Meeting Ends with Contentious Exchange
It was an evening of unanimous approval of items on the City Council’s agenda. The city approved moving forward on the grant to provide a new AWOS system for the Florence Municipal Airport as well as a grant for an environmental services aide program in association with Lane Community College. The Council also approved the purchase of a new Hybrid Ford Explorer police interceptor for the Florence Police Department. After the initial work of the city council was completed, councilor Joshua Greene took the opportunity to address the recent articles in the Siuslaw News and the subsequent response from Mayor Joe Henry. Councilor Greene accused Mayor Henry of stacking the deck against the Public Arts Committee and the Florence Urban Renewal Agency and further manipulating committee selections. Including accusing the Mayor of ethics violations,
“And as far as I’m concerned if Ross, if I had Ross right here I would press him because I believe that what was done was done against the law.”
Greene told the council members that he believed the spirit of the law had been broken when it came to changes made. Mayor Henry’s response was to say, regarding the articles in the Siuslaw news, that he felt there were a lot of inaccuracies in the current series of articles.
“But I will say for the record that a very good portion of the information that is in the local news that you refer to is outright lies.”
Councilor Woodbury also commented that he felt there was bias in the articles against him, but that he had no plans on making an issue of it. The dissension between members of the council has been ongoing prior to the 2018 election and increased when former councilor Geraldine Prociw decided to run for city council and was confronted by Councilor Greene and then councilor Suzy Lacer and was encouraged to reconsider her plans to run for city council.
COVID-19 cases for the state continue to rise as several counties, including Lane County continue to spike. Lane County added 33 more cases and the death toll for the county is at 20. There are also 236 cases currently considered infectious. Around the state there were also 288 total cases reported yesterday bringing the state’s total to 35,049. Lane County’s new case load is predominantly from the 20-29 age group and there have been clusters of new cases that have come out of back to school parties and at least 2 weddings according to Lane County Public Health officials.
The Oregon Health Authority has released some ideas for celebrating this Halloween. OHA is recommending first that trick or treating door to door is inadvisable and therefore options could include a neighborhood Jack-o-Lantern contest, tour neighborhood yard displays with household members and have a Halloween scavenger hunt in or around your home. It might also be a good night for a scary movie. It is also possible to host an online costume contest with friends and family.
There has been concerned raised across the country about the increase in mail-in ballots and how quickly they will be available for the official count. The City of Florence reminds citizens that there is still the drop-off ballot location at the entrance to the Justice Center at 900 Greenwood Street.
Events Center Open For Rental
The City of Florence has also reopened the Florence Events Center for rental for limited gatherings and functions. Planned events must meet OHA and state mandates for social distancing and not exceed 100 people. The Florence Events Center will remain closed except for specific functions.
Fire Prevention Week
All this week is fire prevention week. Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue Captain Tony Miller says spending time sprucing up around the house can help in the prevention of fire.
“What you want to try to do is take that 0-5 feet, you want to clean your gutters, you want to make sure there is no debris in them, that if flying embers could fall in them and catch your house on fire.”
Miller also recommends that you research plants that can withstand a certain amount of heat and are not as susceptible to burning. He also says when possible try to use non-combustible materials on the outside façade of your home. There are many resources and tips available at NFPA.org or search Firewise.