School budget process underway; Community Easter Egg hunt; County Commission made whole; Scottsburg bridge closure to increase Florence truck traffic;

Coast Radio News
Local News

School budget process begins in a hole

The proposed budget for Siuslaw schools in the coming year will be balanced.  But, the balancing act won’t come without some difficulty.  District Business Manager Kari Blake presented numbers to the 97-J budget committee this week and while revenues will be higher than last year… they’re not enough to keep up with the growth in expenses.  Blake said administrators in all of the schools made it clear they don’t want to reduce staffing levels… so:

Kari Blake– “I’ve asked all of the buildings to slash out 20-percent of all their supply and materials.  Basically anything that’s not salary related.”

The expected shortfall?

Kari Blake – “It’s about a $400-thousand cut to us.  And after this, cutting anything but staffing… we’re pretty bare bones.  So, uh, we can sustain this way for one more year thanks to some of our reserves that we’ll carry over, but the second year of the biennium definitely  makes me nervous.”

Blake said ultimately it comes down to what the Oregon Legislature does.  The level of funding they’re expecting is the worst-case scenario.  Lawmakers are not likely to settle on a final education funding figure until at least next month… but possibly not until June.

Don’t be late.

That’s what organizers of Saturday’s annual Community Easter Egg hunt at Miller Park are saying.

Members of the Siuslaw High School Interact Club, along with their parent organization, Florence Rotary, have been filling more than 4-thousand plastic eggs with candy and other prizes this week.  They’ll be at Miller Park early tomorrow morning to hide them across the soccer fields.

Those fields will be divided into several different segments, each assigned to a different age group through age 10.

The field is usually scoured clean within minutes… although the younger kids can take a few minutes longer.

It’s important to remember… the starting signal is given at 10:00 sharp. Be sure to leave plenty of time to get there early, find a parking spot and be in place.

Increased truck traffic expected through Florence

Oregon Highway 38 between the I-5 corridor and Reedsport will remain closed at least through the weekend as crews work to make emergency repairs to the Scottsburg Bridge.

The span, 16 miles east of Reedsport, was damaged Wednesday afternoon after a semi-truck crashed into the west end of the bridge.  Oregon Department of Transportation Region 3 manager Frank Reading (REDD-ing) said a structural analysis of the damage indicates that the bridge, in its current condition, can only safely support its own weight and not the weight of any added traffic.

An emergency contract has been awarded to a Washington state based contractor… Flame On, Inc. to begin straightening the damaged steel support using a specialized heat treatment.

The crash, and closure, has prompted additional concerns about the plans to eventually replace the bridge.  It was built in 1929 and is very narrow.  It also has a sharp curve on the approach.  Those conditions have led to several crashes in recent years that have closed the span.

ODOT began the design process for a replacement last year.  It’s expected to cost up to $40-million to do that.  Construction would not be able to start until at least 2019.  Reading said the cost of repairs this weekend are estimated at around $600-thousand.

South Coast salmon off limits

There won’t be a salmon season for anglers on the south coast this year.  The Pacific Fisheries Management Council made the decision Tuesday to close down sport and commercial fishing for Chinook and Coho.

The closure is only for the area from Humbug Mountain, just south of Port Orford, and into Northern California.

Coho and Chinook salmon fishing north of Port Orford is not affected.

The action is because of what officials are calling a “crash” in the number of Chinook headed for the Klamath River.  Fishery managers say the low number of returning four-year old fish is because of a low food supply, predators, and an inland drought.

PFMC officials also say they may likely issue another closure next year.

Lane County Commission Whole Once Again

Former Cottage Grove Mayor Gary Williams was sworn in yesterday to fill a vacancy on the Lane County Board of Commissioners.   He is succeeding fellow South Lane resident Faye Stewart who stepped down last month to take a job as the Development and Public Works Director in Cottage Grove.

Commission Chair Pat Farr said they had a “remarkable field” of candidates from which to choose.

In all 29 people applied.  26 met all of the required conditions.