Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Cherriots will resume collecting fares next month

June 4, 2021 at 3:46pm

Bill would ban "vaccine passports" in Oregon


State Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, during the Timber Unity rally in 2019. (Jaime Valdez/ Portland Tribune)

State Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, has introduced a bill that would block businesses and government agencies from requiring vaccinations before members of the public can seek employment or services from them. 

The bill takes aim at so-called “vaccine passports,” a document that proves someone has been inoculated and can resume normal activities that have been restricted by the pandemic, such as travel or concerts. 

In Oregon, businesses can allow customers to go without masks if they can prove they’ve been vaccinated. Gov. Kate Brown nor public health authorities have presented the rules as “vaccine passports.” Both business groups and labor have complained the rules made workers the “mask police.”

Thatcher, in a press release, blasted the governor’s “vaccine passport scheme” as “an extreme invasion of Oregonians’ privacy” and called her bill “civil rights legislation.” 

 “No Oregonian should have to divulge medical information to participate in everyday life,” she said in a statement. “This bill is about making clear Oregonians’ rights, which have been railroaded by the Governor during the pandemic.”

Multiple Republican-led states have banned vaccine passports. It’s not clear what prospects the bill has in Oregon’s Democratic-led Legislature, which is approaching adjournment and hasn’t shown a willingness to buck Brown’s pandemic orders.  

During a press conference Friday, Brown shrugged off Thatcher’s bill when asked about it. She said she was focused on getting 70% of Oregonians vaccinated, after which she would lift most restrictions. 

-Jake Thomas

June 4, 2021 at 2:59pm

Gates family who lost everything Labor Day wildfires receives tiny home

A Gates family got a tiny home delivered to their property this week. (Courtesy/Jordan Truitt)

A Gates family who lost everything in the Beachie Creek Fire last year got a tiny home delivered to their property this week.

Salem Reporter wrote about the family in January after they were chosen by Santiam Hospital’s Service Integration Team to receive a home donated by Tiny Mountain Houses and International Housing through United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley.

Since September's devastating wildfires, Timothy Smith has lived with his wife and two small children in a trailer on the property they’ve called home for three years.

Jordan Truitt, a real estate broker who was involved with the tiny home donation, said it was the culmination of five months of work.

“While we cannot donate a home to every person displaced by the wildfires, we can create momentum by encouraging others to engage in the rebuilding process by doing anything possible, within their means. I have done this with the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley since that historic Labor Day, and I hope this inspires others to do the same, no matter how big or small,” he said. 

-Saphara Harrell

June 4, 2021 at 11:41am

Cherriots will resume collecting fares next month

People get on a Cherriots bus downtown in pre-pandemic times. (Caleb Wolf/Special to Salem Reporter)

In another sign things are getting back to normal, it will no longer be free to ride the bus in Salem. 

Cherriots, Salem’s mass transit service, has announced that it will begin collecting fares starting Tuesday, July 6. Riders will also be boarding through the front door and paying at the farebox. Last March, Cherriots stopped collecting fares and instructed riders to enter the back entrance as a public health precaution. 

Beginning Monday, June 28, Cherriots will open customer service, located at 220 High St. N.E., where riders can purchase passes. 

The unused portion of 30-day passes purchased last year can be redeemed at customer service for credit on new passes. Cash refunds won’t be given. 

However, the customer service lobby won’t be open for riders to wait for the bus (they can still use the bathroom). Masks will still be required and seating limited. More information can be found on a FAQ page published by Cherriots.

-Jake Thomas