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VOL. 131, NO. 70
S EPTEMBER 1, 2021
F LORENCE , O REGON
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‘The fight continues for voting rights’
Local demonstrators sought to “Demand Democracy” with signs during a local “March on Washington” Saturday.
Story & Photos
By Reina Harwood
On Aug. 28, 1963, civil rights activ-
ist Martin Luther King Jr. delivered
his “I Have a Dream” speech after his
March on Washington. Last Saturday,
Aug. 28, marked the 58th anniversa-
ry of his speech spoken from the Lin-
coln Memorial steps. Thousands of
Americans across the nation partic-
ipated in demonstrations in remem-
brance of King’s legacy surrounding
freedom and equality.
Those same ideals were demon-
strated locally by Florence Indivisible
as more than 15 people gathered in
front of Florence City Hall to honor
the 58th anniversary of King’s march.
The group hosted the event to advo-
cate for inclusive voting rights for all
genders and people of color in sup-
port of the “For the People Act.”
The event lasted an hour, while
some people stood on the sidewalk
and waved American flags, others sat
in a chair and held posters and more
held signs and waved to passersby.
“We’re here today because the fight
continues for voting rights,” a group
organizer said. “We think it’s been
settled so many times, but here we
are protecting our rights to vote, for
See SIGNS page 6A
Habitat provides ‘part of the Local restaurants struggle
solution’ in affordable housing
By Reina Harwood
For decades, the struggle to
find affordable housing across
Oregon has become especially
severe. The complex issue con-
sists of several layers, beginning
with the need for public and
local funding, available land,
construction resources, devel-
opment partners and more.
In Florence, the shortage
of affordable housing is a per-
sistent issue. Although some
Florence Habitat for Humanity
projects have been established,
moved its latest family into an af-
it may take years until long-
fordable house in August.
term solutions are in effect.
However, local and state efforts 80% of the median income, stat-
towards affordable housing have ed Florence Habitat for Humanity
not given up in providing decent Executive Director Janell Morgan.
living for low-income households.
The medium income rate is
One local organization work- established each year by the U.S.
ing towards affordable housing is Department of Housing and Ur-
Florence Habitat for Humanity. ban Development standards.
In August, Habitat was in its final
According to Morgan, Hab-
stages of completing the develop- itat for Humanity is “not a solu-
ment of one affordable home. The tion, but a part of the solution,”
construction had begun before to the housing problem. This
the pandemic and an individual is because the organization can
was qualified to move in.
take up to a year in building an
Individuals are eligible for af- affordable home, making the
fordable housing through Habitat process “long term,” she said.
for Humanity if they are below
See HOUSING page 6A
Two restaurants have decided to close as pandemic pressures persist.
Clawson’s, Off Bay Street Bistro shutter
doors while others close for short-term
The COVID-19 pan- Story & Photos Some of these closings
demic continues to claim By Mark Brennan are connected to the im-
victims, although not all
pact of COVID, as staff-
are someone’s friend
ing and supply shortages
or family. Some are the business- have hit many restaurants. Others
es those people count on for their are due to an overall reduction in
livelihoods. The list of Florence operating capital, which is making
restaurants and businesses which it impossible to make needed re-
have been hurt by a significant drop pairs and upgrades.
in revenue during the pandemic is
Business Week reports that 17%
growing, with some closures tem- of restaurants across America have
porary, but others forever.
permanently closed, with another
The sector most noticeably hit in 10% in danger of closure.
the Florence area has been eateries.
See RESTAURANTS page 5A
Western Lane Fire/EMS considers next step of merger
ambulance levy vote
S IUSLAW N EWS
2 S ECTIONS | 16 P AGES
C OPYRIGHT 2021
By Mark Brennan
On Aug. 26, the boards of direc-
tors of Siuslaw Valley Fire and Res-
cue (SVFR) and Western Lane Am-
bulance District (WLAD), which
share an administration called
Western Lane Fire and Emergency
Authority (WLFEA), met virtually
for the group’s regularly scheduled
The meeting opened with pub-
lic comments, which are limited to
subjects not on the evening agen-
da. The only person requesting to
speak with the joint board was for-
mer WLAD Director Larry Farn-
sworth, who has been an outspo-
ken critic of many of the financial
procedures used by the two dis-
tricts during his term on the board,
which ended in July.
These public admonitions in-
cluded speaking in opposition to
the continuing merger of SVFR and
WLAD as well as against wages paid
to firefighters and EMTs and the
long-term viability of both districts.
Farnsworth has also been vocal
in opposing the upcoming levy re-
quested by WLAD, which will be
voted on this fall by residents.
In November, local voters will
decide whether to renew a five-year
supplemental levy, which makes up
26% of WLAD’s operational funds.
The proposed levy renewal will
not increase taxes, as it maintains
the current funding level of 45 cents
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per $1,000 of assessed home value.
For a home in Florence with a me-
dian assessed value of $204,000, the
cost would be $92 a year.
The five-year levy received the
support of 78% of voters in the
On Thursday, Farnsworth’s com-
ments related to WLAD’s decisions
about political funding for the levy
and which accounts can legally be
accessed to fund communication
services from Turell Group, which
was voted upon in the July meeting.
See BOARDS page 7A
Free Consulta�ons & Enrollment
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