Police Investigate Robberies; COVID-19; Roadway Issues: Hwy 126; City Approves Tax Exemption; Cold Weather Shelters Open

Police Investigate Robberies

The Florence Police department are looking to secure a warrant for the arrest of two individuals they believe to be involved in an armed robbery on Thursday December 9th.  at approximately 11:43 pm that evening police responded to the report of an armed robbery at the 7-11 convenience store on the corner of 9th street and Highway 101.  A lone male entered the store and pointed a revolver at the clerk and demanded money.  The suspect left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.  Police were unable to locate the suspect but an investigation at the scene developed a description of two possible suspects and a vehicle involved.  Yesterday morning at approximately 4:23 am police responded to another robbery at Circle K on Highway 101.  A male suspect in that robbery demanded money and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.  The investigation in both matters continues.


Lane County Public Health is reporting a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases this past week.  The county only reported 306 total cases down from the previous week of 572 cases a 46.5% drop.  Health officials say their ongoing vaccination efforts are steady and just under 73% of the population has at least one vaccination.  Oregon ranks just above the national average for vaccinations which is 72%.  Oregon is averaging over 21,000 vaccinations daily. Death rates and hospitalization rates are continuing an upward trend.  49 deaths were reported yesterday by the OHA and there are currently 382 COVID patients in Oregon hospitals with 97 in ICU.  4 more cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the Florence area bringing the total to 840 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Roadway Issues: Hwy 126

More roadway issues plagued highway 126 yesterday as an accident closed down the roadway for about 2 hours at milepost 29.  Winter weather conditions are being blamed for the recent onslaught of crashes along the dangerous stretch of road.  ODOT was concerned that the roads may continue to host problems with freezing temperatures overnight.  Tripcheck cameras are showing clear roads, but ice can still be a problem.  Travelers are encouraged to take extra precautions.

City Approves Tax Exemption

Monday evening the Florence City Council passed the Multi Unit Property Tax Exemption Ordinance that would allow builders to receive up to 10 years of tax relief on new multi unit construction.  The exemption is to encourage builders to build multiple units on available properties rather than single family homes.  the council passed ordinance 22 series 2021 by a 4-1 vote with counselor Wisniewski the solo no vote.  In her opposition Wisniewski share her concerns on giving relief to builders.

“I just have a strange feeling that a lot of the cost associated with this is eventually going to fall on the citizens of Florence.”

Counselor Meyer  clarified some concerns that he had heard about the ordinance.

“All these taxing agencies have agreed to tighten their belt and see where they can find efficiencies to in effect pay for this.”

Mayor Joe Henry said the only losses come from not passing the ordinance.

“The only thing they are giving up is revenue on any construction that would take place in the future. If because we don’t pass thisMUPTE, they don’t build we wouldn’t be getting the income anyways.”

Cold Weather Shelters Open

The Emergency Cold Weather Shelter will be open again this evening for individuals that are homeless and have no relief from the cold weather.  Last night was the first night for the individual shelters to be open and depending on weather conditions throughout this week there may be other nights needed according to Greg Wood who is heading up the shelter program in association with the Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw.