Another destructive fire; Fishing vessel runs aground; Septic loan program; Council to consider major project; LCC celebrates; Oregon Coast Military Museum

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Fire destroys another area home

Another fast-moving fire destroyed an area home over the weekend.  Mike DeRego (di-RAY-go) told firefighters he was at home Saturday afternoon when he discovered the blaze.  He quickly got out, but the home at 83990 Clear Lake Road was gutted.

Firefighters responded at 4:40 Saturday afternoon and remained on scene until after ten pm.  Nobody was injured.

Siuslaw Valley Fire Marshall Sean Barrett said the initial investigation indicated the fire started in the garage, giving it time to build heat and intensity before it was discovered.

A more thorough investigation was conducted yesterday and Barrett said it appeared the fire cause was electrical but he’s not been able to pinpoint anything more specific.

No injuries in fishing vessel grounding

The 50' Ms. Nicani, based in Florence, ran aground early Saturday morning after losing power near the Siuslaw River Entrance. (USCG photo by Sr. Chief Tim Tregoning.)
The 50′ Ms. Nicani, based in Florence, ran aground early Saturday morning after losing power near the Siuslaw River Entrance. (USCG photo by Sr. Chief Tim Tregoning.)

A 50-foot commercial fishing vessel with a full catch of tuna ran aground just north of the Siuslaw River entrance early Saturday morning.

The crew was able to get away from the Ms. Nicanie (nih-KONN-ee) unharmed following the two a.m. grounding.  Coast Guard crews responded… both from the seaward side and the shore… to stand by and monitor the situation.

The diesel fuel and the catch were offloaded at low tide Saturday afternoon.

The Ms. Nicani remained on the beach through the weekend as the owner, Terry Duman, pursued efforts to arrange for salvage and removal.

Staff Public Affairs Officer Deborah Heldt Cordone (KOR-doe-nay) with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, said the public is advised to remain well away from the vessel.  As the tide rises and falls it can become unstable and shift without warning.

Public Works project expected to get approval

Florence City Councilors are being asked to approve a major infrastructure project Monday night.  City Manager Erin Reynolds says it doesn’t yet have a name, but it will have a significant impact.

Erin Reynolds – “One of the largest construction projects we’ve done for a while.  It’ll be well over $2-million when all packaged together between water and waste water and stormwater and streets.  It’s from the intersection of Ninth and Rhody, southeast back to Highway 101, so it’s kind of that professional loop that wraps around the backside of the hospital along the river on Rhododendron Drive.”

It includes installation of a 16-inch water line that will connect to lines already feeding Peace Harbor Medical Center.  That will improve service and provide for more capacity in case of a large fire.  It also will include street surface improvements and installation of a sidewalk extending from Hemlock Street to the Hospital.

The council meets this evening, six pm, at City Hall.

LCC celebrates Florence Center

It was 40 years ago this month that the Lane Community College Florence campus on Oak Street opened up.  Florence director Russ Pierson said the college offered classes in the community for the ten years prior to that.

Russ Pierson – “The Siuslaw Skills Center had already been established and was using different space in town for a few years prior to us having the Florence Center here at this campus.  In 1976 we began operations here at our current location on Oak Street.”

Since that time there have been a few changes and expansions at the center.  A classroom wing was added on the north end, then five years ago they renovated the original portion of the building and added a state of the art science classroom.

Additional funding considered for septic loan program Arnie Roblan

Oregon lawmakers are headed back to Salem later this week for three days of legislative committee meetings.  State Senator Arnie Roblan said one of the items they’ll be talking about will be a bill he sponsored in the past session that will provide a low-interest loan program to help homeowners make repairs to septic systems.  The initial amount set aside by that bill was relatively low.

Arnie Roblan – “Put 250-thousand there, but as you know septic systems… ten, 15-thousand… so, 250 isn’t going to buy a lot.”

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality finalized rules for the program in September.  Since then, Roblan says he’s been approached by several fellow lawmakers about the need to increase the funding.

Arnie Roblan – “Once it gets up and going, it’ll be a revolving fund.  People pay it back, with low interest, and we can use that money again.”

No final decisions will be made during committee meetings but the work done this week will speed the process when the session gets under way in February.

Military Museum hoping to complete honor wall

A renewed effort is being made this month to complete what is called the “freedom and remembrance wall” at the Oregon Coast Military Museum in Florence.  Museum Chief of Staff Geoff Cannon said there are just a few spaces left on the wall that is nearly filled engraved bricks honoring and remembering donors to the museum.

Cannon said there are already 11 brick orders ready to be made and he is hoping the final seven can be sold shortly.

He said the commemorative bricks are $200 each.  When the wall is complete it will honor 276 Veterans and supporters.  Order information is available at the museum on Kingwood Street near the airport… or at the group’s website.