Wednesday emergency drill-Florence City Council talks camping-Paid Leave Oregon ready to pay-Siuslaw School Board to swear in two new directors

Coordinated Emergency Response Training will be all wet

A casual observer of the Siuslaw River tomorrow morning might be alarmed to see a flurry of activity on the water.  Not to worry, says Assistant Florence City Manager Megan Messmer.  This is just a drill.  (messmer-1) “This training was initiated by the US Coast Guard.  But the goal is the inter-agency coordination between various emergency response agencies to make sure they know who each other are and that they can work quickly and efficiently together to respond to any incident that may occur.”  It’s slated to begin at ten AM with a possible emergency at the Floating restroom near the Port of Siuslaw, then it will escalate to a second emergency a little further upriver.  Messmer says in addition to crews from the U.S. Coast Guard Siuslaw River Station, Western Lane Fire and EMS authority, along with the Lane County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol will respond.  Law enforcement officers with both the Florence and Eugene Police will also be involved.  Many of the “out of town” assets will be staging early Wednesday at the Florence Events Center.

At the same time that emergency responders will be participating in Wednesday’s drill on the Siuslaw River, the Florence City Council will be holding a work session at City Hall.  Two topics are on the agenda for the 8:30 AM meeting.  The first is a continuation of a discussion began in May about proposed parking code amendments.  City Attorney Ross Williamson will provide options on make the code come into line with recent legislation and legal decisions concerning camping on city streets.  If time allows, the council may take a “field trip” to tour an emergency stabilization project on the Siuslaw River that is causing erosion problems on Coast Guard Road just off Rhododendron Drive.  Wednesday’s meeting is open to the public, both in person and online, but no public input will be allowed.

Paid Leave program gearing up

Oregon Workers could be looking forward to having more paid time off for important life events.  The “Paid Leave Oregon” program is a division of the Oregon Employment Department and was authorized by the Legislature in 2022.  It’s funded like an insurance program.  Workers and large employers have already been paying into a trust fund that workers can draw on to pay for time off because of a “qualifying life event” like a birth, death, or serious illness.  Any employee that has made at least $1000 in the previous year could qualify.  Information is at the website

Siuslaw School Board begins 2023-2024

The Siuslaw School District Board of Directors will spend Wednesday beginning at noon in a “Board Development Workshop”.   Directors will spend the afternoon reviewing the roles and responsibilities that come with being an elected director.  Oregon School Boards Association specialist Vince Adams will also talk with them about the ongoing strategic planning process.  At six pm, their regular monthly meeting gets underway.  Business items include the swearing-in of two new board members and two returning members.  Josh Haberly and Tamara Cole were elected in May.  Returning members Diana Pimlott and Brian LaCouture were re-elected.  Other business will include an update from Special Programs Director Lisa Utz on the development of transitional services.