Eclipse Traffic Lighter Than Expected
It was well watched by the locals here in Florence, but the total Solar Eclipse went by without much of a fan fare. Several hundred people were scattered around Old Town to watch the solar eclipse, about a hundred of them on the boardwalk but the droves of people that were expected were not around. About half of the businesses that are normally open displayed signs announcing a 10:30 or later opening. The streets were bare of traffic and several of the local gas stations were stocked with supplies hoping for the crowds. Immediately after the eclipse there were a few more cars on highway 101 but not many. Florence Police Chief, Tom Turner predicted a lighter than expected turnout, but said they were still prepared.
“And we’re kind of interested to make sure everything goes just exactly like we planned and make sure we don’t have any traffic issues or any of the other issues we have been hearing about.”
The next expected event will be the traffic as people return south from the Totality zone which could still affect traffic. This is likely to take place over the next 2 days. But Turner said they are ready.
Gas Prices Jump
Gas prices have spiked in Florence in advance of the upcoming labor day holiday. Over the weekend more travelers passed through Florence on their way to the path of totality and they experienced some of the highest local prices in almost two years. The price of a regular gallon of gasoline is hovering around $2.60 a gallon here and that is up another 6 cents from Friday and a total of a 20 cent increase over the past two weeks. There have been no reports of fuel shortages, but retailers say that could change after the traffic from the eclipse disappears as supplies will take a while to arrive. ODOT has even asked some business traffic to wait until after the eclipse to resume commercial operations. A manufactured home mover was asked to wait until Tuesday before it removed a home in Florentine estates. They were told that traffic concerns were high and unnecessary traffic would just complicate matters.
Fire Level High; ODF Battling Statewide
Currently the Oregon Department of Forestry is dealing with over 2 dozen fires across the state and evacuations are happening in several of those fires. The Chetco Bar Fire in the Siskyou National Forest has caused the evacuation of campgrounds and homes in the area. The red Cross had set up shelters in the Brookings area but had to relocate them to Gold Beach due to the proximity of fire fighting efforts near Brookings. In Florence and Western Lane County the fire danger level is high and there is no burning allowed. This includes the beaches and all properties managed by the Oregon Parks and recreation Department. Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue responded to an illegal burning near Munsel Lake Saturday evening. Conditions are very volatile and authorities are asking the public to have an increased awareness of the possible dangers in current dry and windy conditions.
FURA Meeting Wednesday
The Florence Urban Renewal Agency will hold a meeting this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. The meeting will include plans for moving ahead on the Revision Florence project and the inclusion of citizen participation in the process. The HEOP, Housing and Economic Opportunities Project will also be updated as well as a report on the Public Art Committee and the Downtown Revitalization Teams progress. The meeting is open to the public.