Timeline For Revision Florence Moved; Education Continues to Plague; Oregon OPB Presents Entrepreneurial Forum

Timeline For Revision Florence Moved

The Florence Urban Renewal Agency met to discuss the Revision Florence Project last night.  Part of the discussion was how to move forward with plans in light of receiving extremely high bids that came in over the 7 million dollar allowed budget .  The project was slated to begin in August with a completion date of March 2019.  The project is now undergoing revision in order to bring costs in line.  The City is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation in order to combine some of the project elements together in order to save money.  This change will also require the city to reengineer some of the specifics of the project and resubmit their findings to ODOT.  On the revised timeline the final plans are due to ODOT by August 27th and they will begin advertising for bids in October.  With construction planned for early 2019 the estimated completion date will carry over into Late September 2019.  The city is required to have a contract commitment on the project by December 31 of 2018 in order to maintain federal funding for the project.

 Education Continues to Plague Oregon

Oregon children are doing better by most measures, but the state is slipping in education, according to an annual report released yesterday.  The 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation assesses how kids are doing in the areas of health, education, economic well-being, and family and community. Overall, the analysis ranks Oregon 30th in the nation. While Tonia Hunt, head of Children First for Oregon, is proud of the gains the state has made – such as decreasing the child poverty rate – education hangs like a cloud over the report.


201 “Overall, we’re ranked 43rd for education of our children, which is deeply disturbing. We know that that’s going to impact not only our kids’ well-being but really our entire state’s economic well-being in the future.”

The report says that 25 percent of Oregon students aren’t graduating from high school on time, compared with the national average of 16 percent. Hunt adds that the state has the sixth-largest class sizes in the nation. She says the biggest issue is the chronic underfunding of schools.  The report also highlights the need to ensure the 2020 Census is accurate. Hunt says it will be critical in order to get the appropriate services and investments to the parts of Oregon that need them.


202 “If kids aren’t counted, here in Oregon we could lose billions of dollars that support everything from school lunches to health care for kids to the SNAP program, which is the food stamp program.”

The census under-count of children five and younger has gotten worse with every census since 1980, and was one million in 2010. The Casey Foundation’s Laura Speer says it likely won’t be better in 2020. She says census outreach efforts face daunting challenges, including a lack of leadership, the first-ever digital census survey, and the potential of suppressed participation due to a controversial citizenship question.

 OPB Presents Entrepreneurial Forum

Oregon Pacific Bank is sponsoring a business startup forum for entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts to share ideas and learn what it takes to launch a business venture.  The event promises expert speakers in the realm of business startup and will feature networking.  The forum is supported by the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, Lane Community College,  the Lane Small Business Development center, the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Florence.  It is a 2 day event July 13th and 14th.  tickets purchased for the event prior to July 2nd will be 25 dollars for general admission and $15 dollars for students.  After July 1st tickets will be $40 for general admission and $30 for students.  3 meals are included in the price.