Florence, Oregon: Wikis


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Florence, Oregon
—  City  —
Aerial view of Florence
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 43°59′3″N 124°6′11″W / 43.98417°N 124.10306°W / 43.98417; -124.10306
Country United States
State Oregon
County Lane
Incorporated 1893
 - Mayor Phil Brubaker
 - Total 5.5 sq mi (14.3 km2)
 - Land 4.9 sq mi (12.7 km2)
 - Water 0.6 sq mi (1.5 km2)
Elevation 14 ft (4.27 m)
Population (2007)
 - Total 8,270
 Density 1,476.3/sq mi (507.9/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code 97439
Area code(s) 541
FIPS code 41-26050[1]
GNIS feature ID 1142259[2]
Website www.ci.florence.or.us
A sailboat on the Siuslaw River

Florence is a city in Lane County, Oregon, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 7,263.



The Florence area was originally inhabited by the Siuslaw tribe of Native Americans.

One tradition states the city was named for state senator A. B. Florence, who represented Lane County from 1858 – 1860; another is that Florence was named for a French vessel that was wrecked at the mouth of the Siuslaw River on February 17, 1875.[3]

On November 12, 1970, a dead whale which had washed up on the beach was destroyed with dynamite, the theory being that scavengers such as seagulls and crabs would consume the smaller pieces.[4] Decades later, the resulting debacle became widely known via the Internet as the exploding whale story.


Florence is located on the Oregon Coast at the mouth of the Siuslaw River about the same latitude as Eugene, Oregon, and is approximately midway between the other major central Oregon coastal cities of Newport and Coos Bay. The community of Glenada lies just across the Siuslaw on U.S. Route 101 to the south of Florence, and the city of Yachats is 26 miles to the north.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.5 square miles (14.3 km²), of which, 4.9 square miles (12.7 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.5 km²) of it is water. The total area is 10.71 % water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 7,263 people, 3,564 households, and 2,145 families residing in the city. The 2007 population estimate is 8,270.[5] Sign on the edge of town in 2010 shows a population of 9410. The population density was 1,476.3 people per square mile (570.0/km²). There were 4,174 housing units at an average density of 848.4/sq mi (327.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.88 % White, 0.28% African American, 0.92% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 0.56 % from other races, and 1.67 % from two or more races. 2.37 % of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,564 households out of which 16.9 % have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6 % were married couples living together, 9.3 % had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 34.4 % of all households were made up of individuals and 21.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02 and the average family size was 2.52.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.8 % under the age of 18, 5.0 % from 18 to 24, 16.0 % from 25 to 44, 23.9 % from 45 to 64, and 38.2 % who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 56 years. For every 100 females there were 84.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,505, and the median income for a family was $ 36,784. Males had a median income of $ 30,962 versus $ 23,878 for females. The per capita income for the city was $ 18,008. 14.4% of the population and 10.0 % of families were below the poverty line. 25.9 % of those under the age of 18 and 8.3 % of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


The former mainstays of Florence's economy were logging, commercial fishing, and agriculture,[6] but today tourism is increasingly important.[7] Notable local businesses include Mo's Restaurants and the Three Rivers Casino, which is run by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. The Port of Siuslaw promotes commercial fishing, shipping and tourism.[8] About one-third of Florence's population is retirees.[9]

Arts and culture

A sign in the Florence Old Town area denoting distances to other cities with the same city name "Florence".

Annual cultural events

Florence has hosted the Rhododendron Festival annually since 1908.[6]

Area attractions

Old Town Florence is located on the Siuslaw riverfront. The Port of Siuslaw marina is to the east and the Art Deco 1936 Siuslaw River Bridge is to the west. The new Boardwalk promenade was built along the marina to improve the area.[10] Florence is also known as the site of the exploding whale, an incident when the Oregon State Highway Division tried to remove a beached whale by dynamite—with unintended results.

North of Florence on U.S. Route 101 are the Sea Lion Caves, a tourist attraction that features a sea cave that is the year-round home of a population of Steller Sea Lions.


Siuslaw Pioneer Museum is located in an historic 1905 schoolhouse.[11]

Historic buildings

Historic buildings on the National Register of Historic Places in the Florence area include the Edwin E. Benedict House, a deteriorating house on the Siuslaw River that is said to have been Ken Kesey's inspiration for the Stamper House in his novel Sometimes a Great Notion,[12] Heceta Head Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters, Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park Historic District, the Siuslaw River Bridge, and the William Kyle and Sons Building in Old Town.

Parks and recreation

There are several parks and other sites managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department near Florence, including Darlingtonia State Natural Site and Heceta Head Lighthouse at Devil's Elbow to the north, and Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park to the south. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, managed as part of the Siuslaw National Forest, begins south of Florence.


Florence is served by the three-school Siuslaw School District, which includes Siuslaw Elementary School, Siuslaw Middle School, and Siuslaw High School.[13] Lane Community College has a center in Florence.[14]


The Siuslaw News is a twice-weekly newspaper.[15] The Eugene newspaper, the Register-Guard, also serves Florence.


The Siuslaw River bridge in Florence, Oregon.





Sister city

Florence has one sister city:

Yamagata-shi was established in 2003 by the merger of Ijira (Florence's former sister-city), Takatomi, and Miyama.[16]


External links

Coordinates: 43°59′03″N 124°06′11″W / 43.984298°N 124.102962°W / 43.984298; -124.102962


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