Branch Closure Not COVID-19 Related; Pumpkin Giveaway; COVID-19 Latest Numbers; Gas Prices

Branch Closure Not COVID-19 Related

The Mapleton location of Banner Bank recently closed, inviting speculation from social media as to the reason.  One of the questions asked was if it was related to COVID-19 and the limited availability to service customers in an indoor setting.  Kelly McPhee, vice-president of communications and Public Relations told coast radio that while there was a very small decrease in customer activity at the location, the decision to close the branch came before the effects of COVID-19 were known.  Earlier this year McPhee said they had looked at several locations from a stewardship perspective, and from customer input and decided that many of the daily activities of its customers at the Mapleton branch were being served online.

“Closing a branch is never an easy decision, in this case we have been looking at how our clients use the branch and how much they prefer the branch together with other options such as digital and online banking.”

McPhee said after discussions with local leaders and customers it was deemed responsible to close the branch.  She said they consolidated it with the Florence location, so that when customers had that specific need for a branch location they would be there.

“We want to be absolutely sure before we make that decision because we enjoy serving every community we are in it is an important part of who we are as a company.

McPhee says with 130 years of customer service, they don’t take lightly having to close even one branch.

Pumpkin Giveaway

With Coast Radio’s Original Great Pumpkin Giveaway hosted by True Value, the Saw Shop and Old School Furniture just 2 weeks away, it took some wrangling to get things ready for a COVID-19 related event.  The City of Florence was in favor of the efforts to have a Halloween related event, but wanted to know that it would be in line with CDC and state mandates.  For that reason this year will be a parade style giveaway with cars lining up along Quince Street and making their way down 6th to the Old School Furniture Parking lot where Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue volunteers will hand out pumpkins and candy to all kids under 18.  Because of the limited number of activities Coast Radio also believed that this might be a banner year and worked with local businesses and non-profits to make sure that there was enough candy.  Florence Kiwanis, Grocery Outlet, Cross Road Assembly and Siuslaw Glass and Mirror are all sponsoring candy this year.  Jean Murphey of Coast Insurance is a member of the Florence Kiwanis and said that when the club was approached to take part the Board of Directors knew that it was a good fit for the Kiwanis whose motto is Serving the Children of the World.  She said the Kiwanis Club is happy to make local kids happy.  Dale Edwards with Cross Road Assembly also asked church members to help contribute since they were not going to be able to do their annual Trunk or Treat.  The Original Great Pumpkin giveaway will be Thursday October 22 and begin at 4 pm sharp.  A map showing the route will also be published in the Siuslaw News.

COVID-19 Latest Numbers

According to requirements of Phase two of the COVID-19 reopening plan counties experiencing more than 100 cases per 100,000 people per week are in danger of reverting to Phase One of the plan.  Recent spikes in cases in the Eugene/Springfield area are a cause of alarm for Lane County Public Health.  Considering the size of Lane County and the greater majority of population centered around Eugene, Florence would be unduly affected by the increases.  The Florence area cases have been reduced by one and reverted back to 24, but cases for the entire county climbed by 54 yesterday and there are currently 262 cases considered infectious for a new high total of 262.  Lane County also added another death to its total raising it to 21.  The latest is a 94 woman from the Eugene/Springfield area.  The Lane County Commissioners are not quite ready to recommend a move back to Phase One and are working on stronger messaging to influence groups that may consider gathering during the pandemic.  There is still no active enforcement of regulations regarding COVID-19 restrictions which raises the question of accountability.  The 20 – 29 age group is still the number one spreader of the virus.  Statewide there were 301 new confirmed cases yesterday and 9 new deaths.

Gas Prices

Gas prices in Florence saw a one day jump of 6 cents on average.  Raising the average price of a gallon of regular gas to $2.41.  Demand has risen slightly over the past week and the threat of another hurricane headed towards the Gulf Coast is raising some concern though typically the west coast prices a only slightly affected by gulf weather.