23 July 2015
Fire Chief gets back to work
Jim Langborg was glad to be back on the job as Chief of Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue yesterday. But he acknowledged he has a big job ahead of him.
The Chief had been told last week he would be fired because some on the district’s board of directors “wanted to go in a different direction”. That direction was never really made clear by President John Carnahan, but the resulting fallout made it clear that there were some deep divisions in the agency.
The board reversed their decision Tuesday night; putting Langborg back in uniform by the next day. He read a prepared statement:
Jim Langborg – “Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue has gone through a tough week, but I take great comfort in knowing that the men and women of this fire district are highly dedicated professionals who share my passion for serving this community.”
One of the biggest challenges will be in getting his top managers… chief officers and captains… in line to follow him. Carnahan is one of those. He is a long time volunteer Battalion Chief. He has taken a leave of absence from the department. That began Tuesday.
Two year safety project beginning north of Florence
The first six miles of a long awaited project to improve safety along a 17-mile stretch of Highway 101 north of Florence will get underway next month.
The Cook’s Chasm to Sutton Creek project will replace pavement, widen curves and make other improvements that will benefit bicyclists and pedestrians as well as motorists according to Rick Little with the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Center line rumble strips, which Little says have been effective in reducing crashes, will be installed along the entire project by the time it is completed in late 2016.
Work on the stretch of the highway between Twin Lakes Store, just north of Florence, and the Cape Creek Tunnel will bring single lane restrictions between August and October of this year. The other part of the project… from Heceta Head to Cape Perpetua… is set for next fall.
Pair of consultants to work on improving Florence
The Florence Urban Renewal Agency gave the go ahead last night to finalize contracts with consultants on two separate projects aimed at improving Florence’s downtown.
Leland Consulting Group will provide economic analysis and help develop strategies aimed at securing private investment in the Historic Old Town District and adjacent areas.
Murray Smith and Associates will provide professional services for the Highway 101 “streetscaping” project.
The budget for both consultants will be $100-thousand each. City Manager Erin Reynolds must still finalize contracts with both firms before work can begin.
Roughing it at Siltcoos Outlet
Campers staying in Siuslaw National Forest campgrounds in the Siltcoos Corridor are going to be truly “roughing” it for the next couple of weeks.
A break in an underground water line serving Driftwood two, Lagoon, and Waxymyrtle campgrounds was detected Wednesday. The exact location of the leak is not known, but it prompted the closure of all flush toilets, showers and water faucets in the three campgrounds that serve as a base of operations for many off-road enthusiasts who access the northern portion of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area south of Florence.
Paul Meznarich, with the Siuslaw National Forest, says portable toilets have been brought in; and campers will be required to provide their own drinking water until the leak can be found and repaired.
Meznarich said they hope to restore full services to the campground by the end of July.
West coast gas prices remain highest in country
The average cash price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Florence held steady this week at $2.97. Triple-A says Oregon’s statewide average price decreased two cents, but is still 16 cents higher than the local average at $3.13.
The national average price is $2.75 a gallon.
Marie Dodds with Triple-A said west coast prices remain high… the average in California has shot up by 44-cents in the past two weeks and is the highest in the country at $3.87. Oregon’s average is sixth highest. South Carolina remains the lowest in the country at $2.37.
City Council to discuss retail marijuana
Recreational sales of marijuana through the city of Florence’s only medical marijuana dispensary may be allowed by state law come October First, but it’s not an automatic.
That’s what City Councilors heard from their city manager Monday night.
Erin Reynolds said there are some things that need to be discussed and decided before that can happen.
The council does not have to accept recreational sales through medical facilities. But to reject it, they would have to decide before the October 1st deadline. They also have the option of sending a complete recreational sales ban to city voters. That wouldn’t be until November of next year.
If recreational sales are to be permitted, the council needs to also discuss and consider a possible three percent sales tax.
Reynolds is suggesting a council work session on the matter, giving elected officials a chance to hash out their options.