5th district Senate race still up in the air; balance at state capitol nearing equilibrium; gas prices steady; Ambulance District wins levy approval; Veterans Day parade;

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Anderson won’t concede, neither will Roblan claim victiory

The Fifth District Oregon Senate seat is still up in the air.  Arnie Roblan, the incumbent Democrat from Coos Bay, leads with a 294 vote margin.  Some media outlets have named him the winner, but Roblan says he’s not ready to declare victory.

 Arnie Roblan – “I actually feel pretty comfortable but we’re going to have to wait until all the votes are in and the Secretary of State certifies it.”

His Republican challenger, Dick Anderson, says neither will he concede until the results are certified.

Election workers in all seven counties that are covered by the Fifth District are still going through ballots and the final vote may change.  According to election laws in Oregon, an automatic recount would be triggered if the difference between the two candidates drops below two-tenths-of-one-percent of all the votes cast in the election.  Out of the 62,149 votes cast, that puts the trigger at 124 votes… Anderson says he just needs to pick up an additional 170 votes to get to that point.

Nearing a balance in the state Capitol

The Democrat majority in both the Oregon House and Senate eroded slightly in this week’s general election.  In the Senate, Republicans were going hard after seats in two districts and have appeared to take one of those in Southern Oregon.  Along the coast, the push was on to unseat incumbent Coos Bay Democrat Arnie Roblan.  As of this morning, he still held a lead of less than 300 votes.

The Oregonian/Oregon Live declared Roblan the winner this morning, but his challenger, Dick Anderson, said he hasn’t conceded.  He said he too will wait until the very end.

In order to trigger an automatic recount of ballots, the difference has to be less than one-half-of-one-percent of the votes cast in the contest… that means the trigger would be about 120 votes difference.  Anderson said he just needs to cut the difference by about 175 votes to get to that point.

The results will not be final until certified by the Secretary of State.

More on that…

Things will likely be a bit more contentious at the state capitol next year, but there are also chances of more non-partisan cooperation.

The Oregon House will remain in Democrat control as that party was able to hang on to 35 of the 60 seats in this week’s election.  Things are a little closer in the Senate with the Republicans perched on the edge of at least eliminating the Democrat “super majority of 18 out of 30 seats.

Along the coast, Arnie Roblan holds a slim margin… fewer than 300 votes… over Republican challenger Dick Anderson.  In Southern Oregon, Republican Alan DeBoer has a narrow lead over Democrat Tonia Moro.

If both races hold, that would mean a 17-to-13 majority in the upper house for Democrats.

The balance in both houses means parties will have to work more closely together as neither would have the votes needed to completely block… or push through… a particular piece of legislation.

Pool backers hoping for fundraising boost

Leaders of the effort to reopen the Siuslaw Regional Aquatic Center have opened up a “go-fund-me” account to accept donations.  The group is hoping to raise $500-thousand.  To donate, simply go to GoFundMe online and enter Mapleton, Oregon in the community line.

Lauren Hesse says donations there will go directly into the group’s account at Banner Bank.  She said large donations can be deposited directly into the group’s “capital fund account” to be held until they raise enough to move forward with the project.

The pool has been empty and unused for several years.  In addition to resealing the interior of the pool, the facility’s physical plant and the building would need to be renovated.

The financial goal also includes operating funds for at least the first year.

Ambulance District wins levy

Locally, voters overwhelmingly said yes to continuation of an operating levy for Western Lane Ambulance District.  The levy was first approved eight years ago and would have expired this year if not given a green light.

District board president Mike Webb said the results were a ‘vote of confidence’.

Mike Webb – “We’re a very busy district and volume is going up.  We have a lot of demand for our services and it’s good to see the public is supporting us.  This helps us do what we need to do to try to keep people safe as best we can.”

Approval means continuation of about $800-thousand a year in property tax funding to help pay for operations.

Dunes City Vote to be counted by hand

It may be several days before we know who was elected to the Dunes City Council.  There was only one declared candidate for the three open positions.  Tom Mallen was appointed to the post late last year and was elected Tuesday.

That leaves the other two spots open.  It could take several days before the Lane County Elections Department begins sifting through and tabulating the 170 write-ins that were cast.

Once the top two are identified, they will be notified and formally requested to accept or reject the election… if they accept they would be sworn in in January along with Mallen and incumbent mayor Rebecca Ruede.

Dunes City Administrator Jaime Mills said there were at least three publicly identified write-in candidates… Robert Orr, Robert Forsythe and Alan Montgomery.

Gas prices steady

Retail gas prices are holding steady here at home and across the country as a whole, but have gone down across the state by an average of two-cents per gallon.

As of Tuesday, according to Triple-A, the average Oregon price for regular is $2.53 while the national average price is $2.21.

In Florence, the average cash price for a gallon of regular has held steady at $2.36 for the past four weeks.

Oregon’s average price is the fifth highest in the country.  Hawaii is $2.91 a gallon on average and California is $2.79.  Wahsington and Alaska are number three and four.  According to Triple-A the cheapest gas on average in the country is in Missouri where drivers are paying $1.93.

Veterans Day Parade

Veterans in the Florence area will be recognized and honored in several locations tomorrow.

At ten am, the Florence Elks Lodge will hold a ceremony at their “Veteran’s Memorial Rock” outside the front entrance.  Paul Gargis will speak.

At one, the annual Veteran’s Day Parade will begin at the Florence Events Center.  It will go down Quince Street to Harbor, from there around the Nopal Street parking lot and into Old Town on Bay Street.

It wraps up with a brief recognition ceremony at the Veteran’s Park at the foot of Kingwood Street with free hot dogs.

Members of the United States Coast Guard, Siuslaw River Station are the Grand Marshals of the parade.  That facility will be celebrating its 100th anniversary of service in the Florence area in 2017.