Council Passes Camping Ordinance; Colleagues Mourn Teacher’s Passing; Funding For Crisis Response Team; Hot Temps On The Way

Council Passes Camping Ordinance

The City Council of Florence last night looked at the effect of the recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court and how it affects the proposed city ordinance No. 5-2024 of title 1 Chapter 9 on homeless camping and emergency sheltering within the city.  City Attorney Ross Williamson explained the ruling and if that ruling could impact the state statute 195.530.

“The actions of the supreme court don’t undermine 195-530, don’t overrule 195.530, and specifically the supreme court is saying we’re not touching local law, that’s going to be a state issue and if Oregon wants to regulate homelessness and the legislation and regulation of homelessness, that’s for them to decide, the supreme court was not touching 195.530”

The new city ordinance proposed excludes camping in most parks, significant riparian or wetland areas, city-owned facilities that are open to the public and certain rights of way and right of way in a residential district. After much deliberation and explanation the council did adopt Ordinance number 5 series 2024 by unanimous vote.  There will be a 30 day cooling period before the ordinance goes into effect.

Colleagues Mourn Teacher’s Passing

Teachers, administrators, and other staff members at Siuslaw Schools are grieving the loss of a popular fifth grade teacher over the weekend.  Sarah Barnard, who originally came to work at Siuslaw Elementary in 2014 passed away peacefully early Sunday morning after a brief fight with cancer according to 97J Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak.

“One of those naturals in the classroom.   Very attuned to what kids needed, ran a very tight ship, very beloved by kids and parents.  Was real outspoken among the staff as well.”

Barnard made connections with kids, other staff and parents and Grzeskowiak says that’s one reason why today and tomorrow the Elementary School Library will be open from nine to one.

“Making sure people have somebody to talk to.  All of our counselors that are in town are available are rotating through care rooms.”

Many of Bernard’s students from this past year are participating in summer school, and being in the familiar hallways and classrooms where they’re used to seeing her can be especially challenging.  Helping kids process the loss is very important.

“An unfortunate part of life is that people you know and love and care for, come into your life, and pass away, and how to be able to process that and move forward and be able to remember them in a positive way.

Bernard cared deeply about her students and dogs, said Grzeskowiak.  That’s why she asked that in lieu of flowers, she asked that donations be made to the Ian Foster Fund through the Siuslaw Athletic Booster Club or to the Oregon Coast Humane Society.

Funding For Crisis Response Team

The Crisis Response Team that has been active in Florence for the past several years is facing severe funding issues as a pass through grant has expired as of June 30th.  Deputy Chief of Operations Matt House has been involved in the implementation of the CRT and says that if they are to keep operating, they will need alternate funding. House says one way is to be able to bill for services, but he says that is a difficult process.

“in order for us to continue we would have to meet a COA requirement  which is a certificate of authority that we can bill Medicaid.  In order to get a COA it is very difficult to obtain in a smaller town like us.”

House says the resources are fewer than that of a city the size of Eugene.  He says funding from individuals, fundraisers, and potential partners are other ways that can help secure that the program continues.  The CRT works with law enforcement and medical to help calm potential volatile situations that arrive through trauma and mental health crisis.  Matt House is a guest on the July edition of Our town.

Hot Temps On The Way

Temperatures in the 100’s are expected to hit our listening area later this week with a forecast of 102 for the Mapleton area on Saturday and a high of 101 predicted for Sunday. The national weather service has issued an excessive heat warning for the are east of Florence and temperatures in Eugene are expected to be at or above 104 by Saturday.