Yesterday’s two and a half hour work session for the Florence City Council on the possible establishment of a full year homeless shelter on the north end of town created a lot of questions for the council. the planned shelter would consist of 21 housing pods and a common area that would include water and sewer availability and cost about $250,000 a year to operate. Tara Johnson, director of the Devereaux Center in Coos Bay was on hand to explain the shelter operations, set up, and associated costs with the program as well as deliver personal stories of the successes the Center in Coos Bay has had. She explained that the average stay at the facility there is about 6 months, though some have stayed up to a year. She continued to explain the way individuals are chosen and the rules that must be abided by. She said that on average the facility there has about a 40% success rate of moving people into social services, jobs and potentially permanent housing. The viewing area was filled with citizens wanting to hear the proposal. At the end of the session it was determined by the councilors that a special meeting was necessary to get the public’s input. The plan was to put it on the August 7th agenda, but according to councilor Bill Meyer, that was not feasible.
“we’re not going to be ready at the next council meeting but I would suggest that we have a workshop and open it up to input, I think, would be worthwhile.”
City manager Erin Reynolds suggested the date of August 14th for the meeting as well as moving the site to the Florence Events Center to accommodate the number of residents anticipated. It will be at 5:30 and the public will have the opportunity to comment and ask questions at that time. Concerns about the impact such a shelter would have on the residential and business community were top of mind but did not lessen the concern over compassion for those dealing with homelessness.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office continues to crack down on illegal marijuana groves around the county. The latest is a large scale operation near Cottage Grove. The operation was on a 13 acre property with several out buildings and hidden crawl spaces. The Sheriff’s office solicited the Springfield police as well as the Drug Enforcement Agency for the operation. Individuals involved in the illegal manufacturing of marijuana fled into the wooded are as law enforcement entered the property. After several hours 10 individuals were apprehended and weapons, cash and more than 1700 plants were confiscated. LCSO said many of the detainees appeared to be migrant workers that were also victims of Human Trafficking. They also found evidence of cockfighting on the premises
Travel Oregon is launching a new campaign to make Oregon destinations more inviting and educational for travelers within and from outside the state. The program is called “Travel Oregon with Travel Oregon” which offers personal guides, available online, to answer questions and provide information on a variety of topics and destinations. Todd Davidson is the CEO of Travel Oregon and he says that there is so much to see and do in the state that having an individual that can guide you is invaluable. For more information on the program you can visit traveloregon.com