New Vehicle for WLFEA
Six million dollars have been awarded to fire agencies across the state for wildfire season to fund additional staffing, missing from the list of agencies was Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority. Chief Michael Schick says that is because they also opted for another benefit from the Oregon State Fire Marshal. Agencies had the choice to apply for the additional funding and for a Brush Truck. Chief Schick says they submitted grant requests for both and were awarded the Truck, which dropped them on the priority list for the $35,000 in additional funding. Schick says that if they were to have prioritized, the Fire apparatus was at the top of the list. He also said that there was no choice in the color of the truck, which is white, but said it was free. He says they have not yet received the vehicle and that it could take up to a year as each vehicle is custom made. Regional agencies that did receive the grant money include Yachats.
The longest-ever walkout in the Oregon Legislature entered its fifth week on Thursday. Since May 3rd , 11 of the 13 Republicans in the Senate have boycotted the session over a bill that would, say Democrat leaders, “guarantee” abortion rights and gender-affirming care.” The only two Republicans who have not joined in the boycott both represent residents on the Oregon Coast: Lincoln City Republican Dick Anderson represents the fifth district; and Port Orford’s David Brock-Smith is in the first. Talks between Oregon Democrat Governor Tina Kotek and Senate Minority leader Tim Knopp (kih-NOPE) have stalled, making it unlikely that anything of substance will get done this session. Senate Republicans have promised to return to the capitol on June 25th, just one day before the session is scheduled to adjourn, in order to pass a new two-year state budget and other bipartisan bills. Senator Dick Anderson’s office has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Tourism Dollars Increase
The latest report on how tourism dollars affects communities around the state has been released. The Dean Runyan report listed West Lane County as having received an economic boost from tourism in the amount of 320.7 million dollars. Florence Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bettina Hannigan says the numbers are up 57% over the previous year which saw revenues at 200.8 Million Dollars.
Bears Out and About
Images of small, medium and large sized brown furry creatures are popping up on social media. Bear sightings are increasing and they are looking for food. This time of year it is important to secure trash bins and to take in your bird feeders before sundown. On the north side of Heceta Beach Road there are several bears ranging from a Mother to cubs. Pets are also at risk of danger, though often a bear will retreat to the woods or to an area in which they feel protected. There have even been sightings closer to town and cameras are catching the bears rummaging through trash. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife bears have a great memory for where food can be found, and if they become familiar enough, they could pose a threat to human safety. Beth Quillan with ODFW said in a statement that grills are also a popular target for bears so it is important to keep them clean and not easily accessible.