Saturday morning the beaches north of town near Driftwood Shores were scattered with onlookers for the King tides including several families with young children. Large waves hit the shores and sea foam covered what is normally hundreds of feet of walkable beach. The tides and huge swells of 20 feet plus waves are a sight to see, but are very deadly. All along the Oregon Coast communities dealt with the dangers of onlookers putting themselves in harms way. Near Canon Beach a father and his two children were swept away after being hit by a wave. 47 year old Jeremy Stiles and his 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son are the latest victims of the sneaker waves that trouble the coast. Stiles was carrying his two children when they were hit and his 4 year old son was taken out to sea. His 7 year old daughter was pronounced dead at Providence Hospital. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for the 4 year old. According to reports Stiles is expected to survive. The incident occurred just after noon on Saturday.
The Oregon Department of Transportation along with the city of Florence and Alex Hodge Construction continue the work along Highway 101 for the Revision Florence project. Despite the wind and rain crews were out last week trying to finish up curbs and sidewalks along the corridor. City Project Manager, Megan Messmer says crews are turning their attention to the 126 portion of the project as they inch closer to the finish line. On Friday utility crews were removing the last of the poles that lined the east side of the street and much of the landscaping along 101 on the west side has been completed. There is still road work to be done connecting the side streets to the main highway. The last timeline update for completion of the majority of work was the end of January.
Winter weather shows no sign of easing. The Oregon coast is expected to see rain and wind throughout the week as other portions of the state is being hit with heavy snowfall. The Cascades were hit with over 2 feet of snow in the last 48 hours. Snow levels are expected to drop to 1000 feet by Tuesday which could affect travel inland. Florence could see another inch or more of rain over the next several days according to the National Weather Service.
The Public Arts Committee and the Planning Commission Meetings scheduled for this week have been cancelled. There is a Community and Economic Development Committee scheduled for Thursday at 3:45 at City Hall. The CEDC will get an update on Parks and Recreation as well as an update from Ariel Ruben with the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network of programs and services they are providing in Florence.