BUSINESS ROUNDUP: A second look at workers’ comp, Electric Alley and agricultural grants

Electric Alley in downtown Salem on Thursday, September 3. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

There’s a lot going on business. To help keep you up to speed, the Salem Reporter is launching a semi-regular roundup of business-related items including new business openings, locations, grant opportunities and others.

To suggest an item, reach out to reporter Jake Thomas at [email protected]

WORKERS COMP. The state’s workers’ compensation system could be a little friendlier to those who’ve contracted Covid while on the job. Labor groups and others have been calling for a presumption that frontline workers who test positive for the virus contracted it while on the job, making it easier for them to file claims.

The Legislature punted on the issue during a special session last month. But on Sept. 11, the state’s Management-Labor Advisory Committee will consider an administrative rule that will require insurers and self-insured employers to conduct a “reasonable investigation” before denying a claim.

The rule would require determinations on claims to be made within 14 days. It would also mandate that an insurer or self-insured employer with too many denied claims be audited by the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Service. The rule currently doesn’t specify the denial threshold to trigger an audit.

However, the department’s Workers Compensation Division has questioned if it has the authority to implement it.


ELECTRIC ALLEY. In an effort to brighten up downtown, the Salem Main Street Association is moving forward with its “Electric Alley” project that’s intended to bring some spark to the city’s center during this difficult time.

The city of Salem has put up the Electric Alley signpost by Rudy’s Steakhouse, located at 350 Chemeketa St N.E.

Jacqueline Heavey, chair of the association’s design committee, said in an email that two utility box wraps have been installed by Service Graphics with a donation from Salem Electric. The group also painted some lightning bolts on the street.

“The hope is that we will wrap one more utility box that will explain the history of electricity coming to Salem-in the near future,” she said.

Downtown Salem typically sees lively gatherings in its iconic alleys with food trucks, live music and vendors during the summer. Heavy said the project seeks to bring more visual interest even though these events aren’t happening.


AG GRANTS. Money to support research to benefit Oregon’s nursery industry is now available for Oregon plant growers.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is working with the Oregon Association of Nurseries to oversee the grant program. The grants will be used for research that will help with the prevention and elimination of plant diseases and insect pests. They can also be used to develop and improve cultural methods beneficial to the nursery industry

The application deadline is Oct. 1. More information can be found on the department’s website.

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Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.