Some Outages May Take Days to Repair; Wind Storm; More COVID Cases; City Schedule; Input Wanted on Hult Dam

Some Outages May Take Days to Repair

Central Lincoln PUD is reporting about 6 thousand outages in their coverage area, but only about 1300 of those are in the Florence area.  Chris Chandler with Central Lincoln PUD says while most customers in the Florence area will have power back on over the next several hours those in outlying areas may have to wait a little longer.

“For those who live in very rural areas with much smaller outages those may take a while to get to there may be a significant amount of trees that have been blown down that have to be taken out, so for folks in really rural portions of our service are we are recommending they plan for 3-4 days without power.”

Chandler says if you notice a downed power line to call their hotline at 877-265-3211

Wind Storm

A high wind warning blew into Florence last night and into this morning causing downed trees along with some power outages.  Central Lincoln PUD reported that several thousand customers along the coast were affected.  Clusters of outages ranged from Dunes City to customers in SouthView and east to Mapleton.  Wind gusts reaching70 miles per hour in some area caused downed trees and even caused the closure of some roads.  Early this morning a portion of highway 101 south of Sutton Lake was closed in both directions due to vegetation in the roadway.  The area affected Bay Berry Drive and Sutton Lake Road as well.  in addition to the wind and the rain a flood watch is also in effect until 4 pm this afternoon for much of the central Oregon coast.  The effects of which will likely peak during high tide early this afternoon.  Drivers should take caution as trees could be unstable and still come down.

More COVID Cases

There were 11 more cases of COVID-19 reported in Florence on Friday and new totals expected out this morning as the Florence area has now exceeded the 900 mark for cases since the beginning of the pandemic.  At 908 cases have been consistenly on the rise in the area despite information from Lane County Public Health regarding the high percentages of vaccinations.  Lane County overall has also been seeing increases particularly this past week between Christmas and New Years with 244 cases reported on Friday.  And the Oregon Health Authority reported almost 3,000 new cases on New Year’s eve.  Of the new cases reported statewide just over 63% were in unvaccinated individuals.  The rest were breakthrough cases and the average age of those infected in that group was 36 with a number of cases attributed to the ages of 12-17.  The OHA is reporting they still continue to vaccinate individuals at a rate of about 13 thousand per day.

City Schedule

The City of Florence has no planned meetings for this week.  The Florence City council, the planning commission and the Transportation Committee will all be back in session next week beginning on Monday, January 10th with the City Council.  Meetings are still being held virtually due to COVID-19 protocols.

Input Wanted on Hult Dam

Input from the public is being sought on a proposal to remove a small dam from a tributary of the Siuslaw River.  Cheryl Adcock , with the US Bureau of Land Management says the “Hult Dam” on upper Lake Creek 34 miles northeast of Florence was built in the 1950s by the Hult Lumber Company to create a log storage reservoir.  The BLM has owned the reservoir and surrounding property since 1994 and Adcock says it no longer serves its intended purpose.   She also says the dam is not needed for flood control and in fact a 2017 inspection found that the dam has a potential to fail due to its age and condition.  That threatens the downstream community of Horton as well as nearby Highway 36.  Public comment on the proposal is required to be received.  Adcock says the 30-day window for comments will end January 29th.  Information on the proposed removal as well as how to comment  can be found by googling “Bureau of Land Management Springfield Oregon”.