City News

Eight Salemites nominated to oversee transit, state library, worker’s comp

Salem volunteers are getting another tour of duty on state boards, reappointed to new terms by Gov. Tina Kotek.

Two local residents are getting appointed to their first terms as well.

The state Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to conduct a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, May 9. Appointments must be approved by the full Senate and few generate controversy.

Here are the Salem citizens nominated for terms and the biographical information they submitted to Kotek’s office:

Sadie Carney – reappointment, Salem Area Mass Transit District Board

She is a communications manager at the state Land Conservation and Development Department.

“She lives in NE Salem with her husband and four children and is an active community member. As an active transportation advocate, Sadie wants to make safer, accessible streets for all modes. Walking, biking, and using transit are all things she does daily. Because she has family members who are low vision/legally blind, she is especially aware of the challenges associated with transportation for this community.

“Her desire to make Salem a better community for her children is centralized around lowering carbon emissions from passenger vehicles, creating a walkable, bikeable, and vibrant community, and reducing Salem’s residents’ dependence on cars. She is hardworking, optimistic, and ready to work toward a sustainable, carbon-neutral, transit-connected, safe, and healthy future for every Salem resident.”

Ian Davidson – reappointment, Salem Area Mass Transit District Board

He is a program manager with the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.

“Ian Davidson is committed to ensuring affordable, sustainable, and equitable transportation options in the Salem-Keizer area and the broader mid-Willamette Valley region… Prior to his appointment to the Cherriots board in 2019, he served on the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board and the Salem City Council Public Transit Committee. He and his wife, along with their two daughters, live in Salem. Together, they enjoy going to the farmers market, hiking, gardening, and remodeling their home.”

Wiliam Holmstrom– reappointment, Salem Area Mass Transit District Board

“I have professional and volunteer interest and experience in transit. I am a transportation and land use planner for [state Land Conservation and Development Board.] I was on the board of the Tillamook County Transportation District. I served on the Budget Committee for Cherriots.”

Nicholas Fortey – appointment, Salem Area Mass Transit District Board.

He fills the seat that represents west Salem and downtown that became vacant in December when Chi Nguyen resigned because she moved out of the district.

“I was born in the United Kingdom and moved to the United States when I was very young. We settled in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I went to elementary school and then continued on to college. I studied civil engineering in college with a focus on transportation and started a career soon after in the field. 

“I came out to Oregon to experience the vaunted Pacific Northwest and have been here over 20 years. One of my earliest forays into citizen involvement was serving as transportation chair for our neighborhood association. That direct involvement with government and people has brought both joy and frustration but the ability to connect to people has been a fundamental need I have felt fulfilled.”

Jerado Ambris – reappointment, Western Oregon University Board of Trustees

“I graduated from Western Oregon University in 2004 and hold a BA in Communications and a BA in Spanish. I have been with Habitat for Humanity for over 10 years as an executive director. Prior to Habitat for Humanity, I served as the director of Housing Development for the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation in Woodburn, Oregon, for four years. I have completed my first term on the board of trustees for WOU and looking forward to serving a second term.”

Scott Nowning – reappointment, state Board on Public Safety Standards and Training

“I am a special victims unit detective with the Salem Police Department and the president of the Salem Police Employees Union. I have over 30 years of diverse law enforcement experience which includes military police and civilian police in two states. I have primarily focused my career in the investigative fields of narcotics enforcement and child abuse. My expertise in these areas has afforded me the opportunity to be assigned to some of the most complex cases. Additionally, my experience has given me the chance to both teach these disciplines and lobby the legislature on several issues.
“Due to my passion for investigations, I have never attempted to promote beyond the rank of detective. However, my position as union president has opened doors not previously available. I nearly always have a seat at the decision-making table, and I have many opportunities to discuss law enforcement issues with prominent members of the community. I have been on the hiring panels for chiefs of police, deputy chiefs, lieutenants, sergeants and officers.
I stay busy in my off time with my wife Ivis and two young sons. I also enjoy running and playing sports.” 

Sarah Merrick – appointment, Workers’ Compensation Management-Labor Advisory Committee

“I have been a firefighter/paramedic for the city of Salem for over 15 years. I’m originally from Bellingham, Washington, and moved to Oregon in 2001 to begin my education in becoming a firefighter. I am also currently an adjunct faculty member for Chemeketa Community College’s paramedic program and on the executive board of Salem Professional Firefighters Local 314. I’m constantly seeking ways to expand my knowledge and serve my community whether that be a local, state, or international level. I have many hobbies including travel and backpacking. I’ve had the opportunity to combine my love of travel and teaching, and have taught emergency medical services classes in Caraz, Peru and Durango, Mexico.”

Benjamin Tate – reappointment, State Library Board

“I have worked in state government for over 20 years, the majority of that time working in technology roles, half of the time in management, specifically in education agencies. I have worked for a variety of agencies and have had the opportunity to engage in most state operational processes (procurement, HR, budgeting, legislative engagement, etc). 

“My current role is over an inter-agency research and reporting program, which focuses on connections between education and workforce. This work spans both technology and research, as well as a broad set of connections with state agencies, local government, advocacy groups and community-based organizations. I have worked with the State Library both in this role as well as roles in the past and value the role they play as well as the work of the larger community they serve.”

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Les Zaitz is editor and CEO of Salem Reporter. He co-founded the news organization in 2018. He has been a journalist in Oregon for nearly 50 years in both daily and community newspapers and digital news services. He is nationally recognized for his commitment to local journalism. He also is editor and publisher of the Malheur Enterprise in Vale, Oregon.