June 1, 2019 — An active lifestyle is part of the appeal of living in Florence. Unfortunately, an attack suffered by a woman at Carter Lake on May 4 has significantly raised the level of concern among local woman’s groups regarding their personal safety when outdoors.
According to the assault victim, she was walking her dog when she was attacked and raped. The brutal attack has prompted an increased level of awareness among women that walk or hike in the forests and dunes that surround Florence. This concern has now coalesced into a strategy to better prepare women to be aware of the situations they find themselves in and to provide them with a basic skill set to combat physical violence directed against them.
The event is being offered by a new local group, SAFE (Smart, Alert, Fearless and Equipped), and will be held on Monday, June 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Blue Warehouse, 80 Harbor St. at the Port of Siuslaw.
There is no cost for attendees.
The evening will include presentations from the Florence Police Department and personal trainer Roby Hodge, who will provide basic safety tips in a workshop entitled “Practical Self-defense for Seniors.”
There will also be information provided regarding the steps needed to obtain a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon.
Florence resident Jacquie Beveridge is helping to coordinate the upcoming workshop, which was designed to address the high level of fear expressed by woman from all walks of life in the area. “This event is a grassroots effort to furnish information for residents, especially women, to be situationally aware and remain safe,” Beveridge said. “We're thankful to the Florence Police Department, Roby Hodge and Siuslaw Rod and Gun Club for their participation and support. We hope this two-hour event will help attendees be SAFE to enjoy our beautiful natural areas.”
The concern created in the woman’s community after the attack at Carter Lake was the impetus for the SAFE workshop. Nearly 70 people have already signed up, and the positive response to the free safety workshops was welcome to organizers. People can RSVP to [email protected]
The SAFE event is being offered without cost since the space provided for the workshop is being donated by Geraldine Lucio, Florence City Councilor and Old Town business owner.
“Geraldine is making the Blue Warehouse available, and we hope to receive small donations to cover the use of the space,” Beveridge said.
She added that people may have to bring their own chair.
“Attendees are encouraged to bring in a cane or walking stick to learn about using them as a weapon and greatly improve the chances of protecting yourself and not becoming the next victim,” Beveridge said.
Additionally, participants are asked to bring a snack to share during the event. Florence Master Recyclers will be providing free use of their durable, reusable dishware. Drinking water will be provided.
The investigation into the Carter Lake assault resulted in the arrest of 63-year-old Reedsport resident Edward Spalione, who was arrested at his home after detectives found evidence linking him to the rape. Spalione is also a person of interest in a previous sexual assault reported at Carter Lake in August 2018.
For more information on the June 10 SAFE workshop, contact Beveridge at 541-997-8311.