Roads temporarily blocked by Friday storm; Planning Commission to hear partition request; Plover recovery; Florence seeing NW best disignation; Rhody Chowder returns, sort of.

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Dozens of downed trees and small slides cause problems Friday

A small slide on Mercer Lake Road two miles east of Highway 101 closed that roadway for most of the day Friday.  A small slide came down that morning, pulling down power lines in the process.

A mud slide accompanied by a few small to medium trees blocked Mercer Lake Road Friday afternoon just past Lakewood Avenue. (Lane County Public Works photo)

By the end of the day, however, Lane County Road Crews had hauled away most of the debris and reopened access to several dozen homes behind the slide.  Richard Perkins, the Florence Supervisor for Lane County Public Works, said that was just one of the many slides, downed trees and other challenges faced by crews Friday.  He said the day started early that morning with a callout to respond to a small slide and closure in the Deadwood area, but quickly progressed from there.  Workers cleared a large tree six miles up North Fork Siuslaw Road that had blocked the roadway and spent a good deal of time clearing debris all over the area.

Perkins said his crew is out on Mercer Lake Road this morning working to clean up the rest of the slide from Friday, including hauling off two large stumps.

Relatively little damage reported

Even with all the wind and rain early Friday there were no injuries and no significant damage reported.  But, says Florence spokesperson Megan Messmer one major problem came from residents who lost their power and then called 911 to report it.

She said those calls need to be directed to Central Lincoln PUD and by calling emergency operators, residents may have been unintentionally making it more difficult for people who really needed assistance to get it.

911 dispatchers only want to hear from you if you have a true emergency she said.  For power outages you should call the PUD at 866-484-3783.

Central Lincoln PUD reported there were more than 4-thousand customers on the central coast without power at the height of the storm.  Most were back on by midday with hundreds more restored by the end of the day.

Planning Commission to hear partition request

A hearing on a proposal by the Port of Siuslaw to place large rock along the riverbank on the east end of their RV Park has been postponed again.  The rip-rap is needed to stabilize the bank and prevent any further erosion.  A hearing had been scheduled for March 28th but was postponed to April 11th.

A second delay has been requested by the Port.  The Planning Commission will now take up the matter May 23rd.

The Commission will hold a hearing tomorrow night on a different proposal:  This one by Jon and Janet deRyk (de-RIKE) to divide a lot with an existing home into three separate lots. The parcel in just off Rhododendron Drive near Harbor Vista Campground and was recently annexed into the city providing access to sanitary sewer.

The planning commission meets Tuesday night, at city hall, at seven pm.

Florence nominated for another online award

Online voting for the “Best Northwestern Small Town” opened last week and Florence is in the running for a USA Today Reader’s Choice Award.   Online voting at the USA Today’s website will run through April 24th at noon eastern time.

It’s another in a long line of online awards and reader’s choice awards for the area.

Last year Florence was named Expedia-dot-com’s Most Beautiful Town and picked up the Oregonian-Oregon Live Best Coastal Getaway.

Reader’s Digest also recommended visiting the Oregon Coast in an article last year called The Best Summer Vacation Ever.

The results of the USA Today balloting will be released on 10best-dot-com Friday the 28th.

Three clams will save you a buck on chowder

So far eight area restaurants have signed up to participate in the Rhododendron Festival Clam Chowder promotion.

For decades, chowder was associated with the area festival.  A community wide chowder feed was conducted in the 30s, 40s and early 50s as part of the annual proceedings.  In the late 50s and through the mid-70s the Florence Booster Club, then  the organizers of the festival, would cook up thousands of gallons of chowder and give it away during the Grand Floral Parade to anyone who had purchased a Rhody Pin.

The Chamber of Commerce has returned to the metal campaign style pins this year, and opted to tie it to chowder once again.  They’re not doing the cooking though… they’re leaving that to folks like ICM, Siuslaw Riverside, Le Bouchon, the Bridgewater, Bay Street Grille, Beachcomber, the Firehouse and Home Grown.  All will offer a dollar off a bowl of chowder the entire month of May to anyone wearing this year’s pin.

Plover recovery marked

If you’ve been to the beach near nesting areas for the Western Snowy Plover in the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt seen the ropes and signs marking off those areas.  U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist Cindy Burns said those protections have been put in place every year since 1993.  That’s when the bird was placed on the “threatened” list of the endangered species act.

Cindy Burns – “The year prior to listing, surveys could only find 28 of the birds in Oregon.”

In the 23-years since, populations of the small shore-bird have grown.  Now there’s estimated to be more than 500 of them.

Cindy Burns – “With the increase in the population in recent years they are spreading out and they’re finding habitat and State Parks is trying to make habitat on the north coast more suitable for plovers.”

Burns said nesting areas around Florence include the Baker Beach and Sutton Outlet areas to the north; and from Siltcoos Outlet to the south.  Long gone from sites on the northern coast, the birds are starting to reappear in some areas, prompting officials to keep an even sharper eye out for them and instituting protections on public lands where appropriate.