Emergency Dept opens; 101 south paving to be done this week; LCC Outward Ventures; Two EQ off coast; Oregon Senators call for reinstatement of payments; RAIN to catalyze ventures on the coast

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Peace Harbor Emergency Department Open

Even though it’s only been six-months, Dr. Willie Foster says he can hardly remember how bad the old Emergency Department at Peace Harbor Medical Center was.   Not that he wants to be reminded…

The newly expanded and remodeled department gained final approval from building and health authorities late last week and by Saturday the 9 treatment and two triage rooms were filled.

Foster, the medical director of the Emergency Department, was proudly showing off the facility yesterday afternoon during a private ‘walk-through’ for many of the donors who helped pay for the more than $5-million project that actually began about six-years ago.

The project almost never got off the ground.  As the planning got underway in 2010 it was determined the medical center’s Central Utility Plant… the heating, cooling, and electrical heart of the hospital… was woefully inadequate, and would need to be upgraded.  In fact, according to center administrator Rick Yecny, Peace Harbor was in danger of losing its “critical care” designation.  PeaceHealth, the parent organization, funded a separate $5-million upgrade that was completed two years ago.

Repaving and Striping south of Florence slated for completion this week

Motorists on Highway 101 between the Siuslaw River and the Douglas County Line, seven miles south of Florence, can expect up to 20-minute delays through Thursday this week as crews put the finishing touches on a resurfacing project.

Work began in early spring on a “grind-inlay” project through the stretch.  The paving portion has been done for some time, but crews have been working on striping and grinding out “rumble strips” in the center line.  Those rumble strips are intended to alert drivers when they stray across the centerline and have been shown to reduce crashes.

No waves, no damage from two offshore quakes

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded two moderate earthquakes off the Oregon and California coasts late Saturday and early Sunday.  Neither triggered a tsunami warning.

The first quake was measured at 5-point-0 and was about 93 miles southwest of Gold Beach at about ten p.m. Saturday.  The second quake came five hours later in the same vicinity and was recorded at 4-point-6.

No damage was reported from either shaker and it’s not known if anyone on shore felt them.

Outward Ventures on the farm

Lane Community College’s Outward Ventures program kicks off for the fall term this week with a tour of Winter Green Farm in Noti.  The nearly 200-acre farm produces a variety of organic produce and beef and was one of the first organically certified farms in Oregon.

Another Outward Ventures trip is set for October First to the Wildcraft Cider Works in Eugene.

The two trips are just part of the regular adult education and enrichment curriculum available at LCC in Florence.  Registration information and details on future trips can be had by calling the LCC Florence Center.

Call for reinstatement of payment programs made by Oregon lawmakers

Oregon’s Senate delegation has joined with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in calling for a reauthorization of two funding programs aimed at assisting U.S. counties with large swaths of federal land.  Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and 27 other senators signed a letter to Senate leadership late last week seeking the action.

The Payment in Lieu of Taxes program has benefitted 19-hundred counties in 49-states.  It provides cash “in lieu” of the taxes that might have been levied on federal property if it were privately owned.  That money goes to fund firefighting and law enforcement efforts.

The other program, the Secure Rural Schools, offers cash payments to counties affected by the dramatic reduction in timber cutting on federally owned and managed lands.  Traditionally, local jurisdictions have received a portion of the logging revenue to pay for schools, roads and law enforcement.

Venture catalyst for the coast

A $50-thousand grant from the Ford Family Foundation will be used to help fund a “venture catalyst” for coastal communities.  Oregon RAIN, the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network is working with Lane County and the City of Florence on economic development efforts.

The City of Florence will kick in $30-thousand over the next two years and Lincoln County will pay $17-thousand over a 24-month period to help pay for the position.

Florence City Manager Erin Reynolds said she is excited that there will be a single person dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs in job creation on the coast.

Other cities are also anticipated to step up and help fund the part time position, including Lincoln City and Toledo.

The job is expected to be filled by November 1st.