City Council Closes Public Hearing on Annexation; Hybrid Education Begins; COVID-19 Update; Cold Weather Shelter Open; No Coastal Vaccination Clinics

City Council Closes Public Hearing on Annexation

The Florence City Council deliberated for about two hours last night as they considered all of the public testimony and covered many of the concerns that citizens have voiced over the two months prior.  Flooding, traffic, and who could potentially be annexed down the road were all part of the public record.  Concerns were even voiced by the public as to previous dealings with the applicant Benedick Holdings LLC, but when it came down to it the council was reminded by city Attorney Ross Williamson that voting against the proposal based on a judgment of character or previous behavior by the applicant was not an option

“I think what we’re looking at tonight and we start deliberating is this piece of property and the services that can be provided to this piece of property.  We’re not looking at the owner, we are not looking at the potential developer, who may or may not be the same person.  We’re not looking the style of houses.  We are not looking at the number of houses. We are looking at this piece of property.”

Hybrid Education Begins

Siuslaw Elementary School opened their doors for hybrid instruction yesterday.  Students were on campus from 10 am to 3 pm.  It was an experiment of sorts in logistics.  According to Siuslaw Schools superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak groups of students were offset by 30 minutes between arrivals, some transported by bus and some by family members.  The schools also have a tentative date for middle and high school students to phase in to hybrid learning.  That date is March 8th.  Grzeskowiak says he believes the forthcoming health report metric will show that cases have been low enough in the past weeks to allow for other classes to start.  The schools will also have the availability of rapid antigen testing for any student or staff that exhibits any sign of symptoms or illness.  Those tests will be available as early as March 1st.  Grzeskowiak says the tests are able to determine a COVID infection 5 to 7 days after exposure even if an individual is asymptomatic.

COVID-19 Update

The Oregon Health Authority has reported 324 new or presumptive COVID 19 cases for the state.  Lane County Public Health reported 52 new cases.  Hospitalizations are down in Lane County with 17 people currently hospitalized with 4 individuals in the ICU.  Lane County is also reporting that more than 16 thousand individuals have been fully vaccinated with just over 30 thousand having received their first dose.  There were no new cases reported for the 97439 zip code yesterday.

Cold Weather Shelter Open

For the second night in a row the Florence Cold Weather shelter will be open this evening.  The shelter is now located on Highway 101 across from the Sand Ranch on the north side of Florence.   Due to the coronavirus pandemic certain protocols have to be maintained and masks and distancing requirements will be adhered to.  Guests can arrive at 5pm this evening and stay until 8am in the morning.

No Coastal Vaccination Clinics

Lane County Public Health has not currently scheduled any vaccination clinics for the Oregon Coast.  Pre-registration numbers are low for the area and according to local health officials if anyone is concerned about getting the vaccine they need to register.  Supplies of the vaccine in western lane county have been limited due to the smaller number of people requesting a vaccination spot.  You can access the registration portal at and follow the links.