Deputies to resume 24-7 patrols

Coast Radio News
Local News

Lane County completes hiring process to fill open shifts

Lane County Sheriff’s Deputies are finally back on the road, patrolling, 24-hours a day.

Byron Trapp – “It doesn’t fix all of our problems with police staffing.  It eliminates that really dangerous initial delay in an emergency response.  But it doesn’t put more deputies on at any given time.  We’re just filling that shift that’s not been filled for five years.”

Sheriff Byron Trapp said funding for 24-hour patrols was cut because of budget constraints in 2010.  The Board of Commissioners restored funding to provide for 24-hour patrols two years ago, but it’s taken this long to finally complete the hiring of enough deputies to make it happen.

Trapp said only about five in every 100 applicants have met the stringent requirements needed to qualify, and then there was a tough year-long training and vetting  process before the new deputies could hit the road.   Trapp added one more caution:

Byron Trapp – “Doesn’t allow us to respond to and investigate, you know, the property crime problem that we have.  We still have the same number of deputies out there per shift, we’ll need several more, you know, instead of three a shift, we might need, you know, six or eight a shift and then we can respond to every call for service in the county.”

He said there are still only three or four deputies on at any given time.

Turner talks “true crime”

Florence Police Chief Tom Turner delivered a report to the Florence City Council last night in response to citizen comments made two weeks ago about what sounded like a very serious crime… at least for Florence.

Tom Turner – “It had portrayed a recent assault we had on February 6th as a mugging of an elderly gentleman, as the way it was phrased.  And that was absolutely not true.  It was a verbal argument that turned physical. And it was a 30-year old intoxicated victim which is much different than an elderly person, at least in my perspective.

Turner said he’s not sure how this incident somehow transformed into an alleged mugging, but he said social media has been instrumental in perpetuating rumors and making things sound worse than what they really are.

Tom Turner – “I’m glad that we don’t have a ton of activity in Florence.  But we do have some, and the stories and the events that we have get told and retold and ‘social media-ized’ so to speak, and they turn into quite the creation.  They’re way more dramatic than what really happened.

Still, he credits social media with helping them to make two arrests earlier this month in relation to an arson fire.  And he applauded efforts of area residents to get involved and try to help authorities make a difference.

Siuslaw Regional Aquatic Center

An eventual goal of approximately $1-million will be needed to reopen the pool in Mapleton and organizers say they’re back on track to make that happen.

It may take them more than three years though.

Zach Rule is one organizer of the effort to reopen the Siuslaw Regional Aquatics Center.  They’re working on gathering “seed money” with which they’ll use in order to pursue grants outside the community.  Rule said an engineer’s estimate two years ago was that it would take $600-thousand to get the pool into operating condition.  Additionally, he said, the owner of the facility, the Mapleton School District, wants the group to have at least $400-thousand to help pay for the first five years of operation.

One fund raiser is scheduled for Saturday, April 9th at the Florence Elks Lodge in Florence to help get things started again.

Rule says tickets for the dinner and auction are just $15, but they must be purchased in advance at City Lights Cinemas, Old Town Coffee Roasters and Banner Bank in Mapleton.

Ticket sales will be offered only until April 1st.

Dunes City seeking volunteers for Mother’s Day weekend

The call is going out once again for volunteers to help stage and marshal the fourth annual Oregon Dunes Triathlon and Duathlon.

The race has grown in popularity and features an Olympic length course that is certified by the U.S. Olympic Organizing Committee.

Dunes City sponsors and organizes the race, in conjunction with Best in the West Racing.  Interim City Administrator Jaimie Mills says “volunteers provide invaluable assistance” in staging the races.  Volunteers will be needed from six a.m. to one p.m. on race day, Saturday, May 7th.  The work is not strenuous and can give volunteers a “front row” view of the action.

Mills said they are offering a $250 award to the group that organizes and registers the most volunteers on the day.

She says for more information you can call Dunes City Hall… Monday through Thursday during business hours, at 541-997-3338.

Gas prices

The average cash price for a gallon of regular gas increased by two cents this week in Florence… it’s $1.95.

Regionally, the statewide average added six cents a gallon and is at $2.15… the national average price went up four cents and is the highest it’s been since January at $1.98 a gallon.

Marie Dodds with Triple-A said prices are climbing “largely due to seasonal increases in fuel demand and reduced production at some refineries” because of scheduled maintenance.

Interact Easter Egg Hunt

The annual Florence Community Easter Egg Hunt is set for Saturday morning at Miller Park.  This year there will be more than 4-thousand plastic eggs filled with candy… and some with special prizes inside.

The hunt is open to all children between the ages of one and ten years old.  The Siuslaw High School Interact Club, with the help of the Rotary Club, hide the eggs and marshal the hunt.

Organizers stress that the hunt begins at ten o’clock sharp… and it’s over in just a few minutes so don’t be late.