likely prevented more serious injuries in a crash earlier this week.

Police say a car driven by 59-year old Robert Bird pulled onto Highway 101 from Munsel Lake Road just before six pm Monday, directly into the path of the oncoming northbound Rickford.

Rickford struck Bird’s car and was thrown from the motorcycle.

Initial fears that his injuries were very serious worried police who began a thorough documentation and reconstruction of the crash scene.

Those fears were not borne out, however.

No citations have been issued, but the investigating officer said they are being considered.

Cost of Driving Takes a Dive

Oregon Drivers are benefiting from the nation’s largest monthly drop in gas prices.

The average price, according to Triple-A, for a gallon of regular unleaded in Oregon is down 47 cents in the past month to $3.07.

The average cash price in Florence held steady this past week, but remains 15-cents less than the Oregon average at $2.92… that’s also a penny a gallon below the national average price.

Prices are just under three dollars a gallon in the Medford area. In Portland the average is at $3.04.

Declines have been fueled by a drop in crude oil prices. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries; OPEC; is expected to decide later this month whether to cut production in order to strengthen prices.

Attractive Beggars Should be Avoided

One of the most distinctive birds on the Oregon Coast is the brown pelican. Its famous large throat pouch and gregarious personality make it a favorite; but, that gregarious personality can cause humans to endanger the birds unnecessarily.

Brown pelicans usually feed by scooping up small fish in their large bills while swimming in the ocean. This time of year, they should be headed south to winter breeding grounds in Baja California.

But, the opportunistic feeders can learn to beg for food, prompting people to feel sorry for them. Doug Cottam, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, says feeding the beggars can be unhealthy for the birds and even discourage them from continuing their migration.

Whale Watching Spoken Here

Volunteers for a twice-annual program to help visitors to the Oregon Coast spot migrating Gray whales are being sought once again.

Three annual training sessions are offered to aid volunteers in their task. The first session, December 6th at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport is nearly full. That class will be taught by Dr. Bruce Mate, an expert on whales and the director of the Oregon State Marine Mammal Institute. Biologist Carrie Newell will deliver the training sessions January tenth in Brookings and February seventh in Tillamook.

Information on how to volunteer can be found at www-dot-WhaleSpoken-dot-org. and click on training dates.

Oregon’s “Killer Coastline”

It’s being billed as the story of “Beauty and the Beast”… a tale of how the same geological forces that threaten our lives with earthquakes and tsunamis, also nourishes our spirits by creating the magnificent coastline of the Oregon Coast.

That’s the story that will be revealed Saturday afternoon at the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center north of Florence by Dr. Robert Lillie.

The Oregon State University Geosciences Professor will speak at the center at two pm Saturday. The talk is free, but there is a $5 day-use access fee.