AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider federal funds for emergency services, street improvements in Santiam Canyon

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider spendiing federal pandemic money for emergency medical services and street improvements in the Santiam Canyon, as well as buying property for Salem’s Psychiatric Crisis Center.


Commissioners will consider authorizing Board Chair Danielle Bethell to sign documents to close the purchase of properties in Mill City to provide temporary housing for people impacted by the 2020 Santiam Canyon wildfires.

The board will consider approving federal Covid relief funding to provide first-aid response and street improvements in the Santiam Canyon through two projects totaling $900,000.

Of that, $300,000 would help create a two-person emergency medical team that would serve the area Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It would also provide first-aid kits and wildfire first-aid training to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. This is intended to prepare first responders to provide first aid while waiting for a medical team to arrive. Wildfire recovery work has brought more traffic and use of heavy equipment to the area, which increases the risk of accidents, the agenda item said.

Another $600,000 would be used to build curbs, gutters, sidewalks, street lighting and storm water facilities in Gates, which was devastated by wildfire.

Commissioners will consider purchasing a $2.4 million property and building at 1234 Commercial St. S.E. for Salem’s Psychiatric Crisis Center, a 24-7 center on Salem Hospital’s grounds operated by the county’s Health and Human Services Department. The center has outgrown its current space, and the new space “allows room for the wrap-around services needed to assist clients,” according to the agenda report. The Commercial Street location is currently listed as Physicians’ Building Group, a primary and medical care provider.

They will also consider spending $723,300 to replace roofs on a Marion County Public Works building that have leaked for years.

The board will accept final reports for five projects: the purchase of a property in Woodburn for His Place, a new transitional living program that will provide childcare and addiction treatment for fathers with substance abuse disorders; cleaning of the Marion County Courthouse; replacing two roofs on the Marion County Jail; installing fire sprinklers at the jail; and excavation, replacement and water filtration at the jail.

Commissioners will also consider approving a $212,400 contract with the city of Sublimity to provide Marion County Sheriff’s Office services in the city through June 2023.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian