Rhody Days 2022 cause few problems for local emergency response

Many first responders were part of the Rhody Days festivities, including Florence Police Interim Chief John Pitcher. (Photo by Chantelle Meyer/Siuslaw News)

May 25, 2022 — The return of the Rhododendron Festival brought thousands of visitors to Historic Old Town Florence and Port of Siuslaw areas of town, this year with few problems 

Reports from all three of Florence’s first responder groups, Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue, (SVFR) Western Lane Ambulance District (WLAD) and the Florence Police Department (FPD), indicate there were no major difficulties associated with the weekend festivities. 

Division Chief of Operations Matt House said, “Fire and EMS had no extraordinary events over the weekend. Saturday, we had a slightly higher call volume with the influx of people into the community. And on Saturday, we ran 25 calls from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., along with a medical stand by for the Rhody Run. We also conducted the Junior Parade, which went very smoothly. Friday and Saturday evening we didn’t have any noteworthy calls.”

SVFR and WLAD crews assisted with blocking off the Bay Street area in Old Town for the Coast Radio Classix Car Cruise Saturday evening. 

“The call volume was higher than normal, but that was expected with more people in town,” House added.

He said Sunday’s call volume was “significantly lighter” than Saturday. The departments were able to set up apparatus throughout the community during the parade to ensure rapid response to fire or EMS calls. 

Estimates of the total number of visitors during the weekend was approximately 20,000.

Reports from FPD showed no major problems and mostly minor offenses reported, the majority of which resulted in warnings being issued rather that citations. These included urinating in public, drinking in public, non-injury minor crashes, traffic citations, traffic warnings, an arrest for theft, illegal fireworks, illegal lodging and two arrests with warrants.

“It was great to see Florence busy again during this weekend; it was even better seeing the community being safe,” House said.