March 17, 2020 — The City of Florence is committed to the safety and well-being of our community and staff. Below is some information about what the City is doing to address the concerns over COVID-19. This information and pertinent links can be found at www.ci.florence.or.us/covid19.
The City’s Role:
• As a City, it is our responsibility to maintain essential services and support our public health and public safety partners.
• During a public health emergency, Lane County Public Health in conjunction with the Oregon Health Authority are the lead agencies.
• We have emergency management and operations plans for situations like this, they are in place and working to maintain those critical services, identify community needs, and mobilize coordinated responses.
• The City is taking action to slow the spread and flatten the curve of COVID-19 and amplify the messages, recommendations, and preventative measures of the lead agencies.
What We Are Doing:
• We are collaborating and coordinating with our partners in Florence, the Siuslaw Region, and at the County through the West Lane Emergency Operations Group (WLEOG) to identify community needs and address them as quickly as possible.
• We are making sure our first responders and personnel stay healthy and are prepared to continue serving the community.
• We are suspending meetings, temporarily closing facilities, and modifying some face-to-face services to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Florence and Lane County. See below for specific information.
Why We Are Doing It
• All of these efforts help slow the spread of COVID-19.
• By slowing the spread, it is the goal to preserve our health care capacity which will be critical in the coming weeks.
• These actions also help protect people who may be at higher risk - people over 60 and those with pre-existing respiratory, cardiac conditions, or who are immunocompromised.
• We can all help reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our community.
What Can You Do:
• Follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health regarding healthy behaviors and social distancing.
• Help each other through checking on your neighbors, reducing stigma, supporting local organization and businesses.
• Educate yourself through trusted and official resources to reduce the spread of misinformation.
Public Meetings, Events and Facilities
In addition to the strategies put in place by Governor Brown and to help slow the spread and protect each other the City has implemented the following:
• Canceled the March 25 Florence Urban Renewal Agency (FURA) meeting.
• Suspended all City committee meetings until further notice.
• Suspended all programming and gatherings at the Florence Events Center, as well as closed the facility to the public, through April 13, the full length of the governor’s closure guidance for gatherings over 25 people.
• The Public Works Operations Facility is closed to the public. City staff continue to operate essential functions from that facility.
• Temporarily closed the Florence Senior Center to the public through April 13.
(For more information about Senior Meals Program, please call 541-682-3353 or 1-800-441-4038 or go online to lcog.org/160/Senior-Meals.)
Full meeting details and a calendar of City events can be found at www.ci.florence.or.us/calendar. Future updates on City actions related to COVID-19 will be located at www.ci.florence.or.us/covid19.
Accessing City Services:
The City of Florence is working to ensure the safety, security, and health of the public and our staff while continuing to offer you the customer service you expect from us.
Consistent with guidance on limiting the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, we ask you to please communicate with our staff over the telephone and internet as a primary method. Visit the City’s website at www.ci.florence.or.us for information on services, forms, or other items you need. Staff email addresses are also available online to conduct business via email.
If you must meet with our staff in person to conduct business, please call for an appointment before coming to our offices so we can make sure we have the right staff available to assist you.
• City Hall – 541-997-3437
• Building Department – 541-997-2141
• Finance/Utility Billing – 541-997-3436
• Florence Events Center – 541-997-1994
• Municipal Court – 541-997-3123
• Planning Department– 541-997-8237
• Police Department – 541-997-3515
• Public Works – 541-997-4106
Pay your City Services Bill online through Xpress Bill Pay. Details are available at www.ci.florence.or.us/administrative-services/city-services-utility-billing.
We recognize the economic hardship that may impact our community during the current public health emergency due to the COVID-19 virus.
Effective immediately and until further notice, the City will be suspending water disconnections and late fees. Customers who are impacted by the suspension of service shutoffs during this grace period will still owe the City for past due balances and fees related to services provided, and are encouraged to contact us to make payment arrangements or inquire about assistance programs to avoid accruing a large overdue bill.
• Beginning March 18, the City will be limiting its front counter service. The City Hall front counter will be open to the public from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm to receive utility payments and answer questions regarding utility services.
We encourage the public to use the drop box at City Hall or make their payments online at www.ci.florence.or.us/administrative-services/city-services-utility-billing.
If you must meet with staff, please call 541-997-3436 to schedule an appointment.
A public kiosk, to be located in the City Hall lobby, will be available later this week to provide an access point to City services available online for those who do not have internet access.
Those with violations or non-criminal proceedings who have COVID-19 concerns should contact the Municipal Court at 541-997-3123 prior to their court date of appearance.
Steps are being taken to sanitize the courtroom prior to and after court days.
Payments can be made over the telephone online at www.ci.florence.or.us/court/pay-your-court-fine-online.
Continue to follow the City of Florence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vimeo.
We are making these difficult decisions based on the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Oregon Health Authority and Lane County Public Health.
The City is working on technology solutions to resume future public meetings while continuing to adhere to social distancing guidance.