Revision Bids Rejected; Chamber Inducts New Board; Distracted Penalties Increase; Lighthouse to Close Temporarily

Revision Bids Rejected

The bids are in from the Oregon Department of Transportation on the Revision Florence Project.  The City of Florence along with ODOT have been reviewing the bids..Unfortunately, according to City Project Manager, Megan Messmer, they only received two bids and they were well over the budgeted amount for the project.  ODOT formally rejected the bids and the city and ODOT are working to revise their strategy in an anticipation of going out for bid again in October.  Messmer says they are looking at ways to reduce the risks that are associated with the complexities of the project and are also considering combining the revision Florence bid with the highway 101 repaving bid in hopes of reducing some of the costs.  The staff is continuing to work with ODOT and Messmer says they will have a more comprehensive update at the Florence Urban Renewal Agency Board meeting on June 27th.

Chamber Inducts New Board

Last night the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting at Three Rivers Casino and introduced their new board members.  5 new members joined the board as they also celebrated the work and volunteerism of those that were exiting.  Joining the board were Rich Colton from Three Rivers Casino, Lynda Colter-Bergh from Bottom Lines Consulting, Neil Ecker from Hyak, Janet Engel from Spruce Point Assisted Living and Susy Lacer from Susy Lacer Consulting.  The board also installed their new president, Russ Pearson the Dean of Students at Lane Community College.  Joining him on the board of Directors is Past President Bobby Jensen, Shauna Robbers takes over as secretary, and Nancy Bosket as Treasurer.  Chamber members and guests were treated to dinner and beverages and a short program extolling the accomplishments of the board over the past year.

Distracted Penalties Increase

Beginning July 1st penalties for distracted driving will be increasing as each offense will carry additional charges.  First offense, not contributing to a crash is a class b violation with a fine of up to $1000.  Second offense, or first offense if contributing to a crash will be a class A violation with a fine of up to $2500.  If a driver gets a third offense in a 10 year period it will be a Class B Misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2500 and the potential for up to 6 months in jail.  Transportation Safety Division administrator Troy Costales says that distracted driving in Oregon is of epidemic proportions and it is imperative that people under the control of any vehicle should put away their devices to eliminate tragedies. To reiterate the law no one under the age of 18 can use any device even hands free ones.  Drivers are not allowed to use any device that requires them to touch it or hold it while operating it.    Florence Police Chief Tom Turner says that cradled devices that do not require more than a one touch, one swipe are also allowed.  But no use is permitted when stopped at a light or stop sign.  Drivers must pull off the road entirely and park if they are using a cell phone or other handheld device.

Lighthouse to Close Temporarily

Visitor access to the interior of Heceta Head Lighthouse will be temporarily closed starting July 1, 2018, for repairs. The work, which is expected to be finished by July 31, 2018, will repair several cracked interior metal columns on the upper floor of the lighthouse. The lighthouse lens will be covered and the light will be temporarily out of service to protect the lens during the renovation work. The grounds surrounding the lighthouse will remain open and visitors may walk up to the lighthouse during the closure, but not enter the building. Interpretive programs will be conducted on the grounds surrounding the lighthouse.  The project will cost an estimated $135,000. Most of the funds—$75,000—were donated by park visitors. The remaining $60,000 is funded with Oregon Lottery dollars dedicated by voters to park repairs and improvements.  The historic assistant lighthouse keeper’s house, which the U.S. Forest Service operates through a concessionaire as a B&B, will remain open.