City Council Hears From Public on Homeless Shelter; Temps Ease a Bit; Black and White Recycling Event

City Council Hears From Public on Homeless Shelter

An impassioned plea for and against the building of a year round homeless shelter was heard last night.  After a presentation of the specifics of the shelter and an explanation of the laws put into effect by city attorney Ross Williamson thirty seven of the 39 scheduled speakers approached the Florence City council one at a time to voice their opinions. Lenora Kent, a volunteer for the Florence Emergency Cold Weather Shelter told the council she knew that the shelter would not solve the homeless problem, but that it was necessary to begin to make a difference.

“These are our people, they are part of our community.  And I hope that you will all take this wonderful opportunity to address a really compassionate solution to homelessness.”

Jill Rizk on the opposing side stated the lack of medical resources even for those who reside in Florence as her reason to be against a shelter.

“I’m deeply concerned about the proposed shelter due to the significant service needs of the residents.  I have been in Florence myself for 8 years and I still don’t have a doctor, I have been assigned a nurse.  If I need to see that nurse I can’t get an appointment for two months.”

Proponents of the shelter cited compassion for the homeless and the benefit it would have in changing lives, while some in opposition stated that the number of people it could potentially help does not outweigh the risks they believe a shelter would cause.  In the end there were more speakers against the building of the shelter than there were for it.  Including a local physician who also addressed the lack of care available.  Dr. Marilyn Datzman said that there were not enough services or the right type of services available for the homeless and that needed to be addressed before a shelter was considered.

“So yes we want to help the homeless but we need to take a step back and look at the issue and think what can we really do here, we need services and as a physician I don’t have a primary care provider either.”

Business owners and residents spoke out last night.  One business owner, Terry Tomeny, expressed concern that the money that was earmarked for the local boys and girls club had vanished leaving the club to scramble to provide services for the next generation of Florence residents while hundreds of millions of dollars was put into the homeless issue around the state.  After the meeting the council deliberated briefly on what the next steps were going to be.  Another meeting for August 28th was planned where the decision could potentially be made. The crowd at the Florence Events Center was standing room only.

Temps Ease a Bit

Temperatures on the coast are expected to cool today with highs in the Florence area in the mid to upper 70’s, but up the river in the Mapleton community they are still going to see temperatures in the mid 90’s.  Yesterday the mercury hit 106 degrees in Mapleton and an extreme heat warning will be in effect there until late this evening.  Triple digit temperatures affected most of the central part of the state from Medford to Portland.  Eugene set up cooling centers at the Lane Events Center that will be open from 5pm until 8pm until the current heat wave passes through which is expected to be Wednesday evening although Thursday’s temperatures in Eugene will still be in the mid to upper 90’s.

Black and White Recycling Event

This Saturday the city of Florence will host the black and white recycling event. People can bring their tires, small propane tanks, refrigerators, old air conditioners and water coolers to the north parking lot of Siuslaw High School from 10 until 2 pm.  The event is sponsored by the city of Florence’s Environmental Management Advisory Committee.  A list of all items to be recycled can be found at