Landslide Closes Highway 126 Between Mapleton and Veneta
Mapleton High School Basketball Coach Eric Wolgamatt and another bystander helped a woman down off an 8 foot high landslide last night after she came upon it suddenly on Highway 126 at milepost 25. Crystal Buehl said that through the wind and the rain it was difficult to see the roadway but was alerted by some trees off to the side.
“I was worried that that was going to come through the vehicle so I slammed my breaks on and it wasn’t until I was up and over it that I realized it was more than just the tree.”
Her vehicle rested atop the mound. Wolgamatt was the next to arrive on the scene and said you could hear the crackling of trees and knew they had to get Buehl out of the vehicle.
“There was crackling in the woods they feared that the rest of the hill would go down and so we tried to get her attention and get her out of there.”
Wolgamatt said it took about 10 minutes for emergency vehicles to arrive including an ODOT plow. ODOT has not updated road conditions, but currently 126 between Mapleton and Veneta remains closed with highway 36 being used as an alternate to Eugene.
Several hundred households and businesses lost power overnight due to the high winds. Central Lincoln PUD is reporting about 1700 outages this morning most of them centered in Lane County along the coast and about 400 in Coos County. Due to the power outage Mapleton Schools will be closed to all virtual and limited in person clases as well as sports conditioning due to outages at the school and around the area. Crews are working to get power restored.
OHA New Coronavirus Cases
The Oregon Health Authority is reporting another 1,203 cases of coronavirus across the state with 89 new cases for Lane County. The death toll also continues to rise with 54 new deaths reported last night. There have been no new cases for the Florence area reported yesterday.
Vaccination Delays Addressed
OHA is reporting that they are not making much headway in vaccinations. In the last 2 days there were 10,465 vaccinations which is less than half of the states targeted amount. Changes, which are being made through recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, are expected to help in the distribution. The CDC is now recommending that seniors over 65 should now receive the vaccine, but Governor Kate Brown says those changes will not happen immediately. She says the OHA and care providers are working hard to get it implemented, but she is asking for patience.
Watch For Road Hazards
More on the wind storms: There is potential for road hazards throughout the area, and drivers are being asked to be cautious. Back roads that are less frequently traveled may be the most affected.
WLCF Deadline Approaches
There is just 2 days left for non-profits to get their applications in for grants from the Western Lane Community foundation. The grant application period closes on January 15th. Applications can be downloaded at the foundation’s website at wlcfonline.org. in 2020 the foundation awarded more than $87,000 in grants to local non-profits.
The City of Florence and partnering agencies are reporting that it is becoming increasingly more frequent that individuals are sharing issues of concern through social media. In a release Megan Messmer, city project manager, says that the city does not have staff to monitor social media. And that concerns should be directed to the proper department which can be accessed through the city’s website at ci.florence.or.us/contact.