Wednesday News – 08/23/2023

Council Work Session

The Florence City Council will hear two different presentations Thursday morning during their regularly scheduled work session.  The first will be from Holly Mar-Conte, the Child Care Sector Strategist for OnWard Eugene.  Mar-Conte will update the council on the status of child care in the Florence area and how it relates to Economic Development Business Support.  The other presentation will come from the city’s Human Resource Director, Alex Ferguson, about the Paid Leave Oregon program that will begin paying benefits to qualified applicants next month.  Thursday’s work session is set to start at City Hall at 8:30 AM. While it is open to the public, it is a work session for councilors and they mayor and no public input is scheduled.

PeaceHealth to Close University District Hospital

PeaceHealth has begun the process of seeking regulatory approval to close the University District hospital in downtown Eugene.  If approved by federal regulators many, of the services at the former Sacred Heart Medical Center would be moved to nearby RiverBend in Springfield, less than six miles away.  Ambulatory services, including those provided by PeaceHealth Medical Group clinics, as well as Home and Community Services would remain downtown along with the Behavioral Health services.  The latter program, though, would be phased out once there is a “sustainable alternative” in the community.  The University District Emergency Department will be the first closure in November when those services will be provided only at RiverBend.

Rhododendron Festival Theme

It may be 9 months away, but the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is kicking off plans for the 2024 Rhododendron Festival in May.  Chamber president and CEO Bettina Hannigan says they are seeking suggestions for the theme for the annual event.  This will be the 118th time the event will be presented.  Deadline to submit ideas will be on September 5th  and the theme chosen will come with a $100 prize and bragging rights.  Hannigan says as always they are looking for a theme that will represent the natural beauty of the Rhododendron flower.  You can submit your theme suggestion by emailing or by dropping it by the Visitor’s center on Highway 101 next to the Krab Kettle.

Pumps Increase in Price

No relief in sight at the pumps according to Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon. She says the hurricane that battered California has had an effect on the price of fuel as well as the sweltering heat in the mid-west.  Despite a decrease overall in the national average, Oregon has increased its prices by 3 cents a gallon for regular.  With travel expected to be heavy for Labor Day, Dodds says a decrease in prices is not likely.  Here along the coast the price has risen to $4.59 on average with the low price at $4.48 and the high at $4.64.  She says overall crude oil prices have declined, but demand continues to increase.