Mapleton Water Woes Continue; EV Stations; City Stimulus Monies; Emergency Cold Weather Shelter To Open; Low Numbers Could Bring “Low Risk” Level to County

Mapleton Water Woes Continue

After almost 2 weeks of Mapleton residents voicing their discontent and frustration over high water bills on Facebook there was an apparent resignation of the Mapleton Water District superintendent Terry Saubert along with at least two board members.  Calls to the water district telephone went unanswered yesterday as Coast Radio attempted to confirm the reports.  Last month Mapleton residents were hit with extremely high water bills, some in the thousands with little or no explanation of why.  One explanation blamed the bills on the lack of proper reading of the water meters during and since the breakdown of the system last year.  Customers have complained that there could not have been any meter readings as some meters have been covered with dirt and debris and were undisturbed.  Over the past several days there have been inquiries to law firms in the Eugene area and the information was disseminated over the Mapleton, Oregon Community Connections Facebook page.  Some residents believing that they owe the money and should just pay while others said the math just did not add up.  One residents annual water usage totaled 700.00 according to one post and the current bill received was over $3000.  Calls were made for an independent inquiry into the situation.

EV Stations

With the state of Oregon being in the top ten for electric vehicles in the country, what does that mean for rural areas like Florence.  One certainty is that there will need to be an infrastructure in place to accommodate the growing trend of electric vehicles.  On March 4th the city council, through their morning work session,  included in its infrastructure and capital improvements work plans the task to pursue opportunities to support public electric vehicle charging stations.  There are currently 5 operative charging stations in the Florence area including  Three Rivers Casino, Driftwood Shores, the River House inn and Old Town Inn and at Central Lincoln PUD.  Mayor Joe Henry says the city council continues to focus on opportunities that make sense for the environment and for the city and are looking at a number of initiatives that include charging stations.  Public Works director Mike Miller says that while the work plan and goals are not finalized, EV stations will be presented as part of the annual budget proposal to the council and the budget committee

City Stimulus Monies

As part of the America Rescue Plan Act of 2021 smaller cities will be eligible for key funds from the federal government, but according to Assistant City Manager Megan Messmer, there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be researched as to just how and how much a city the size of Florence could receive.  Messmer says it is her understanding from the paper work that smaller cities would likely receive their portion through the state rather than the federal government.  Senator Ron Wyden sent out information to local and state municipalities outlining the funds that will be allocated.  Messmer says they are working to understand how the process works and are awaiting further guidance.  19.53 billion dollars will be allocated to municipalities with a population of fewer than 50,000

Emergency Cold Weather Shelter To Open

Even though temperatures are not expected to get near freezing over the next two days, the Florence Emergency Cold Weather Shelter has announced that they will be open and receiving individuals beginning at 5pm this evening.  The facility, now located across from the sand ranch on highway 101 is also in need of volunteers and can contact Bryan Haydel or Meris Robinson if they are able to lent support for the next two nights including overnights. (541-997-1729  206-550-2102)  those numbers will be listed on the online version of the story.  All COVID-19 requirements will be strictly adhered to.

Low Numbers Could Bring “Low Risk” Level to County

There were 12 new cases of COVID-19 reported for Lane County yesterday.  The numbers are encouraging according to Lane County Public Health Liaison Jason Davis who says if this trend continues we will see a change in risk level.

“This sets us up for moving to the low risk category and next week at the end if our numbers continue the way they are we anticipate we can move into that low risk category.”

As far as the update for vaccinations, Lane County will be preparing for giving the second doses for those who received the Pfizer vaccine at the March 3rd and March 6th clinics.  Those who received their vaccination on the third will get a second dose on the 24th.  the second second-dose clinic is set for March 27.  For those yet to be vaccinated Davis says hold on, they will get to you.  They are also asking for those who have not yet registered to get registered if you are interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.