Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Governor says vaccinated Oregonians can drop masks in most settings

May 13, 2021 at 6:03pm

Governor says vaccinated Oregonians can drop masks in most settings

Gov. Kate Brown speaks at a news conference in Portland on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Jonathan House/Pamplin Media)

Oregonians who are fully vaccinated against Covid no longer need to wear a mask in most public spaces, Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday afternoon.

Her announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said vaccinated people could safely socialize, play outside and go about their daily lives largely unmasked. The agency said the decision was based on data showing Covid vaccines are highly effective both at stopping people from contracting Covid and from transmitting the virus to others.

Oregon currently requires people to wear masks in most public settings, including while shopping, attending school and in crowded outdoor settings such as sporting events or farmer's markets.

Brown on Thursday said the Oregon Health Authority would review workplace and business guidelines on masking in the coming days and issue rules "to allow the option of lifting mask and physical distancing requirements after verifying vaccination status."

A person is considered fully vaccinated against Covid two weeks after receiving their final dose of vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses spaced several weeks apart, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one dose.

"Some businesses may prefer to simply continue operating under the current guidance for now, rather than worrying about verifying vaccination status, and that’s fine," Brown said.

She said mask requirements would not change for K-12 schools this school year. That means school employees and students will continue to wear masks except when eating or drinking.

In line with federal guidelines, Brown said masks will still be required in crowded indoor spaces like public transit, and health care settings like hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The governor's full remarks are available in a video here and as a written statement here.

-Rachel Alexander

May 13, 2021 at 5:44pm

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill seeking accountability for violence targeting LGBTQ+ Oregonians passes Legislature


A desk in the Oregon Capitol. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A bill cleared the Oregon Legislature that does away with a legal defense in “gay panic” or “trans panic” cases. 

THE ISSUE: Oregon still allows the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, allowing people accused of committing violence to argue the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity caused them to lose control. 

THE BILL: Senate Bill 704

WHAT IT DOES: Defendants accused of murder in the second degree can no longer argue that their action should be excused because of the extreme emotional disturbance caused by discovering the victim’s gender identity, sexual orientation or perceived gender. 

WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: Proponents of the bill point to a 2018 report by the FBI showing a 517.4% increase of reported hate crimes against individuals who identify as transgender between 2013 and 2018. Human Rights Commission reports that 2020 was the worst year on record for crimes committed against people because of their sexuality or gender identity. 


The bill passed the Oregon House on May 13 on a 54-0 vote.

State Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn: Yes

State Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem: Excused

State Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth: Yes

State Rep. Rick Lewis, R-Silverton: Yes

State Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, R-Salem: Yes

State Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence: Excused

Sate Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer: Yes

The bill passed the Oregon Senate on April 14 on a 29-1 vote. 

Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas: Yes

Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes

Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons: Yes

Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem: Yes 

Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer: Yes

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: It heads to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature. 

-Jake Thomas

May 13, 2021 at 1:09pm

Oregon teens age 12-15 now eligible for Covid vaccine; Salem Health offering shots at fairgrounds

Agnes Tsai draws up a dose of the Pfizer vaccine during a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Thursday, Jan. 28. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Oregonians age 12 to 15 can get a Pfizer Covid vaccine starting Thursday after the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup confirmed the shot is safe and effective for teens.

Gov. Kate Brown's office announced the approval Wednesday night. It followed a safety review of the vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Three Covid vaccine are currently approved for adults, but only the Pfizer vaccine has been reviewed for safety and effectiveness in people under 18. The Pfizer vaccine is available in the Salem area at the mass vaccination site at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, and at many local pharmacies.

The fairgrounds clinic began vaccinating teens Thursday morning, Salem Health spokeswoman Lisa Wood said. Walk-in appointments are available, and the clinic is pen 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. More information is on the Salem Health website.

In Oregon, minors 14 and under need parental consent to receive medical care, including vaccination. Teens age 15 to 17 can consent to many types of medical care, including vaccination, without parent or guardian approval, the Oregon Health Authority said.

-Rachel Alexander

May 13, 2021 at 10:45am

UPDATE: Woman injured in shooting after police exchange gunfire with kidnapping suspect near Silverton

A police chase that left a teenager with life-threatening injuries and Woodburn man in handcuffs started with the report of a disturbance in the 1000 block of Depot Ct. in Gervais, Oregon State Police said Thursday afternoon.

Gervais police found 22-year-old Arik Reed, of Gervais, with a gunshot wound around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. Police said they were able to determine that 20-year-old Kenneth Williams Peden III had kidnapped a 17-year-old girl and left in a Ford F-150. 

A Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy located the pickup.

Police said Peden fled from law enforcement when they attempted to stop his vehicle in Silverton. The pursuit continued to Hwy 214 at about mile post 37, where a shootout ensued.

Police haven’t indicated how the teenage girl was injured. 

Original post below:

Police arrested a man after trading gunfire with a kidnapping suspect during a car chase in Silverton Wednesday evening, Oregon State Police said in a news release.

A woman who was a passenger in the vehicle was flown to the hospital with life-threatening injuries following the shootout. Police did not say if the woman was shot or who shot her.

Around 5 p.m., Marion County Sheriff's Office deputies and officers with the Silverton Police Department began chasing a white Ford F150 when someone in the vehicle shot at police as they drove through Silverton, police said.

The truck stopped on Highway 214 near Northeast Forest Ridge Road where the kidnapping suspect fired at officers and officers shot back, police said.

Police arrested the driver, who they identified as 20-year-old Kenneth Williams Peden III, of Woodburn.

Peden was arrested for first-degree attempted murder with a firearm, second-degree attempted murder with a firearm, unlawful weapon use, first-degree kidnapping and fleeing or attempting to elude by vehicle.

The woman was transported to the hospital by Life Flight with life-threatening injuries. Police haven’t released her name.

Multiple police vehicles were hit with bullets, but no officers were injured, police said.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ron Cereghino, and Silverton Police Department officers J.J. Lamoreaux and Braden Anderson will be placed on administrative leave per protocol, police said.

The Oregon State Police are leading the investigation into the shooting and request anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call the Oregon State Police Northern Command Center at 1-800-442-0776 or *OSP refer to OSP Case #SP21-126472

-Saphara Harrell