PHOTO GALLERY November 27
PHOTOS: Salem's JCPenney store hauntingly empty, awaits a new life
PHOTOS: The store that sold generations of school clothes, shoes and housewares in downtown Salem is largely empty. Take a photo tour of what was once one of Salem's anchors.
COVID IN OREGON November 27
Oregon hopes to vaccinate 30,000 health care workers against Covid by end of 2020
Leading Covid vaccines still need to earn federal regulatory approval, but Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen said once that hurdle is cleared, Oregon expects to receive limited shipments.
SALEM COMMUNITY November 26
To alleviate loneliness, Salem's senior center offers monthly activity boxes with a little whimsy
Center 50+ started a new project that sends activity boxes to seniors each month as they face isolation brought on by Covid restrictions. In December, there’s a special box for the holidays with seasonal items like handcrafted ornaments and chocolate.
FreeCOVID IN SALEM November 25
FOR THE RECORD: Full text of Gov. Kate Brown's remarks
TEXT: This is the text of Gov. Kate Brown's statement on Wednesday, Nov. 25, explaining why she is imposing new restrictions for Oregonians to control the coronavirus
FreeCOVID IN SALEM November 25
FOR THE RECORD: Full text of pandemic remarks by Oregon Health Authority director
TEXT: This is the prepared text of remarks by Pat Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, who spoke of the impacts of the pandemic on Oregonians beyond medical care.
FreeCOVID IN SALEM November 25
FOR THE RECORD: Full text of remarks by OHSU doctor on Covid care
TEXT: This is the text of remarks on Wednesday, Nov. 25, by Dr. David Zonies of Oregon Health and Science University about the urgency of containing the virus in Oregon.
FreeCOVID IN SALEM November 25
Marion, Polk counties considered at 'extreme risk' of Covid as governor rolls out new restrictions
Gov. Kate Brown said 21 counties will remain under restrictions through December as the coronavirus spread continues. In the Salem area, churches have more freedom to conduct services and restaurants can seat diners outside, but other limits stay in place.
COVID IN OREGON November 25
Courthouse Club Fitness slapped with fines after violating Covid orders
A state workers safety agency has fined the gym $90,000 after staying open despite a statewide shutdown.
COVID IN SALEM November 25
Salem Public Library pauses curbside hold pickup so staff can work from home
Salem's city librarian said the pause means library staff won't put their health at risk working in close quarters indoors to process holds. All library items checked out are now due March 31, 2021.
CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK November 25
Outdoor dining will return, but Marion, Polk counties face long path toward lifting other Covid restrictions
Both Salem-area counties are considered at "extreme risk" from Covid because of the number of cases recorded in recent weeks. Gov. Kate Brown said Friday lifting other restrictions on businesses will require reducing the virus' spread.
SALEM SCENE November 25
Elsinore turns to community for help to stay alive until the curtain can go up again
The prolonged closure of one of Salem's most beloved entertainment venues is taking a financial toll. With no tickets to sell and customers to seat, the nonprofit is turning to the community in a new fund drive to fill the financial gap.
COVID IN OREGON November 24
Salem restaurants are better prepared for the shutdown. But still have reason to worry
Some restaurants have more easily pivoted their businesses toward takeout or have barely changed operations. Some restaurants even found new customers despite the pandemic restrictions after the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce helped drum up business. But the shutdown order could go beyond its planned two-weeks. Restaurants are hoping customers will help prop them up.
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT November 24
More affordable housing is on the way after Salem City Council approves church property conversion
The Salem City Council affirmed a zoning change sought by a nonprofit developer planning to build an affordable housing project in the Grant neighborhood. The neighborhood association was opposed to the change, saying it would set a precedent and lead to unintended consequences.
COVID IN SALEM November 24
These Salem-area health care workers canceled their Thanksgiving plans. They're asking you to do the same.
Dr. Mark Fischl canceled plans to spend Thanksgiving with his 81-year-old father who lives nearby, knowing promising vaccine trials for Covid mean they'll be able to safely spend time together in 2021. “We’re all burning out. It’s been going on since March, it’s been a long time, it’s been hard on everybody. But now’s the time to say ‘I can see the end,’” he said.
SALEM ECONOMY November 24
Salem area unemployment drops. But not as much as previous months
The Salem area continues adding back jobs at the same pace statewide and nationally. While there were broad job gains across sectors, the drop in unemployment is smaller than other months and the economy faces many challenges.
SALEM AREA NONPROFITS November 24
After guiding Salem Art Association through a challenging year, Executive Director Sandra Burnett retires
The Salem Art Association endured financial challenges this year as the pandemic forced the cancellation of a major event and led to staffing cuts. A review of their records by Salem Reporter shows it's now on stronger financial ground, though the reopening of the Bush Barn Art Center remains uncertain.
COVID IN OREGON November 23
UPDATE: In court battle over her new order, Gov. Kate Brown says closing restaurants will save lives
Gov. Kate Brown on Monday responded to a legal action from the state restaurant association seeking to block her most recent order that partially shuts down the economy in response to the Covid pandemic. Brown said in a legal filing that while data doesn't link Covid transmissions to bars and restaurants, she said there is evidence to support the need for the order.
SALEM BUSINESS November 23
BUSINESS ROUNDUP: X-mas benefits expiration, waiting week waiver ends, help for homeowners and restaurants
Unemployed Oregonians face a not-so-merry Christmas, but will get some extra cash in the meantime. State extends a lifeline to struggling homeowners. A free word of advice for struggling homeowners.
BREAKING NEWS November 23
Governor pushes back on restaurants, says saving lives is more important than business
Gov. Kate Brown responded on Monday to a lawsuit from the state's restaurant industry seeking to block her two-week partial shutdown of the economy. Her attorneys argued her decision was backed by evidence and is needed to save lives.
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT November 23
Former Salem city councilor faced ethics complaint for failing to disclose potential conflict of interest
Cara Kaser received a letter of education from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission after failing to disclose she lived near a proposed affordable housing project the council denied funds to. The former councilor said she views the experience as a learning opportunity.
OREGON POPULATION November 23
AROUND OREGON: State posts slowest population growth rate since 2012
Marion County added about 1,360 residents in the past year, while Polk County added 865, according to new estimates from Portland State University's Population Research Center.
COVID IN OREGON November 20
Restaurant association takes legal action to block state's two-week freeze
The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association on Friday, Nov. 20, filed a complaint in Portland U.S. District Court arguing that Gov. Kate Brown's new ordering limiting restaurants and bars to delivery or takeout is unconstitutional. The group is asking for a temporary restraining order.
COVID IN SALEM November 20
Local health officials say there is little evidence Salem restaurants and bars are helping spread Covid
Marion County reports less than 1% of its Covid cases can be traced to restaurants or bars, casting doubt on why they must stop serving diners. State officials, however, say they are certain that the establishments are part of the rapid spread of the virus in Oregon, and point to a growing number of cases that can't be traced at all.
SALEM AREA EVENTS November 20
Salem teens keep SnoBall alive in its 67th year with virtual high school dance
Evyn Baker, a West Salem High School junior, said students on the planning committee wanted to preserve something normal in 2020 and give local teens a chance to dress up, socialize and win prizes.
PUBLIC SAFETY November 20
After illustrious career with Salem police, Jerry Moore puts away his badge
Jerry Moore has served as Salem’s police chief for 15 years and more than 40 with the Salem Police Department. Salem Reporter interviewed the chief ahead of his last day on Nov. 30.
VOTE 2020 November 19
After weeks of waiting, Deb Patterson wins race for Senate District 10
Patterson, a Democrat, narrowly prevailed over Sen. Denyc Boles, R-Salem, in one of the state's most competitive and expensive races. The outcome means that Democrats will keep their expansive majority in the Senate.
FreeCOVID IN SALEM November 18
Pandemic 101: how to get a Covid test, where to find Salem-specific data and other common questions
We know, everyone is sick of the pandemic. But with so much information flying around, Salem Reporter thought it would be helpful to compile some coronavirus basics in one place.
PUBLIC SAFETY November 18
AGENDA: As city prepares for a close look at police practices, six key questions emerge
A citizen committee overseeing an upcoming audit of the Salem Police Department on Thursday will review six key questions that will guide the examination of policing in the city. The group is expected to provide a report to the Salem City Council in mid-December.
SALEM GOVERNMENT November 18
Marion County has spent more than $1 million on a hotel for Covid respite. Most of its rooms have sat empty
The county reserved the entire Super 8 in Woodburn for Covid patients with nowhere to isolate. It's also been used for wildfire evacuees. As the county faces a surge in Covid cases only two patients occupy the 81-room building.
COVID IN OREGON November 18
State order restricting businesses, limiting gatherings goes into effect
In response to a steep increase in new Covid cases, Gov. Kate Brown enacted a "freeze" that limits restaurants to takeout, closes gyms and other facilities while also prohibiting large private gatherings. While the new restrictions aren't as stringent as March's stay-home order, they are expected to take a toll on already struggling businesses.