The elected officials who oversee the Salem-Keizer School District have no significant debts, business investments or other financial interests aside from their day jobs, recently-filed state disclosures show.
Many elected officials in Oregon have been required for years to file financial interest statements with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, but school board directors were only added to the list in 2022 under a new law.
The first year of legally-required disclosures have sparked mass resignations in some eastern Oregon districts — but in Salem, there’s little of note in the newly-filed statements.
The seven directors of the Salem-Keizer School Board list few items aside from pensions, jobs and in two cases, rental properties. They do not have to list their residence.
The “statements of economic interest” disclose significant sources of income but not amounts and are intended to stem corruption and conflicts of interest. The forms are accessible on the ethics commission’s website.
School board members are unpaid volunteers.
Here’s what each Salem-Keizer director listed.
Ashley Carson Cottingham, board chair
Carson Cottingham’s disclosure lists her state job at the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and her husband’s work at the Oregon Department of Transportation.
It also lists a short-term rental property in Bend, Oregon, which the disclosure said her parents own and Carson Cottingham manages with her brother. Carson Cottingham said she receives no income from the property.
Avila lists his state job with the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and his wife’s work as an independent distributor with Princess House, a cookware company.
Heyen lists retirement income from Social Security and Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System, and her husband’s job with the city of Keizer.
Chandragiri’s disclosures are chiefly related to his private psychiatry practice in southeast Salem, which he owns. According to his form, his wife works for the practice as an administrative assistant, and they own a separate company which owns the office building and leases it to the practice,
Chandragiri also serves as chief medical officer of Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc., a nonprofit organization based in The Dalles which administers behavioral health and substance abuse care for Oregonians in rural counties insured through Medicaid, also called the Oregon Health Plan.
Karina Guzmán Ortiz, zone 5
Guzmán Ortiz reported income from her job at the Oregon Department of Education.
She also listed attending the National School Board Association Equity Symposium at a cost of $2,993. Guzmán Ortiz said she received a scholarship from the Oregon School Boards Association Members of Color Caucus, which covered her registration, flights, some meals and transportation.
Robert Salazar, zone 6
Salazar listed Social Security income for himself and his spouse, as well as retirement income through an investment account and Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System. He also listed a National Guard pension.
Maria Hinojos Pressey, zone 7
Hinojos Pressey listed her job as operations director at PCUN, Oregon’s farmworker union.
Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.
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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.