Oktoberfest; North Fork Road; Voter Registration; Re-Vision; County Payments; and Oregon RAIN

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Oktoberfest celebration set for Florence…

It’s time for Oktoberfest in Florence; the annual celebration of German music, dance, food, and beer.  Instead of a German Beer Hall, the venue will be the Florence Events Center.

There will be traditional German music Saturday from the Alpine Echoes Band and Sam’s Polka Gems.  But, the T-Club Band from Eugene will headline the bandstand for two sets Saturday evening bringing their combination of dance, reggae and rock to mix.

The Tyrolean Dancers and Junction City’s Scandia Dancers will perform, but it’s the food and beer that will also be featured.

Mayor Joe Henry will reportedly “tap” the first keg at 11 Saturday morning.  There’ll be plenty of Bratwurst available… and for those who don’t want to hoist a stein, there will also be some wine.

One other popular attraction at Oktoberfest… the traditional Weiner Dog Races at three o’clock.

The T-Club will play two sets… the first at 5:30, the festival wraps up at eight pm.

North Fork link to Highway 36 reopens

After a 9-month closure the portion of North Fork Siuslaw Road that connects with Highway 36 at Brickerville above Mapleton has reopened.

A landslide December 18th, 2015 prompted closure.  Several attempts to clear it and reopen the road were unsuccessful because of the unstable hillside.

Lane County spokesperson Devon Ashbridge said the decision was made to wait until summer and drier conditions before making permanent repairs.  Crews were able to remove trees above the roadway over the summer.  She said that will reduce the danger of future landslide risks when the ground becomes saturated with the winter rains.

September 27th is National Voter Registration Day

There are just three weeks remaining to register to vote in order to participate in the November 8th General Election.

Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart says if you want to vote this fall and you are not registered, there are several ways for you to do so.

One of the easiest and fastest ways is by visiting the website maintained by the Oregon Secretary of State.  Betschart says www-dot-Oregon votes-dot-org is a “great tool”.  If you believe you are already registered, you can double check.  If you are not registered, you can go ahead and do so at that site.

One hitch though is you must have an Oregon driver’s license in order to register online.

If not, you’ll need to complete and submit a voter registration card to the county elections office no later than close of business October 18th.

Registration forms are available online or at many public facilities.

ReVision Florence

The process of designing a “facelift” for the core downtown area along Highway 101 is continuing in Florence.  The “Re-Vision” Florence project will take place in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s repaving of 101 between the Siuslaw River and Ninth Street in 2018.

Megan Messmer with the City of Florence said they are seeking input from the public in advance of the presentation of the next conceptual design.

A public review of the project is set for October 13th.  Prior to that, Messmer says, residents can go to the City of Florence website, click on the “re-vision” Florence link… Once there, you can review the project and then you’ll be asked to complete a brief survey.

Restoration of county payments called for

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.

Coastal catalyst funded for RAIN

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.