Defending the dunes

  Shifting sand dunes might be the fastest-moving thing in the coastal town of Florence, Ore., population 6,200, and some residents would like to see it stay that way. But as the area's timber and fishing industries die off, a new kind of development is moving in to take their place. In the spring of 1997, a few business people, retirees and others concerned about a proposed mall formed Citizens for Florence. With a mission of "improving the livability of Florence through public education," the group now keeps an eye on development projects. "Instead of being subject to the salesman's pitch, we start digging into things," says one supporter. Because of "direct and indirect intimidation" by developers, says spokeswoman Kathleen Sullivan, the group has no membership list; instead, it relies on a loose network of about 100 people. Members have researched alternatives to a proposed sewage treatment plant, fought a superstore chain over its planned shopping complex in the area, and even purchased books on planning for the city council. For more information about the group's ongoing activities, call 541/997-5432 or write to Citizens for Florence, P.O. Box 1212, Florence, OR 97439.

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