Non-Profit Helps Students; Study Rates Oregon Elders; Gas Prices; City Council

Non-Profit Helps Students

A local non-profit with the goal of helping kids who struggle with homelessness and staying in school.  Safe Shelter for Siuslaw Students was formed by a group of concerned residents three years ago with a specific focus.

“It was created by three retired educators, myself and Anne Winthrop and Dave Moursund.  We wanted to help kids that had problems staying in school.” 

Suzanne Mann-Heintz is a retired educator and a former Siuslaw School Board member. She says the group knew from experience that two of the biggest deterrents to school success was homelessness and transient living arrangements.

“And our students in this region, because of our tourist economy, suffer from both of those issues.  We also have a real time economically with families earning enough money to live here.”  

Safe Shelter has been able to help many families with things like clothing, transportation and some housing expenses.  They’ve been able to do that because of ongoing private donors.  But they’ve also been successful in getting grants from different foundations.  The Western Lane Community Foundation, the Round-House Foundation and the Oregon Community Foundation are providing a total of $49-thousand to further their goal of helping familes keep their students in school. Mann-Heintz, is the executive Director of Safe-Shelter. She and associate director Jennifer Ledbetter will be on this week’s edition of Coast Radio’s Our Town.

Study Rates Oregon Elders

A new report looks at the well-being of older Americans. The America’s Health Ranking Senior Report shows a mixed bag for the living conditions of older adults. Oregon ranks 16th in the report. Doctor Katie Drago at O-H-S-U says one concerning metric in the report finds worsening substance abuse among older Oregonians.

“Oftentimes we as medical providers may not think that someone older may be at risk for developing a relapse or a new onset substance-use condition.”

On the positive side, internet access has increased nationwide for older adults and early deaths decreased eight percent between 2021 and 2022, although they did not dip below pre-pandemic levels.

Gas Prices

Gas Prices continue their downward trend across the state with the state seeing a drop of 6 cents this past week to an average of $4.24 a gallon for regular gas.  Here in Florence the price has dropped to $4.10 on average with several stations selling below $4.00 at $3.99.  Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon says with the Memorial Weekend behind us we not wait for Vacation travel to start increasing for the state. Extreme weather in the middle united states was a factor in some of the price instability according to Dodds, however refinery maintenance is completed and the switch to summer blend fuels has occurred. While the decrease here has been steady, An increase in gasoline demand paired with falling oil prices could cause pump prices to remain relatively flat for now.

City Council

This evening the Florence city council will hear public comment on the proposed changes to city code surrounding sheltering on public and private property.  The proposed changes also cover event-based emergency shelters. This is the second opportunity the public has had for input, the first was back on April 29 of this year. A draft of the proposed changes to date is in the information packet provided by city staff on the city’s website at residents that wish to be heard will have a 3 minute time limit.  You can also respond in writing.  Questions that are asked will be answered providing the council has information on the specific inquiry. The meeting will be at 5:30 this evening at the Florence Events Center.