Boats on the Siuslaw

Free COVID-19 Testing; Triple Digits Again; Art Exposed; National Attention for Local Park

Free COVID-19 Testing

Lane County Public Health has announced that it will be offering free COVID-19 testing to rural communities beginning this week.  Their first stop is in Oakridge today, but will begin locally on Saturday with testing at the Mapleton Food Share from 10 am until 12:30 pm.  Testing will then be offered at the Florence Food Share on Spruce Street here in Florence on Wednesday July first.  Testing is open to all community members, but priority will be given to individuals in high-risk groups, first responders, those who have not been able to maintain social distancing due to work, and individuals that are symptomatic.  Test results are confidential and any person testing positive will be contacted by Lane County Public Health.  Dr. Willy foster with Peach harbor hospital in Florence in a recent interview with Coast Radio said that there has undoubtedly been COVID-19 infections in the area, but limited availability of testing has made it impossible to know for sure who or how many people have been affected.  This is not an anti-body test and will not be able to determine if you have had the virus over recent months.

Triple Digits Again

No new deaths were reported yesterday from COVID-19 in the state, but there have been 191 new cases.  Some of the reported cases are due to increased testing, as the Oregon Health Authority has now tested over 210 thousand Oregonians.  The total number of positive cases is 7,274.  Lane County is also reporting one new case of the coronavirus.  There have been approximately 20 thousand test conducted in Lane County and the total currently stands at 102 confirmed cases with 4 presumptive cases.

Art Exposed

11 finalists have been chosen for the Art Exposed Program in Florence.  Art Exposed exhibits art from local and regional artists and is a rotating art gallery with locations on Bay Street.  There are currently four locations with a fifth location to be added at Maple Street Park.  Finalist’s artwork can be viewed at the city of Florence’s website ci.florence.or.us.

National Attention for Local Park

Since the naming of the latest City of Florence Park, Florence has been receiving a lot of national attention for the whimsical name given to the Exploding Whale Memorial Park.  From snippets on Fox News, CNN, the New York Times, New York Post, and the New York Daily News just to name a few.  But the latest comes from NPR.  This past weekend during the popular entertainment show Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, it was featured in the segment Bluff the Listener.  Comedian and frequent guest on the show Tom Papa had the pleasure of telling the story.

“It was gross, it was dumb and it was somewhat ineffective, but 50 years later when residents were asked what they should name the park along Rhododendron Drive this escapade provided one obvious answer, Exploding Whale Memorial Park.”

The listener did not choose that option as his answer, and when revealed, the host offered the correct answer with a snippet of Mayor Joe Henry revealing the truth.

“It wasn’t on my list of top three that I voted for but Exploding Whale Memorial Park, that’s a great name.”

For now, the exploding whale remains in the forefront as a piece of Florence history.