A year ago tomorrow, Florence, Dunes City and our neighbors in the Upriver communities of Mapleton and beyond began the year with snow. Eight inches quietly fell overnight, signaling in a subtle way that 2017 was going to be anything but ordinary.
As a community, we shoveled snow and checked on our neighbors. Area churches opened cold weather shelters and provided community suppers to those in need.
A month later, a landslide just east of Florence trapped a mother and her infant daughter in their trailer before being rescued by local first responders.
In the weeks and months ahead, the proverbial snow continued to fall as our small community became a microcosm reflecting challenges unique to our area as well as those rippling outward from the county, state and even national levels.
While an impending nurses strike, controversy over cannabis grows and the termination of our Port manager were some of the issues anchored from within our region, concerns about DACA, opioids, housing and homelessness mirrored conversations taking place in communities throughout the West Coast.
But what makes Florence and the Siuslaw region strong is the willingness to have those conversations and, more importantly, work toward solutions. That willingness has been the catalyst for a lot of things we can be proud of in 2017, from raising more than $30,000 for fifth-grader Malakai Kirk’s bone marrow transplant, to helping our local Food Share through a holiday crisis and the official designation of Florence as the nation’s 24th Coast Guard City.
A look through our annual Year in Review (in today’s edition) is testimony to a year that brought its share of controversies and accomplishments, challenges and resolutions. It was also a year that saw a record number of your letters on this Opinion page as part of continuing community conversations.
If 2017 showed us anything, it was the ways in which the fabric of our community is spun from its diversity of opinion and perspectives — and how sharing them is the common thread of our regional tapestry.
Though there is no snow predicted for tomorrow, together we will undoubtedly find a way to make not just 2018 anything but ordinary, but rather extraordinary.
Write Siuslaw News editor Ned Hickson at [email protected] or P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439.