Concerns raised about new home inventory
Home sales in the Florence area surged in 2015 with 484 closed sales… that’s an increase of 74 from the year before and the highest since 2004 when there were 561 homes sold in the area. The 2015 total is more than the number of homes sold in 2008 and 2009 combined.
Tawfik Ahdab, an appraiser and real estate market analyst with the Pacific Valuation Group, says there have been steady increases each year since 2012. He recently surveyed local Realtors and most of them expressed optimism for continued growth in the market.
But, he added, there are some concerns. Two brokers, he said, spoke about a possible “bottleneck” in future sales because there may not be enough new homes being built.
Fewer than three-percent of the sales in 2015 were of homes built in the last two years. That means there are very few new homes being built and almost none of them in the lower price range. That’s what will help stimulate the market and keep it healthy in the new year.
Damage prompting removal of dunes and forest pay stations
Managers with the Siuslaw National Forest and Oregon Dunes Recreation Area will begin removing several fee collection stations at remote sites where day use fees are charged.
But, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay. It just means you’ll have to have a pass in hand before you go.
Recreation Coordinator Tom Johnson also oversees the area’s fee collection program. He says there are fee stations that have been repeatedly vandalized and stolen so they’ll be removing many of them.
Johnson says the fees collected for day-use areas are important and are reinvested locally.
Fee stations will be removed by April of this year, but he cautioned, you’ll still need a recreation pass. He said he is also working on increasing the number of commercial locations where people can buy passes.
Siuslaw Pathways leaning in for more discussion
After a year of exploration and conversation throughout the community, the Siuslaw Pathways Program wants to hear from more people about a proposed 10-year “vision” for the area.
Members of the Pathways program convened ten focus groups in Florence and Mapleton… each consisting of between ten and 20 individuals… to talk about things like business, education, and health care.
The “Vision Action Team” will host two general community meetings… the first will be Thursday, the 21st at Mapleton High School; the second a week later, on the 28th, at the Florence Events Center. Both will begin with an open house from five to six with a formal presentation and conversation beginning at six.
Siuslaw Pathways is a cooperative community effort supported by Florence Rotary, the Siuslaw Public Library, the City of Florence and the Ford Family Foundation.
Main Street Approach
Downtown revitalization will be the theme Wednesday afternoon during a special presentation by the coordinator of “Oregon Main Street”. Sheri Stewart will talk about the “main street approach” to downtown revitalization. She has 25 years experience in working with main street communities and helping communities to revitalize and preserve historic downtown areas… while at the same time creating a business district that becomes a gathering place for the community.
Steward will present her message at the Florence Events Center Wednesday afternoon from 2:30 to 4:00 PM.
Plastic now accepted for garbage dumping
If you haul your own garbage, you can now pay for dumping it using a credit or debit card. Lane County solid waste transfer stations in Florence and seven other locations began using them earlier this month.
Dan Hurley, the Waste Management Division manager said most people use credit or debit cards on a regular basis. By updating from a “cash-only” system, it will be more convenient.
Hurley said there are seven smaller rural stations without electricity that will continue to accept only cash or checks… four of those are in Western Lane County: Mapleton, Swisshome, Walton and Low Pass.
Siuslaw Awards to be handed out Wednesday
Florence’s First and Future First Citizens for 2015; as well as the recipients of several business awards handed out by the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, will be honored tomorrow night at the Florence Events Center.
The Siuslaw Awards include the Stu Johnston Business of the Year. This year there are two nominees… Gary Foglio Trucking and Homegrown Pub.
Bill Craig, Geraldine Lucio, Janet Snow, and Gayle Waiss are the First Citizen Nominees and Hannah Bartlett, Holly Hicks, Mikaela Siegel and Alexis Scheer are the nominees for Future First Citizen.
The Siuslaw Awards Dinner is tomorrow evening at the Florence Events Center.