16 June 2015
Pacific Pines RV Storage Burns
The large RV and boat storage facility at Pacific Pines RV Park on 42nd street was heavily damaged this morning by fire. The contents of several units were destroyed; boats and RVs sustained varying degrees of heat and smoke damage.
One person was reportedly treated for smoke inhalation.
The blaze was discovered around 6:45 AM with firefighters arriving within a few minutes. They found heavy black smoke billowing from the west side of the building. They knocked down the blaze quickly, but then had to go through each individual unit, opening the doors like so many cans of sardines. They cleared smoke and assessed damage in the outlying units.
Western Lane Ambulance District stores a surplus ambulance in the end of the building furthest away from the main blaze. It appeared to be relatively undamaged, but was covered with a layer of soot and ash. No cause has yet been determined.
More visitors mean more cash for marketing
The Florence City Council had to make an ‘end-of-the-year’ budget adjustment last night. The city has collected 13-percent more in transient room taxes this year than anticipated. That’s good news says City Manager Erin Reynolds.
Erin Reynolds – “It’s pretty much a one-to-one correlation. So if you have 13-percent more in transient room tax, it’s a good indicator that you had about 13-percent more visitors in the area.”
Florence has a marketing contract with the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber automatically gets 40-percent of the room taxes to spend on marketing the community to outside areas in order to attract more visitors. With the 13-percent overage in collections, that means the Chamber will get an additional $15-thousand.
Fire Season declared in Western Oregon
All of Western Oregon is now officially in fire season. The West Lane, South Cascades, and Northwest regions of the state entered that condition this morning.
Greg Wagenblast with the Oregon Department of Forestry says conditions “are setting up for increased fire danger”. He noted the weather was in what he called a “cool-down” period right now, but hot weather is forecast to return soon.
The declaration of fire season brings certain restrictions on recreational and work activities in the forest. Industrial operations, such as logging, are required to have firefighting equipment on site. Wagenblast said restrictions may vary so he advised to check with the nearest ODF office for specific rules.
Additional assistance for low income households
Low income households that have not already received assistance with their utility bills this year may still be able to take advantage of the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program.
It’s administered locally by Siuslaw Outreach Services.
LIHEAP (Lie-heep) gives assistance to families and individuals for paying electric, propane or oil bills.
Housing Assistance Manager Bob Teter (TEE-turr) didn’t say how much extra assistance they have. But, he said, it is limited and will be awarded on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis.
Households that already received LIHEAP assistance between November 1st and March 31st are not eligible.
Teter says interested applicants can contact S.O.S. on 12th Street for more details.
Gas prices take unexpected increase
The average cash price for a gallon of regular gasoline increased four cents locally this week. It’s now at $2.88. Oregon’s statewide average, as measured by Triple-A, went up by the same amount, but it’s 19-cents higher than the local average at $3.07.
The national average price: $3.80 a gallon.
Michael Green, Triple-A Public Relations, said the price hike this week was unexpected. Experts believed that gas prices were already at the seasonal high. But a decline in gasoline stocks over the past week because of high demand and persistent refinery problems has caused the jump.
Legislative session hitting home stretch
Oregon lawmakers are nearing the final stretch of the current legislative session. Constitutionally, they have until July 11th, but legislative leaders are hoping to wrap up by June 30th.
State Senator Arnie Roblan says that may be optimistic.
Senator Arnie Roblan – “We’ve got almost a month that we could be here. There’s a lot of little things that people feel like they need to get done. Many of the budgets yet; we got the big one out. One of the big accomplishments was, I think, getting the K-12 budget out early.”
Roblan said that was very important to get out of the way; but it wasn’t the final word on education spending. He said improved economic forecasts that have come out since the K-12 budget approval mean schools will get additional funding above what they expected.