Weather Causing Problems; More Campsites?; Foundation Awards Monies; Visitor Guide Arrives; Flu Cases Rising

Weather Causing Problems

Cold weather once again weaved its way along the coast. Snow fell on 126 through Badger Pass last night and a winter weather watch continues this morning.  The Oregon Department of Transportation has closed highway 126 from Mapleton to Veneta due to snow and ice and several reports of fallen trees.  In Veneta snow has covered the roadways making travel hazardous.  Snow and icy conditions, downed trees and power outages in Mapleton prompted the closing of Mapleton schools this morning.  Central Lincoln PUD is currently reporting 237 outages in Land County with most of those in the Mapleton/Swisshome area.  Tonight and tomorrow night the cold weather shelter is open for those unable to escape the freezing temperatures.  Registration begins at 5 pm and transportation is available at the Library, Safeway and Fred Meyer Here in Florence it has been mostly rain, but some snow and sleet has been reported with little or no accumulation.  The U.S. Post Office reports that there will be no mail delivery today in Florence and surrounding area dut to the 126 road closure as the Eugene mail truck could not get through.  Today’s high temperatures are only expected to reach the mid 40’s and below freezing temperatures return for overnight tonight.

More Campsites?

More space for camping is how Port Manager David Huntington is categorizing his proposal to remove the storage sheds that currently occupy prime real estate on the port’s campgrounds.  Huntington says the revenue generated from new full-service campsites would far outweigh the benefit of providing storage.  Concern about the cost of improvements and whether or not to do dry camping or provide water, electric and sewer was discussed.  Huntington says his desire is to see full service camping since dry camping is only 18 percent of their annual income.  Commissioner Bill Meyer said if it were a personal business decision he would move toward full service.

”If this was a personal project of mine and I saw that I could invest 350 thousand in all these improvements and get a payback of 125 thousand a year then I’d go out and I’d say, okay, yeah I’ve got these other loans but I’d do a short term loan at 300 thousand dollars for 3 years and pay it back out of the return.”

The port will continue to look at this issue and put together financial reports before deciding to move forward.  The commission agreed that this is something worthwhile, but needs further planning and discussion.

Foundation Awards Monies

The Three Rivers Foundation marked its 7th round of giving Thursday at its luncheon gala.  The Foundation, the giving arm of the Three Rivers Casino Resort, announced gifts to 34 non-profits in the service district of the confederated tribes of the Coos, lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians.  Benefactors in Florence and Mapleton were the boys and girls club of western lane county, Memory Care Respite of Florence, Siuslaw Outreach Services, Siuslaw School District, and Mapleton Food share. In total the foundation received 130 grant proposals from entities in the counties of Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane, and Lincoln.

Visitor Guide Arrives

The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce released its new Visitor’s Resource guide and Membership Directory.  It features James Dominguez’s winning photograph of his daughter Cecilia running through a stream at the end of the hobbit trail just north of Heceta Beach Lighthouse.  The directory is available at the Chamber Office on Highway 101 next to the Crab Kettle.

Flu Cases Rising

Over the past several weeks the cases of reported flu like symptoms has been on the rise in Oregon.  There have been 87 hospitalizations due to influenza and a 3.2% increase in reported cases over last week’s numbers.  There have been almost 1100 new cases of influenza confirmed last week out of almost 4000 tests administered.