Category: Newspaper Columns

Newspaper columns that I have written for the Fern Ridge Review in Veneta, Oregon and the Creswell Chronicle in Creswell, Oregon. I began writing them for the Fern Ridge Review on August 4, 2010; on December 6, 2012, the Creswell Chronicle began printing them, as well. I am still the Lorane columnist for both papers.

Sweet Lorane Community News, October 15, 2020

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
October 15, 2020
By Pat Edwards

The increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Lane County and all over the country necessitates that we continue protecting ourselves and our loved ones as best we can. Wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing, and not seeing our loved ones as often as we would like are taking their toll on many of us, but we cannot let up our vigilance. The first three things have been easy for Jim and I to assimilate. They are simple inconveniences that seem almost natural to us when we are out and about these days. The hard part is not being able to spend more time with our son and daughters; our grandchildren and great-grands. We still get together—outdoors—maybe once a month or so for special events, and Jim and I get to hold and cuddle our babies and ration ourselves to quick “hello” and “goodbye” hugs from the other “littles” while maintaining distance from the adults. Jim and I know that each of our family members are as careful as we are around others and if they have any doubt about possible exposure to the virus or have symptoms, they would not expose us or the rest of the family. Now that we are getting into the fall season, however, we need to be even more careful… even around each other.

The groups in Lorane that hold events have made hard decisions about whether or not to try to proceed during this pandemic and a couple have come up with ways to hold them while still staying within the CDC guidelines.

The Lorane Christian Church continues to meet each Sunday. The members have the options of coming inside the church for services as long as they wear masks and social distance. They are also given the option of participating in the service in their cars, parked in the parking lot outside, while listening to it on the car radio on FM 89.1. Before the service, Pastor Dave Langstraat and his wife Heidi, spend time circulating among the cars while masked and welcome attendees and take any prayer requests from them.

The church’s membership is planning to host its annual Trunk ‘n Treat event on Halloween night between 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the church’s parking lot. For those attending, masks are required and candy and goodies that will be handed out to trick or treaters from the trunks of cars must be sealed in individual ziploc bags. Hand sanitizer and/or disposable gloves will also be used.

Another annual fall series, the Rural Art Center’s Lorane Movie Night may or may not happen. The RAC board of directors canceled its initial October movie and is currently discussing whether or not they will try to offer future ones in the 2020-2021 season under CDC guidelines.

Last week, I provided an update on the plans for the Territorial Highway Road Project at Stony Point. As of this writing, truck travel between Hamm Road and Cottage Grove-Lorane Road will be restricted with the exception of those making local deliveries to the Lorane area. This past weekend, traffic lights were set up, covering 600 feet of roadway, to regulate one-way traffic through the most hazardous part of the construction. We ask everyone who is driving through that area to use caution and respect the other drivers who are also having to share this very difficult portion of the road.

We’ll soon be only 2 weeks away from a very important Election Day. Please! Remember to VOTE!… and send in your ballots early.

Sweet Lorane Community News, October 8, 2020

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
October 8, 2020
By Pat Edwards

The Lorane residents who have subscribed to updates from the Lane County Public Works on the Territorial Highway Project received the October newsletter this week. It addresses the very real concerns many of us have for the conditions of driving the Stony Point section, north of Lorane, that was begun early in the summer… especially as it relates to this coming winter. I’d like to share much of that update here as many people outside of the Lorane area use that route to access southbound I-5 and Cottage Grove.

Construction of Phase 1—Stony Point, on Territorial Highway is well underway. The project suffered two weeks of delays due to the recent wildfires and heavy smoke in the area.
Last week, the first contractor completed constructing the tie-back stabilization system, which was the work needed to start stabilizing the slide area. The second contractor is working on the “Big Fill” (aka the new roadway alignment) and will continue to do so for approximately the next 45 days, weather dependent. They are also putting fill on top of the tie-back stabilization system.

Lane County road maintenance crews placed new pavement at the top of the hill and added fresh paint throughout the length of the work area, preparing for winter travel.

Many people have been concerned about the road movement and pavement edge drop-off. Lane County staff and the contractor are working on installing extra safety measures along the existing roadway to ensure safe travel through the construction site.

∙ The new pavement will provide a smooth and water·tight surface over the active slide areas.
∙ The new centerline and fogline paint will help travelers navigate the road as the days get shorter.
∙ In an estimated two weeks, a section of the existing road will be converted to a single lane and controlled by traffic lights.
∙ Reflective delineators will be installed on the inside curve in the area of the tie·back stabilization system.
∙ The contractor will continue to make progress on the roadway realignment as long as the weather holds out. Construction will pause over the winter with the project site left in good condition until construction resumes in the spring.

The original project schedule outline was changed last month when it was decided that Phase 1 (Stony Point) would not be completed in time for Phase 2 (Gillespie Corners to Easy Acres) to begin its scheduled start in 2021. Because of this and the need for more funding, Phase 2, which included plans to rebuild bridges to alleviate winter flooding, and straightening some curves south of Gillespie Corners, has been postponed for an indeterminate amount of time.

Phase 3 (Easy Acres to Hamm Road) and Phase 4 (Stony Point to Lorane) are still on the schedule.

I hope everyone is able to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather that we’ve been having. I think it’s been an attempt at an apology in some form that we’ve been given for all of the trials we have undergone in 2020. We’re not done yet, though… we have the election to get through first.
Hold on, love your family, your neighbors and friends, and pray that, somehow, everything will be able to be sorted out soon through mutual effort and caring for each other.