Siuslaw Pathways Project Nearing Completion

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Vision document expected in March

Final comments on a year-long process to create a “community vision” for the Siuslaw Valley will be taken Thursday evening in Florence. Becky Goehring is one of about a dozen area residents that have been meeting regularly as part of the “Siuslaw Pathways Project”. When they’re done, she says, the vision will be available for anyone to access.

Becky Goehring – “So it becomes something that any organization can use. The city could use; the library could use; other organizations that are working on planning and strategic planning to say, you know, here’s all this information that’s been gathered and what people are looking at and hoping for in our community and it may help guide some of the planning that’s been going on.”

Thursday’s meeting at the Florence Events Center will resemble one held last week in Mapleton.

Becky Goehring – “From five to six it’s an open house, so we’ll have six stations where people can kind of wander around and look at, you know, this is what we’ve learned so far in arts and culture; these are the main ideas or the thoughts that have come out from the work that we’ve done. These are the main ideas in education, business and economy, natural resources, health and human services.”

After the formal presentation from six to seven, there will be another hour of “open house.” The final document will be available by mid march.

Jail audit shows officials keeping 2013 promise

The second annual audit of the use of funds from a 2013 voter approved levy to fund jail operations and youth services in Lane County shows elected leaders are keeping their promise to maintain a minimum amount of jail beds. Sheriff Byron Trapp says they’ve gone above and beyond…

Byron Trapp – “We actually have exceeded that substantially. In this last fall and September we were able to open an additional number of jail beds. So our current capacity is 297 jail beds for local offenders and defendants which is significantly above the 255 minimum required under the levy.”

Before the levy’s approval dangerous offenders were routinely released before completing their sentences. That’s if they even showed up for trial.

Byron Trapp – “And the most important piece to this, to continue to remember is how, what a poor system we had in 2013 in the fact that we were releasing significant numbers of violent felons and measure 11 defendants and offenders, from our jail, in violation of law actually.”

One other promise made: that the Lane County Commission provide adequate general fund money in addition to the $15-million each year provided by the levy. The audit shows they have met that obligation.

Planning Commission considering medical marijuana

An application to locate what would be the city’s second medical marijuana dispensary will be the subject of a public hearing tomorrow night. The Florence Planning Commission will look at the application by Dennis Smith to locate is dispensary in the Dunes Village Shopping Center between True Value and the Dunes Café.

A staff report on the request for design review and a conditional use permit shows Smith has or can meet all of the necessary requirements.

One of those requirements would be to enhance the landscaping already installed at the center.

The Planning Commission meets at seven pm tomorrow at city hall.

Dunes City Council opening

Dunes City is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy on the city council.

It was created when former councilor Jaime Mills resigned to take the position of city administrator last fall.

Her term would have expired one year from now. Whoever is appointed to the position would have the same term.

All applicants must be Dunes City residents; in order to be considered for appointment they must apply no later than noon Thursday, February 4th.

King Logging honored by industry

A locally based timber company picked up a pair of different awards last week. Family owned and operated R&R King Logging earned the Southern Oregon Area Operator of the Year designation from the Oregon Department of Forestry. They were singled out for exceeding regulatory requirements in protecting a large fish-bearing stream where they were working. Crews used a suspended cable system to move logs over spans up to 4-thousand feet to prevent damage to streamside vegetation. That award makes the company one of four regional Operators of the Year. They will be honored by the Forestry Department in March.

That wasn’t the only good news for the company this week. The Associated Oregon Loggers recognized Jennifer Waggoner as the “Woman of the Year” for her efforts on behalf of the timber industry.

Waggoner is the fourth generation of R&R King Logging. The family purchased the logging operations of Erskine Lumber Company in 1968.   They now employ 75 people with a direct payroll of $3.6-million… and account for another three million in sub-contractors payroll.

Free tax prep provided

Volunteer tax preparers will once again be offering assistance to seniors and low income taxpayers in the Florence area. Volunteer coordinator Frank Williams says the service, operated by AARP, will be available Mondays and Thursdays beginning February 1st at Siuslaw Public Library in Florence.

Williams said eligible participants need to bring last year’s return, a photo ID, and your social security card.

No appointments are necessary, but Williams adds they may not be able to accommodate everyone on days when traffic is high. He also says users of the free service need to park in the Cross Road Assembly of God parking lot across 9th Street.