Regional Chambers Reach Out in Solidarity; A.J. Brauer Passes; COVID-19 Update; State of Emergency Extended

Regional Chambers Reach Out in Solidarity

Falling revenue, forced reductions in employment and severe government regulation has prompted local and regional chambers of Commerce to reach out to Governor Kate Brown and other elected officials to ask for help in securing small business success in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  The Freeze order enacted last month has resulted in a loss of business for small businesses as well as an increased need for future financial assistance.  Vonnie Mikkelsen, president and CEO of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce says the “state’s remedies are anemic.”  She added that small business needs to be heard and to be served.  Florence Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, Bettina Hannigan says small business in the Florence area employs about 1900 workers and adds about 147 million dollars to the community each year.  With unemployment benefits expected to expire later this month confidence is low that recovery is possible according to a joint release from Lane County Chambers of Commerce.  Governor Kate Brown has recalled the Oregon Legislature next week to address relief for Oregon businesses.  The chamber’s hope is that they will be heard and the state will make changes to assist local small businesses across the region.

A.J. Brauer Passes

Long time resident, physician and business champion A.J. Brauer has died.  Brauer moved to Florence in 1958 with his wife, Alice.  While working as a physician Brauer also help found Oregon Pacific Bank, served on several boards and developed Summerset Estates all while delivering many of Florence’s residents.  Brauer also assisted in getting the Florence Campus of the Lane Community College started.  Brauer was honored as the grand Marshal at the 111th Rhododendron Festival.  Brauer was also Florence’s first First Citizen.  He would have turned 91 today.

COVID-19 Update

The Oregon Health Authority has reported 74 new COVID-19 cases for Lane County.  Last night’s report included 1,339 cases statewide and 21 new deaths.  There were no additional cases added for the 97439 zip code and that number stands at 61.  The total of cases to date in the state is nearing the 100k mark with 98,936.  The death toll is at 1,283.  The Oregon Health Authority also included in its daily report their definition of “underlying Conditions.  Individuals that are often severely affected by COVID-19 have conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic liver and lung disease, diabetes, mellitus, or suffer from neurologic conditions and obesity.  Diabetes being one of the most severe issues confronting persons with the coronavirus.

State of Emergency Extended

Governor Kate Brown has extended the COVID-19 State of Emergency for another 60 days.  The move comes in part to secure federal funding available during the pandemic.  Brown says the pandemic continues to pose a public health threat with cases nearing 100 thousand.  The state of emergency also allows for the continuance of executive orders concerning health and safety for the public as well as those surrounding education.