Flower Baskets Need; Dairy Queen Close to Opening; Boat Inspections; Mental Health Awareness

Flower Baskets Need

No matter what happens, all 140 pole mounted flower baskets on Florence’s main streets will be up and blooming all summer.  That’s according to Bettina Hannigan, President and CEO of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The Chamber pays for those baskets.  If we don’t get them sponsored it comes out of the chamber revenues… this year.  But if we don’t know what’s going to happen next year if we don’t get the sponsorships.” 

There were 60 baskets a few years ago when the program first started, but grew quickly as interest in sponsoring them built.  This year it’s been a struggle to raise the money and that means the number of baskets may be scaled back next year.  Hannigan credits the baskets, along with decorative banners on the highway for helping Florence’s economic outlook.  She is positive by making the 101 corridor more attractive, it helps entice more visitors to stop and spend money, rather than just keep driving through.

Dairy Queen Close to Opening

A devastating fire in August 2021 turned out to be a total loss for Florence Dairy Queen.  After two years, owner Michelle Burke finally worked out details with her insurance company.  She also had to navigate the planning and building process to replace the building originally built in 1979.  Along the way, there have been frustrating delays caused by the supply chain, and even a several week delay caused by the theft of a crucial piece of equipment needed for construction.  Burke says the time is coming near.

“They’re tiling the floors now, the sheet rock is in, the cooler and the freezers in.  So they’re finishing the details inside and the equipment should be shipping out any time.”

She is optimistic she’ll be able to reopen soon, but acknowledged the realities of a moving target when it comes to construction.

“Ugh.  They give me one day and then it moves ahead.  So it looks like the end of May, beginning of June is what they’re saying.  So unless something doesn’t show up as planned I don’t know what else it could be.”

At the time of the fire she had 18 employees.  A “handful” of them have said they want to come back and Burke says they are currently accepting applications and interviewing prospective employees.

Boat Inspections

This Sunday the Lane County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting free boat inspections.  The Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol will be facilitating the event at the BiMart on Highway 101 from 10am until 1 pm.  the intent of the inspection is to ensure that the boat has everything it needs for safety on the water.

Mental Health Awareness

May is mental health awareness month and the Oregon Health Authority is bringing attention to the public on resources available to those struggling. Someone can call or text 988 if they are in crisis or having thought of suicide.  There is also an online version at 988lifeline.org.  988 will direct callers based on the area code not geolocating and can connect people with the proper providers in their area.  OHA also provides a Mental Health Kit that can be downloaded from the Oregon.gov website. ODE Mental Health Toolkit 2020.pdf (oregon.gov)