Transportation Committee; Food Insecurity; Credit Unions Tackle Scam Texts

Transportation Committee

The City of Florence Transportation committee will meet tomorrow evening with one action item on the agenda.  The committee will discuss compact car parking standards.  The issue could potentially be updated in the city code following the discussion.  There is currently no specific wording that standardizes compact car parking for the city.   Compact car parking spots are generally 1 foot narrower than standard parking spaces and generally 3 feet shorter allowing for more spaces.  Those numbers are based on parallel parking spots.  According to information from the city’s planning department, the recommendation currently is to not reintroduce compact car requirements into the city code.  A memo to the transportation department from the planning department shows more cons to the changes than the benefits it might add, including the redesign of parking areas, and their information shows that there has been a decline in the use of compacts.  The transportation committee meets at 5pm tomorrow at city hall.

Food Insecurity

September is Hunger Action Month, and many Oregonians are struggling to get the food they need. At their annual state of hunger address, C-E-O of Oregon Food Bank Susannah Morgan said more than a million people are expected to seek emergency food assistance through their network. She says despite the worst days of the pandemic coming to a close, people are struggling for other reasons.

“We hear time and time again for parents, seniors and young people alike that food and housing prices are still too high to make ends meet with the type of jobs and pay that are available, let alone for folks on fixed incomes like Social Security.”

Morgan says federal food assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, is the most important in the fight against hunger because of its scale. However, expanded pandemic benefits ended in March. A recent study found SNAP recipients experienced a 21 percent increase in food insufficiency after the increase ended.  The Florence Food Share currently serves more that 750 families in the region who suffer from food insufficiencies.

Credit Unions Tackle Scam Texts

Oregon and Washington credit unions are working together to tackle text message scammers. Credit unions in the region have seen a sharp increase in complaints about fraudulent texts pretending to be from the financial institutions. At the peak of the scam, one credit union fielded between 200 and 400 calls per day reporting it. Matthew Wilson with the Springfield-based Oregon Community Credit Union says members and non-members alike reported the scam texts.

“What that does is it winds up flooding our call centers so that it makes it more difficult to help our members with their daily transactional activity.”

Losses from internet scams have been on the rise over the past five years. In 2022, there were more than 800-thousand complaints and a total loss of more than ten billion dollars, according to the F-B-I’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.