Emergency Shelter to Open; Winter Weather Travel; New COVID Cases; Omicron Now in Oregon; Tree Pick Up

Emergency Shelter to Open

The Florence Emergency Cold Weather Shelter will open this evening and tomorrow evening as well.  normally the shelter would open when temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.  Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 30’s tonight and lower 40’s tomorrow evening but inclimate weather has been occurring in the area and the need for shelter is widespread.  Greg Wood who oversees the shelter says a generous gift from the city of Florence allows for the pre constructed pallet enclosures to have electricity and will provide a warm dry place for those without a place to stay.  The shelter will once again provide transportation from safeway, the Siuslaw Library and Fred Meyers.  Last year transportation had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.  The shelter is located across from Sand Ranch on Highway 101.  A press release from Wood said that there may be more days this week the shelter will open.  That is to be decided later this week.

Winter Weather Travel

Winter weather has been wreaked havoc on travel to Eugene yesterday.  Early Monday morning there was an accident two miles west of Noti that closed down the highway in both directions and crews had to repair a downed power line.  Shortly after that snow and ice accumulation in the badger mountain area caused another closure while Oregon State police redirected traffic and acted as pilot vehicles to return vehicles down the east side of Badger Mountain.  The roads were reopened at about 11:30 but within a half an hour a Landslide was reported east of the 126 tunnel that led to more traffic delays.  ODOT quickly dispatched with some trees and rock that had spilled over onto Highway 126.  Later in the afternoon a collision between a snow plow and a vehicle closed down the highway for a third time.  Delays of more than 20 minutes lasted through the evening. Winter weather is expected to continue through the day today.

New COVID Cases

Over the weekend there were 7 more cases of COVID-19 for the Florence Area bringing the total number of cases to 836.  Covid numbers continue to rack up for the area as county wide numbers are also seeing increases.  108 cases were reported for Lane County and 1,387 cases were reported statewide.  There were  39 new deaths reported.

Omicron Now in Oregon

They said it was only a matter of time, and that time expired yesterday.  The Oregon Health Authority reported its first case of the Omicron variant in the state.  in fact there were actually 3 cases confirmed in Washington and Multnomah counties.  The variant was detected yesterday  by the Oregon Health and Science University Laboratory.  It was also determined that the cases were in completely vaccinated individuals

Tree Pick Up

It is not yet Christmas, but the Siuslaw Valley Firefighters association wants to spread the word that they will be collecting old Christmas trees beginning  on January 2nd and again on January 8th.  There is a 5 dollar donation appreciated for the pickup.  They are asking that the tree be free of any objects.  They ask that the $5.00 donation be attached to the tree in a plastic, see-through bag.