Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Gunfire rattles Salem neighborhood, progressive groups call for Nearman resignation

8 months ago

Urban renewal board to consider bonds for infrastructure projects

Salem City Hall. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The governing board for the city of Salem’s Urban Renewal Agency will meet Monday evening to consider bonds that’ll generate cash for six of its urban renewal areas.

Urban renewal is a tool Oregon cities can use to improve infrastructure and attract private investment. Cities can borrow against future property taxes generated in an urban renewal area. That money can be used to fix streetscapes, build affordable housing and improve pedestrian infrastructure.

Kristin Retherford, the city’s urban development director, said in an email that the agency usually does its short-term financing for projects in January after tax payments start coming in in November and December. She said the bond money will be used for projects already approved in each urban renewal area.

The board will consider the following:

A $900,000 short-term bond for the McGilchrist Urban Renewal Area. The 403-acre urban renewal area exists to enhance McGilchrist Street S.E. to improve mobility and spur private investment.

A $500,000 bond for the Mill Creek Industrial Park Urban Renewal Area. The 650-acre urban renewal area was created to build a corporate center in southeast Salem and has been used to improve roads and utilities in the area.

A $4.5 million bond for the North Gateway Urban Renewal Area. The 926-acre area exists to improve streets, rehabilitation of property and affordable housing projects.

A $6 million bond for the Riverfront - Downtown Urban Renewal Area. The 290-acre urban renewal area has been used to construct office buildings, rental housing and bike infrastructure, including the Peter Courtney pedestrian bridge.

A $500,000 bond for the South Waterfront Urban Renewal Area. The 370-acre area was created to help transition pedestrian infrastructure, including connections to the pedestrian and bike system on Minto Island and riverfront access.  

A $2 million bond for the West Salem Urban Renewal Area. The 453-acre area exists to improve buildings and traffic circulation.

-Jake Thomas

8 months ago

Progressive groups call for legislators to oust state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence

Capitol surveillance footage shows state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, allowing demonstrators into the building. (Screen grab.)

A coalition of labor and progressive political groups on Monday called on the Legislature to remove state. Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, for allowing a confrontational crowd into the Capitol building last month.

Earlier this month, surveillance footage was released showing Nearman opening the door for demonstrators standing outside the Capitol building during a one-day special session in December. The Capitol is closed due to pandemic restrictions. The crowd rushed into the vestibule where they violently clashed with police.

The groups seeking Nearman's ouster include the Western States Center, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, Service Employees International Union and others. During a virtual news conference on Monday, the groups called on the Oregon House to use a provision of the state constitution to expel Nearman with a two-thirds vote for engaging in “disorderly behavior.” The groups said that Nearman’s actions foreshadowed the Jan. 6 sacking of the U.S. Capitol and that his actions enabled right-wing extremism.

Oregon State Police have opened a criminal investigation into the incident. Nearman has resisted calls to resign and has responded with a combative statement portraying himself as the victim.

“Literally opening the door for the capitol to be attacked and then not taking ownership for it clearly falls into any reasonable definition of disorderly,” Amy Herzfeld-Copple, Western States Center deputy director of programs, said in a statement. “It is, in fact, dangerous and reckless, and Rep. Nearman must be removed from office.”

-Jake Thomas

8 months ago

Salem-Keizer school construction committee, school board to meet this week

Ongoing construction at North Salem High School on May 6, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A community committee overseeing more than $700 million in school construction projects will meet Monday evening to hear updates on the Salem-Keizer School District's progress.

The district's Community Bond Oversight Committee is tasked with monitoring renovations that are ongoing at dozens of schools. The projects are being paid for through a property tax measure voters approved in 2018.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday over Zoom. Members will review progress on current construction projects and a draft report for the school board. A full agenda and information to RSVP is available on the district website.

On Tuesday, the Salem-Keizer School Board is holding a work session to hear updates from district leaders about 2020 graduation numbers and plans for returning to in-person school.

Work sessions are public meetings where board members discuss issues or hear updates, but don't take action.

The board will also have a board development training session from the Oregon School Boards Association.

The meeting is from 5-7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, and will be broadcast on YouTube and Capitol Community Media channel 21. More information is available on the agenda.

You can view the meeting using the links below.

English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHe63IOSnbE

Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtaleQ8DtNA

-Rachel Alexander

8 months ago

Salem police investigating gunfire involving three cars

People in three cars engaged in gunfire Sunday morning in a northeast Salem neighborhood, according to the Salem Police Department. There were no reported injuries.

The agency said witnesses reported that "the occupants of three vehicles had shot at each other before leaving the area. Some of the suspects were also seen running from one of the vehicles."

Police got the call at 10:45 a.m. to the Northeast Carlton Way and Williams Avenue, about four blocks east of Portland Road.

Northgate Wesleyan Church is at that intersection and, according to its website, its Sunday morning service was scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Sunday.

“We know these events are traumatic and can disrupt an entire neighborhood," Detective Lt. Michael Bennett said in a statement. "We want residents to know we are working very hard to identify those involved and to bring a sense of safety back to the neighborhood.”

Police asked that anyone with information or video from home surveillance cameras call the Salem Police Tips Line at 503-588-8477.

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