New Camera Detects License Plates; Mowing Begins; Gas Prices; Reedsport to Install New Fire Sirens

New Camera Detects License Plates

The Florence Police Department has installed a new tool for locating vehicles involved in criminal activity.  The Flock system is used in more than 2,000 agencies across the country. It is a solar powered camera system that can locate a vehicle with minimal information.  Chief John Pitcher says all the system needs to know is color of the vehicle and the state it is licensed in to activate.

“We can get plates, we can the state of the plates, the make of the car, the model of the car, things about the car like stickers and decals and specialty things like the rack.”

The Camera was installed at the beginning of April and is located on the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 126.  The  camera is designed to send real time data to law enforcement when a stolen vehicle or vehicle involved in such crimes as amber alerts.

“If there is a vehicle that has been entered in to the system, any state or national crime base system, it will tell us when that vehicle comes through.”

The camera is not designed for detecting speed according to information provided by the city. And it is not for the purpose of issuing citations for traffic violations.

Mowing Begins

Lane County will begin the annual task of clearing brush and grass from road rights-of-way this month.  Spokesperson Devon Ashbridge says before they show up in your area, you can help them by making sure there are no obstacles mixed in with the vegetation.

“We often see political signs, election signs, cropping up everywhere they’re not supposed to be.  And sometimes fencing can fall into the right of way.  And that kind of material can get bound up in our equipment and cause damage or at the very least slow us down.”

Crews do make a “sweep” through each area first, but by making sure your items aren’t in the way will help a great deal.  When they are working in our area, Ashbridge suggests that you slow down.

“They’re going as fast as they can, but we know sometimes that can be a little bit of an impediment.  So just be very careful driving through the work zone and if you do need to pass one of the mowers please do so on the left but look for that opposing traffic first.”

Lane County does more mowing and hand clearing than some other government agencies as a way to reduce the amount of chemicals needed to keep the right-of-way from getting overgrown.

Gas Prices

The price of gas continues to escalate around the country and is rising even quicker in the pacific northwest.  According to Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon says the state has seen one of the largest jumps in the nation with a 12 cent increase in the last week.  The price of a gallon of regular gas in Oregon is averaging $4.41 a gallon.  Dodds credits refinery maintenance as one of the contributing factors with many west coast refineries undergoing seasonal maintenance.  Her in Florence the price continues to increase and has surpassed Eugene prices which historically has not been the case. The current average for regular gas in the city is $4.18 a gallon.  Dodds says she believes the prices will eventually level off, but for now we can expect more increases.

Reedsport to Install New Fire Sirens

The city of Reedsport is in the process of replacing two World War II era fire sirens that were initially placed in to service in the 1950’s.  While they continue to be operational, Fire Chief Tom Anderson says they use a lot of power to operate.  Until the new siren is installed the city has come to an agreement to use Douglas County’s disabled tsunami siren at the Douglas County Courthouse annex.