Local Arrested for Arson; Fire Near Driftwood Shores; Mapleton Offers Superintendent Job; COVID-19 Update

Local Arrested for Arson

Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue responded to a small fire at Twin Lakes Store yesterday morning. The fire was apparently intentionally started.  The fire was extinguished by a passer by who spotted the smoke and flames. SVFR was called out at 7:32 am and confirmed the fire had been extinguished.  A quick survey indicated that the fire did not enter the building and damage was limited to the exterior of the building.  West Lane Fire and EMS Authority Chief Michael Schick said Lane County Deputies were able to view camera footage and noticed someone tossing a lit projectile at the door.

“There appeared to be an individual that had a bottle with some sort of rag inserted in to it, he went off of the camera for about 15 seconds and came back and we observed that it was on fire, he threw it at the front of the store, impact zone appeared to be a window at the front of the store and then the video camera showed him running from the scene across highway 101”

After a search of the area the suspects clothing was discovered and shortly after a suspect was in custody.  Lane County sheriff deputies arrested 34 year old Jay Longo of Florence.  Longo was transported to the Lane County Jail.  Charges are pending.   Lane County Sheriff’s Arson investigation team as well as Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue Fire investigation team are investigating.

Fire Near Driftwood Shores

Another Fire Wednesday at approximately 11:40 am took place near Driftwood Shores.  Smoke was noticed from a home located next to the Driftwood Shores property that fire was also rapidly extinguished with some minor damage inside the building on the wall and an adjacent sofa.  There was also smoke damage throughout the interior.  Chief Schick said it was early reporting that likely saved the structure.  SVFR is doing an investigation and Schick says it appears the fire was centered about recently installed heat pumps at the residence.

Mapleton Offers Superintendent Job

The Mapleton School Board is in contract and wage negotiations with a Eugene-area woman they hope will take over the reins of the district as Superintendent July 1st.  The board officially offered Sue Wilson, the current Administrator for School Improvement at Lane Education Service District the position Wednesday evening.  She has previously worked in the Eugene 4J School District as a curriculum administrator focused on math, science, health and physical education.  If contract negotiations are successful, Wilson will succeed 10-year veteran superintendent Jodi O’Mara.  Board chair Mary Ellen Mansfield was unavailable for comment.  The Mapleton School District currently enrolls approximately 160 students starting with kindergarten and running through grade 12.

COVID-19 Update

During a monthly media briefing yesterday Deputy State Health Officer and Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Jeanne told media that the numbers of COVID-19 cases being reported are likely below the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases affecting Oregonians.  Jeanne also said that they do not know yet the full effect of how the lifting of mask mandates, those statewide and those associated with the recently overturned federal travel mandate, will impact the coming months.  Jeanne did say that some good news is that more than 83% of Oregonians are either partially or fully vaccinated.  He also said that since hospitalizations lag behind case numbers we can likely see an increase in those numbers in the coming weeks but based on data it should be much lower than previous months.  Numbers released yesterday included 936 new cases, 131 hospitalized (9more than yesterday).  Lane County reported 51 new cases and the Florence area rose by one to 1,517 all time.