Siuslaw River Boardwalk

Graduation Moves Back Indoors; Leeway for Homeless on Public Land; Vaccination Goal Approaches; Fireworks Back On;

Graduation Moves Back Indoors

Ninety-one Siuslaw High School students will walk during graduation this Friday. Siuslaw High School counselor Steve Moser and Coast Radio’s Bob Sneddon will be co-hosting the live radio broadcast of graduation between 6:45 and 9:00 pm on Friday. For the first time, in addition to its traditional graduates, the class of 2021 will also be honoring students who have completed their GED.

“Which is going to be a first for us this year. Something I’m excited for myself”

The processional was originally planned outdoors, but with the recent pandemic change to low-risk the district graduation will return to the gym.

“But this is one of those events that whatever you do there is no way to make it virtual so we have to find a way to make it live, obviously including the students and the families.”

Moser says that the vehicle parade, started by parents last year during the pandemic, will continue as part of graduation this year. The parade will begin at the middle school at noon, head down Spruce, through Old Town and back up Kingwood, Moser says.

Leeway for Homeless on Public Land

The Oregon Legislature has given final passage to a bill to protect homeless campers in public spaces. The measure, which goes to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, mandates that any city or county law must be reasonable if it regulates sitting, lying, sleeping or keeping warm and dry outdoors on public property. Under the measure, a homeless person charged with violating a ban on camping or loitering would have an affirmative defense against a law that is not objectively reasonable. A person experiencing homelessness may also sue to challenge the objective reasonableness of a city or county law.

Vaccination Goal Approaches

The State of Oregon is just about 1.8 % from reaching its goal of a 70% vaccination rate among individuals 18 years of age and older.  The Oregon Health Authority’s public tableau is reporting a 67.2 percentage rate but the numbers do not include numbers from veteran affairs, department of defense, or the bureau of Prisons, but relies solely on data from the Center for Disease Control.  Governor Kate Brown has been encouraging a major push in vaccinations in order to reach the 70 percentile by June 21st.  As vaccination rates increase the steady decline in daily cases has been registered.  Many of the counties across the state have been reporting single digit numbers and percentages of positive tests have also been declining.  In Lane County yesterday there were 10 cases reported.  Hospitalization cases are also declining albeit on a much slower rate.  The state still has 164 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients.  Lane County still has 19 of those cases.

Fireworks Back On

As we reported yesterday the change in status to permanent Lower Risk has prompted a quick reaction to change the status of the 4th of July celebrations in the City of Florence.  The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce yesterday said the event was back on as entities scrambled to bring, specifically, the fireworks presentation.  President and CEO of the Florence area Chamber of Commerce Bettina Hannigan says it was with the help and support of the City of Florence, the Port of Siuslaw and the Chamber to make it happen.  Hannigan says it was never something the Chamber wanted to cancel, but at the time there were concerns about liability in a pandemic where the future risk level was still unknown, but a permanent Lower Risk, and the potential of all restrictions being cancelled by the end of June has changed the local climate.  She says she knows it has been a wild ride.

“It has been a topsy turvy year and we appreciate everyone’s patience and kindness as we navigate ever changing waters.”

 While the details have been ironed out with the company providing the fireworks, Hannigan says there is still the  question of how to pay for it, the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is looking for help in offsetting the $18,000 cost and hopes the generosity of the community will extend to the July 4th celebration.