Rhody Court Cancelled; One New Case For Florence; City Council Considers Annexation

Rhody Court Cancelled

There is still hope that 2021 will not be a repeat of 2020 with plans for the 2021 Rhododendron Festival underway, unfortunately one of the aspects of the festival, the Rhody Court will not go on as scheduled.   President and CEO of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, Bettina Hannigan says there is no safe way to move forward with the ceremonial aspect of the court as a result of the pandemic.  The annual coronation of the Rhody Queen and King is traditionally the official start of the Rhododendron Festival.  Last year was the first time the Rhody festival had to be cancelled since WWII and the court was conducted online.  Hannigan says the festival, overall, pumps about 147 million dollars into the economy annually and plans are in place to make that happen again this year.  As for the Rhody Court, Hannigan says it’s a shame to lose this joyful tradition.

One New Case For Florence

The daily case rate for coronavirus in Lane County is staying below 100.  Yesterday Lane County Public Health reported 71 new cases and one new case for the Florence area.  Florence has now had 145 cases to date and the county is just under 9000 at 8980.  Statewide yesterday there were 750 new cases reported along with 6 deaths.  There is some positive news regarding vaccines though as the state made its one day goal of 12,000 with 12,292 doses administered on Wednesday and a two day total of 19,010.  The state has about 200,000 doses available to distribute and that number is climbing as new inventory arrives.  360,000 doses have been administered to date.

City Council Considers Annexation

In a rare back to back meeting for the Florence City Council on Monday the council will hold a public hearing on the annexation of the Benedick holdings, a 48.82 acre property on the north side of the city’s urban growth zone.  Concerns arose over the potential annexation as a group from the Idlewyld neighborhood opposing the move by the city.  The city’s current policy is only to annex properties that request annexation, but the group fears that because it is only a policy, that a new city council could change that policy forcing other homeowners in the area to be annexed.  There is also a provision that could require homeowners to pay for water and sewer upgrades, but that is also not in the city’s current plan.  The city is continuing their online meeting schedule that is accessible through the city’s website at ci.florence.or.us