Aug. 2, 2022 — During the Florence City Council meeting on Aug. 1, Mayor Joe Henry made a proclamation declaring that day as Florence Coast Guard City Day. Active since 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard will celebrate its 232nd year of service on Aug. 4.
Henry presented a signed proclamation and key to the city to U.S. Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River Senior Chief Nathan Jakubowski, who said that the designation is something the station is very proud of.
“I personally love seeing it every time I drive into Florence,” Jakubowski said. “I see that sign that says ‘Coast Guard City Florence’ and it's like this is the coolest place I’ve ever been at so far.”
Florence is one of 29 Coast Guard Cities designated by Congress in the country and has housed the Coast Guard since 1917, with the creation of the Siuslaw River Lifeboat Station. The U.S. Coast Guard first recognized Florence as a Coast Guard City on May 20, 2017.
Florence is the smallest city to have achieved the designation as well, Henry said, which is something he takes pride in.
“The City of Florence is proud to be home to several active-duty Coast Guard members and their families at the USCG Station Siuslaw River,” Henry stated in the proclamation. “The city is also the key site for the primary recreational boating safety efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and their boat crews that conduct safety patrols on the Siuslaw River.”
A Coast Guard City is recognized for making special efforts to acknowledge the work of the Coast Guard personnel assigned to the area, and regularly reaches out to make them feel at home, according to the application and recertification guidelines.
“There’s about 25 [Coast Guard] families, give or take, out there that are involved in our community,” Henry said. “They’re in our schools, they volunteer for our committees and they do a lot of things other than being in the Coast Guard. We’re very proud that we actually got this designation in the first place.”
The mayor also expressed his gratitude for the services that the station brings to the city, which “provides safety and protection for people in the river and on the coast.”
“For those of us who are active fishermen, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve had to take advantage of their services a couple times,” Henry said. “And it’s very embarrassing to have to get towed in by them.”
The mayor said that since Florence has a large population of veterans and ex-military personnel, the Coast Guard has a high degree of respect within the community.
Reapplying for the designation was also significantly easier the second time. City Manager Erin Reynolds said that while it wasn’t easy, it was “seamless” to pull together photos and articles of the different events Florence has held over the past five years, to highlight the community engagement and the partnership with the station.
The reapplication process was spearheaded through a collaboration between the City of Florence, the Siuslaw River Coast Guard Station, Western Lane Emergency Operations Group and the Oregon Coast Military Museum.