Coronation Kicks Off 112th Rhododendron Festival; Gas Prices Flatten; Fire Ban Lifted; Sheriff’s Office Participating in High Profile Weekend

Coronation Kicks Off 112th Rhododendron Festival

Excitement filled the air last night as the beginning of the 112th Rhododendron Festival kicked off with the crowning of the King of the coast and Queen Rhododendron.  The crowd was wild as the announcements were made by Siuslaw News’ Ned Hickson.

(Ned Hickson)

Madison Reynolds and Patrick Rowley will spend the weekend representing the city at many of the rhododendron festivities.  Both were a bit excited when their names were announced.  Patrick Rowley said it went from anxiety to relief.

“felt like anxiety just choke up on me you know, it’s like scared and then you’re like oh wow it happened”

Madison Reynolds says she was proud to be chosen to represent the city. She equated the announcement to the beginning of a major sporting event

“It was like before any basketball game but like 10 times faster, I was shaking, I was so nervous.”

Lainey Goss and Trent Reavis, last year’s Queen and King were in attendance for the passing of the crowns.

Gas Prices Flatten

Gas prices have leveled off around the state and for Florence, too.  According to Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon prices have remained level and even decreased a penny a gallon in some places over the last week.  The Oregon average is flat at $3.43 for a gallon of regular gas and the Florence average has leveled off at an average of $3.23 a gallon.  According to Dodds, summer demand has already begun and stock piles are decreasing and yet prices remain flat.  Dodds warns that prices could jump again with the instability of trade talks with China as well as tensions with Iran and weather.

Fire Ban Lifted

The return of rain has prompted fire and forestry officials to reopen the spring outdoor burning season effective today.  Officials suggest that you still contact local agencies to keep track of current conditions and to obtain burn permits.  Rain is expected to continue this weekend effectively lowering the danger of wildfire.  A reminder that burning is never allowed within the city limits of Florence.

Sheriff’s Office Participating in High Profile Weekend

The Lane County Sheriff’s office issued a statement that they will be conducting increased patrols in the Florence area for Rhody Days.  The focus will be on DUII enforcement and apprehension as well as speed limit enforcement and seat belt enforcement.  According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, Highway 126 between Veneta and Florence is on the list of one of the deadliest highways in Oregon.  Increased traffic during Rhododendron Festival only exacerbates the problem.  The LCSO, Florence Police, and Oregon State Troopers will all have an increased presence in Florence this weekend.