Council Approves Emergency Cold Weather Shelter; Two Week Freeze Begins Tomorrow; New COVID-19 Cases

Council Approves Emergency Cold Weather Shelter

Last night the Florence City Council approved a temporary cold weather shelter for homeless individuals.  Members of the the Florence Temporary Emergency Cold Weather Shelter agency outlined their proposal for the council which would be located on the property at 5300 Highway 101.  Historically the cold weather shelters have been established at local churches, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the feasibility of keeping people safe in a close proximity shelter has become very difficult.  Ken Gaylord laid out the proposal for the city which includes 20 shelters for individuals or couples.

“These are 8×8 shelters that are designed for emergency use and the county will provide logistics and operational support for this program.”

One of the concerns Mayor Joe Henry had for the shelter was the financial impact it may have on the city of Florence.  According to the proposal, there would be no financial commitment required by the City of Florence.

“One of my objections has always been that it shouldn’t be funded by the city of Florence, when the state and county have a responsibility, so now the county has stepped up.”

The county will assist in logistics as well as provide the temporary shelters for the development.  Mayor Henry reiterated that this was a temporary solution and not intended to be a long term answer to the issue of housing homeless during extreme weather conditions.

Two Week Freeze Begins Tomorrow

The two week freeze order, announced last Friday by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, will begin tomorrow and last until Wednesday, December 2nd.  Gyms and indoor recreational and entertainment facilities will be shuttering for the two week duration.  Churches and places of worship will be limited in their gathering sizes: 25 indoors, 50 out of doors.  The order also requires all businesses to mandate that employees work from home when possible, and to close offices to the public.  For the city of Florence it is work as usual, according to City Manager, Erin Reynolds…

“These standards do say to close buildings and work from home.  So for those of us from the city who can, we will work virtually.  We will continue to keep city hall open in an electronic virtual manner.”

Reynolds says that two thirds of the city’s employees actually work on the street.  Area eateries will close to dine in, but many will opt to remain open to cliental with take out offerings.  College Football is not expected to be impacted, but the status of Pac Twelve basketball is unknown at this point.   The Oregon Health Authority plans to issue specific guidance by sector in coming days.   The restrictions will be in place for some Oregon areas longer than the two weeks.

New COVID-19 Cases

Another 41 cases of the coronavirus was detected in Lane County yesterday. Along with 781 new cases for the state.  The statewide death toll also climbed by 4 bringing that total to 765.  There were no new cases for the Florence area with that total remaining at 38.  The latest numbers for Lane County continue to center around the 11-30 age group, making up just under half of the total cases.  There are 15 people currently hospitalized in the county and 283 considered infectious.