Local News That Matters

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May 24 2021 thru May 30 2021

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STATE GOVERNMENT May. 28
State hospital shifts managers to nursing work to get through holiday weekend
Oregon State Hospital leaders are relying on managers from other departments to cover nursing duties to get through Memorial Day weekend. They’ve still received no response on deploying the National Guard to aid with a staffing crisis, but the Oregon Office of Emergency Management is seeking civilians to help.
May. 28
New bathrooms open at Riverfront Park
STATE GOVERNMENT May. 28
Here are the requests from Salem area lawmakers on how to spend federal stimulus dollars
Following an influx of federal funds, legislative leaders asked lawmakers last month for proposals on which state agencies, local governments or nonprofits to direct the money. Salem area lawmakers responded with funding requests for local infrastructure, money to support businesses and nonprofits, as well as health programs and others.
NONPROFITS May. 28
Mental health workers, not police, could be responding to calls in Salem by August
After a city budget committee signaled its support for a mobile response unit that would respond to calls of people in mental crisis, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley is moving ahead. The nonprofit is looking for additional funding to bridge the nearly $300,000 more it needs to get the program up and running.
May. 28
Oregon legislative staff vote to unionize
May. 28
Workers' comp provider SAIF hires new president
LOCAL SCHOOLS May. 28
Traffic improvements, more classrooms coming to Sprague as $43 million construction project begins
Sprague High School will shed much-hated portable classrooms and add space for science labs, career programs and special education over a 15-month construction project kicking off this summer.
OREGON GOVERNMENT May. 27
With thin staff and others working double shifts, state hospital calls for National Guard help
As a staffing crisis has worsened, Oregon State Hospital has increasingly mandated overtime for the employees caring for about 500 patients on its Salem campus. Since April 1, hospital employees were ordered on 546 occasions to work a total of 2,851 overtime hours.
May. 27
City warns of recent cougar sighting at Minto-Brown Island Park
ON THE AIR May. 27
ON THE AIR: Saphara Harrell on the fate of Salem's homeless and one man's fire recovery
Listen for local news weekday mornings on community radio station KMWV (98.3 FM) with "In Case You Missed It - With Salem Reporter." One of our reporters joins radio station manager Lisa Walz to discuss a story or two of the day.
STATE HOSPITAL May. 27
Oregon State Hospital situation ‘dire,’ National Guard asked to help staffing
The share of nursing staff on Covid-related leave at the state hospital in Salem has grown to an unprecedented 33%, prompting hospital administrators this week to seek help from managers in other state agencies and the National Guard.
May. 27
Live comedy returns to the Salem area this weekend
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT May. 27
On-street dining will become permanent in downtown under new program
Salem is making permanent a program that allowed restaurants to expand seating into parking spaces. It created a formal design for so-called “parklets,” but one councilor noted the cost could be prohibitive to restaurants financially recovering from the pandemic.
SALEM PEOPLE AND PLACES May. 27
GUEST COLUMN: "Where do they go as we tell them they can’t be anywhere?"
As Salem moves to end camping in city parks and considers other shelter options, SafeSleep United Shelter Director Lynelle Wilcox reflects on two regular shelter guests and what she's learned from working with people who sometimes live in alternate realities.
May. 26
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill closing vape loophole passes Oregon Legislature
May. 26
Final round of businesses assistance program opens
SALEM ECONOMY May. 26
SALEM ECONOMIC INDEX: Salem sees housing market reach new highs and signs that hiring is picking up
Salem Reporter’s monthly feature looks at key indicators to give you a sense of how the Salem area economy is performing. This month’s data show that demand for housing remains strong. Video lottery sales, new business registrations and some building permits took a dip.
SALEM HISTORY May. 26
LOCAL HISTORY: Salem takes to the airwaves with KOCO
KOCO was an early Salem AM radio station started in 1947. Willamette Heritage Center shared an undated photo of the station with readers Wednesday in hopes of identifying the people in it. They didn't have to wait long.
May. 26
Friend starts GoFundMe for Salem man who lost everything in storage unit fire
ON THE AIR May. 26
ON THE AIR: Jake Thomas discusses changes ahead for Salem's unemployed
Listen for local news weekday mornings on community radio station KMWV (98.3 FM) with "In Case You Missed It - With Salem Reporter." One of our reporters joins radio station manager Lisa Walz to discuss a story or two of the day.
May. 26
Oregon Museum of Mental Health to reopen May 28
SALEM PEOPLE May. 26
Salem teacher designs shirt commemorating an educational “glitch” year
Graphic design teacher Dave Pluister started apparel company Causewagon to raise money and awareness for Salem nonprofits. His latest design seeks to recognize student resilience while benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Salem.
May. 25
Marion, Polk counties remain thousands of vaccines shy of state targets to loosen restrictions
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT May. 25
‘Cottage cluster’ housing for low-income Salem seniors moves forward after city agrees to land sale
The Salem City Council on Monday approved the sale of several city-owned parcels on Market Street for a project that would give low-income seniors an affordable place to live. The United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley is now working through zoning issues before building so-called cottage clusters.
HOMELESSNESS May. 25
Managed camps and new shelter options could be coming online soon as parks camping ends
Salem city officials during a meeting Monday night alluded to several shelter options that councilors will be asked to fund during June 14 meeting. They include managed camps run by Church at the Park and partially funding the purchase of a motel for shelter.
May. 25
Salem area unemployment rate remains essentially unchanged
SALEM ECONOMY May. 25
Oregon’s economy expected to come roaring back from pandemic-induced recession
The most recent state economic forecast predicts a speedy recovery from the historic recession brought on by last year’s pandemic. Consumers will have money to spend. Workers will have plenty of jobs. But employers will struggle to fill open positions, inflation is certain and a key industry to the Salem area has taken a hit.
May. 25
Construction to kick off at Sprague, West Salem high schools
ON THE AIR May. 25
ON THE AIR: Rachel Alexander on Oregon's Covid vaccine lottery and too close to call school board races
Listen for local news weekday mornings on community radio station KMWV (98.3 FM) with "In Case You Missed It - With Salem Reporter." One of our reporters joins radio station manager Lisa Walz to discuss a story or two of the day.
May. 24
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill that would count ballots after Election Day passes Oregon House
HOMELESSNESS May. 24
Camping in Salem parks could end after Monday night city council vote. But questions remain over timeline
The Salem City Council will vote on winding down homeless camping at two city parks during a meeting Monday night. Councilors have expressed concerns that unhoused people will return to living on downtown streets if camping abruptly comes to an end.
SALEM COMMUNITY May. 24
Annual ‘Ride of Silence’ seeks to improve safety and visibility of Salem bicyclists
The eight-mile ride is part of an international event that aims to make bicycles an everyday part of street traffic that should be treated safely. Cycling proponents say Salem has taken steps to making the city friendly to bicycles but could do more.
May. 24
Design a game, explore the forest or play the drums at free Salem summer camps
May. 24
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners meet Wednesday to consider DHS funding
COVID VACCINATION May. 24
To boost Covid vaccination rates, Salem Health plans mobile clinics for local schools
At Four Corners Elementary School, counselor Kim Siegrist said many families have had trouble getting vaccinated because they lack transportation and can't miss work to get a shot. She worked to bring a clinic to them. Similar events are planned in the coming weeks at north and east Salem schools.
GUEST COLUMN May. 24
COLUMN: Using federal stimulus could bolster health insurance coverage
Jim Sellers, former Oregon journalist and state agency employee, writes a regular column to help thousands in Salem deal with the confusing world of Medicare and federal benefits. He's available to answer your questions.

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