Chief Turner Retires; Humane Society Donation Drive; Vote Early; Lane County Changes Up COVID Reporting

Chief Turner Retires

The City of Florence has announced that effective this month Florence Police Chief Tom Turner will retire.  Chief Turner recently dealt with some health issues that played a role in his announcement according to Public Information Officer/Assistant City Manager Megan Messmer.  In a release published yesterday commander John Pitcher will act as interim Chief of Police.  Commander Pitcher says he is thankful to Chief Turner for the mentorship provided over the years and is prepared for the role he will now play.  The release states that the city will be looking at the department and evaluating the needs before moving forward on a permanent decision.  Pitcher was officially placed in the role on May 6th.  Chief Turner retired as Lane County Sheriff in 2015.  Turner began his career with the City of Eugene in 1981.  City Manager Erin Reynolds says it was an honor to have Turner represent the city as Chief of Police and his leadership and knowledge contributed greatly to the direction the department has gone in recent years.  The City will be releasing more information in the next 30 days.

Humane Society Donation Drive

The local Fred Meyer outlet has teamed up with the Oregon Coast Humane Society for a donation drive this week.  A list of needed supplies will be posted Wednesday.  Shoppers can check the list, go shopping and drop their donation in the south lobby of the store on their way out.  Humane Society director Elizabeth Thompson says the shelter is “knee deep” in kitten and puppy season.  With more than 100 animals in their care they are not only in need of food, but supplies with which to clean and sanitize.  You don’t have to shop at Fred Meyer to support the shelter.  Donations can be dropped off directly at the shelter, 2480 Rhododendron Drive daily between ten and five.

Vote Early

Lane County is urging voters to return their ballots as early as possible to ensure their votes are counted.  Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart says that voters that choose to mail their ballots rather than dropping them off at one of the 21 drop off points should get them in the mail well before the deadline of May 17th.  She says not all postal boxes will be picking up late on the final day and late deposits may not get postmarked in time.

Lane County Changes Up COVID Reporting

With the COVID-19 virus still climbing in the state Lane County Public Health has announced that it will now go to weekly reporting rather than the daily reporting of case numbers.  It will no longer offer previous week totals and whether the virus has appeared in wastewater.  One of the reasons given by Lane County Public Health Information officer Jason Davis is that more and more people are choosing at home testing making the totals released by the county less impactful.  Davis says this is subject to change at some point but for the time being this will be the new protocol.  He says it is still not known what the future might hold.