Flood Watch issued… more heavy rains expected

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Siuslaw River expected to crest just below minor flood stage

Heavy rains tonight and tomorrow are likely to drive the Siuslaw River over its banks by early Friday.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch in effect at four AM tomorrow for much of northwestern Oregon.

Several rivers and streams in Oregon are listed as being of “most concern”. Four of those are in the Willamette Valley, but three, the Lower Nehalum, the Pudding, and the Siuslaw River are along the coast.

A flood watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. Landslides and debris flows are possible as well.

Rainfall amounts of three to seven inches in the Coast Range are expected in the 24-hour period beginning late tonight. Already saturated soils and full rivers mean levels are expected to rise sharply in response.

The Siuslaw River is expected to crest just after midnight Thursday, a few inches below the minor flood stage of 18 feet.

Alternative boat launch sought on the Siuslaw

In addition to continuing their search for a new manager this evening, Port of Siuslaw Commissioners will pursue their goal of relieving congestion around the Harbor Street boat launch during summer and fall salmon runs. Commission President Ron Caputo:

Ron Caputo—“It’s really packed. Parking’s a real issue, they park all over the streets in Old Town and we can take some of the pressure off of the Port boat launch it would really be a plus for Florence.”

Port representatives have held conversations with the owner of a spit of land just east of the North Fork Siuslaw River bridge. An existing boat launch facility is already in place, along with plenty of room for parking. They will talk about a possible property purchase this evening in a closed “executive session”. Commissioners will also review additional applications they’ve received for people hoping to become the district’s new manager.

The Commission meets at seven in the Port office on Harbor Street.

Repairs reopen South Jetty Road

Access to an area popular with sports anglers and crabbers; and with surfers; has been restored.

South Jetty Road, five miles west of the intersection with Highway 101, was closed last week because of river bank erosion from storms.

Lisa Romano with the Siuslaw National Forest said repairs have been completed and the road is now safe for travel.

The repairs restored access to the Rock Dock and to the south jetty itself.

Christmas tree pickups scheduled

Christmas may still be more than a week away, but local firefighters want to help you reduce fire danger by hauling off your tree.

They’ll wait until after Christmas of course.

Siuslaw Valley Fire Marshall Sean Barrett says dried Christmas trees can be as explosive as a gallon of gasoline. Leaving it in your home any longer than necessary could put your home and family at risk.

To encourage you to get it down and out of the house as soon as possible, volunteer firefighters will make the rounds through the community picking up trees twice in the week following Christmas.

The first pickup will be on a Tuesday… the 29th… from four PM to 9 PM. The second will be Saturday January 2nd between 9 AM and Noon.

Barrett says they are asking for a $5 donation for each tree picked up. All trees will be mulched. He says you need to call the fire station at 997-3212 to schedule your pickup.

Florence average price for gas at $2

For the first time since 2009 U.S. drivers are paying the lowest average price for regular gas. The national average price is $2.01 this week, down two cents in a week. Locally, the average cash price fell by six cents and is sitting right at the two-dollar mark.

That’s still considerably lower than the statewide average price as measured by Triple-A… that’s down two cents to $2.29 a gallon.

Florence approves recreational marijuana rules

The crowd at Monday’s public hearing concerning land use rules that would regulate recreational marijuana in Florence represented local results of last year’s voter approval.

Joe Henry  – “There were almost equally mixed statements and positions on both sides, both pro and con.”

Mayor Joe Henry said there were many people present who still expressed opposition to any rules enabling recreational marijuana. But, he added, “that ship had already sailed”.

Joe Henry – “The purpose of the meeting was really to determine locations, time place and manner about which four phases of marijuana… growing, processing, wholesaling and and retail could be done in the City of Florence.”

Henry said officials chose the “middle ground” and instead worked on implementing restrictions on just where those uses could be located in Florence. That direction helped city staff draw up rules.

Joe Henry – “The council approved unanimously the recommendations of the staff.”

Following Monday’s hearing, the Planning Commission did opt to recommend what Henry called “minor” changes… those were also approved by the council.