Wet and windy in the forecast; Eco Dev update coming; Remains categorized; SOS gets funding for children’s services; and Ambulance-Fire agreement moves to action stage

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Storm prep takes center stage

Florence public works crews have been hard at work preparing for the first and potentially largest series of storms of the season this week.

Workers have been busy cleaning out catch basins and curb inlets to ensure the stormwater system has the capacity to handle the severe weather expected to arrive today.

City spokesperson Megan Messmer says crews are also paying close attention to some of the known “problem” areas that have experience problems in past storms to avoid any major issues from the storm.

The National Weather Service is forecasting heavy rains through tomorrow morning, along with high winds… the highest expected this evening.

Friday should be relatively calm, but still wet.  Then another storm is expected to swing through the area by Saturday afternoon.

Economic Development update

Mayor Joe Henry and City Manager Erin Reynolds will give an update today on the city’s economic development efforts.  The duo will present a program at the noon Chamber of Commerce Forum today at Best Western Pier Point Inn.

Chamber director Bettina Hannigan said they will also provide information on the city planning and permit process.

Lunch is available for $14.  It is open to the public.

SOS gets financial assistance to help with victim children

Siuslaw Outreach Services will receive grant funding totaling $50,268 over the next three years to assist children who are victims of child abuse and sexual assault.

SOS director David Wiegan said the grant was actually awarded to the non-profit agency Kidsfirst in Eugene.  That organization works with the Lane County District Attorney’s office providing assistance to child victims.

Wiegan said SOS has received similar ongoing grants in the last 18-months through partnerships with WomenSpace and Sexual Assault Support Services.

All three agreements allow for local advocacy, as well as for quicker response in providing services to children.

Gender of remains determined

The identity of the remains discovered October 1st by a fisherman on the Umpqua River are yet to be determined, but officials appear to be making progress.

Lt. Chris Merrifield with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said the state Medical Examiner determined this week the “skeletonized remains” found near the former International Paper Mill are those of a female, likely between the age of 30 and 45.  The examiner said due to the advanced state of decomposition, the height, weight and ethnicity are currently unknown.  He said the woman likely died between one and three years ago.

Officials will continue to make identification through the use of DNA and dental records to make a final ID.

Fire and Ambulance management agreement moving to action stage

The final links in a cooperative management agreement between Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance District have been locked into place.

The second of two key emergency response positions has been filled.

Long time Western Lane Paramedic Matt House will assume the position of Operations Manager with the ambulance November 2nd.  Ambulance board president Mike Webb said the selection of House, a long time paramedic and supervisor, will help assure the ambulance district continues to fill the mission of “providing quick, efficient, professional emergency medical services”.

Webb also said House will be a “key leadership asset” to Siuslaw Valley Chief Jim Langborg to effectively lead both districts.

Earlier this week the fire district announced the hiring of Jim Dickerson who will take a similar role, managing operations for the fire department.