Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Lancaster Drive Northeast closed for utility repairs

3 months ago

Governor declares state of emergency as Salem temperatures rise

People cool off in the Willamette River at Wallace Marine Park on Saturday, June 26. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday declared a state of emergency in 23 Oregon counties, including Marion and Polk, because of excessive heat forecasted in the coming days. The declaration will allow counties to access additional resources to respond to triple digit temperatures.

"As Oregon faces another high heat event, it's important that we make available all needed resources to assist every level of government helping Oregonians stay safe and healthy," Brown said in a statement.

Salem is expected to see a high of 100 degrees Thursday afternoon and a high of 102 degrees Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Brown has directed the state Office of Emergency Management to activate the state's Emergency Coordination Center, and state agencies to provide any assistance requested by OEM. The Oregon Health Authority will activate the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon, the state's roster of licensed physicians, nurses, EMTs, and other health professionals to respond to the heat. 

This article was updated to include Polk County after the governor's office updated the list of affected counties.

-Saphara Harrell

3 months ago

Linn County Sheriff's Office suspends search for missing Salem climber

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office has suspended the search for the Salem climber who went missing while descending Mount Jefferson on Friday, July 23.

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon said a significant amount of resources went into locating 33-year-old Steven Van Pelt and continuing to search for him would jeopardize additional lives.

“Resources, to include six mountain rescue teams, took great risk searching for Van Pelt over the last several days among the extreme mountainous terrain with glacier drifts, falling rocks and debris,” Yon said in a news release.

He said Van Pelt’s family is aware of the decision.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue, Deschutes Mountain Rescue, Portland Mountain Rescue, Hood River Mountain Rescue, Oregon Emergency Management, United States Army National Guard, Air Force Reserve (304th), LifeFlight, Idanha Fire Department, Detroit Fire Department, Amateur Radio Emergency Services and United States Forest Service. 

-Saphara Harrell

3 months ago

Gov. Brown will require masks in Oregon K-12 schools for 2021-22

Giovanni Fajardo Perez, a student in Crystal Magee's kindergarten and first grade classroom, uses colored pencils on the first day back to school at Richmond Elementary on Tuesday, March 2. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem students and educators returning to classrooms in the fall will have to wear a mask indoors, Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday.

The governor directed the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education to create a rule requiring masks inside K-12 schools for the 2021-22 school year, citing the wider spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus.

“The science and data are clear: the Delta variant is in our communities, and it is more contagious,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “My priority is to ensure our kids are able to safely return to full-time in-person learning this fall, five days per week and with minimal disruptions. With many children still ineligible to be vaccinated, masks are an effective way to help keep our kids safe in the classroom, the learning environment we know serves them best."

Brown's decision comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday recommended all students, staff and visitors at K-12 schools wear masks, even if vaccinated against Covid.

Salem-Keizer School District administrators had not yet made a decision about mask-wearing in the fall prior to Brown's announcement. Other health protocols, such as requiring physical distancing, remain up to individual districts as school resumes in the fall.

Read more about the school mask mandate here.

-Rachel Alexander

3 months ago

Salem predicted to reach triple digits Thursday, Friday

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory as temperatures are expected to reach into triple digits Thursday and Friday.

It’s going to be a hot couple days in Salem as temperatures are predicted to reach triple digits both Thursday and Friday.

The National Weather Service in Portland has placed Salem under a heat advisory starting Thursday morning to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Overnight lows are predicted in the mid-60s both Thursday and Friday evening. Saturday’s high is predicted in the mid-90s.

A southerly flow will bring hotter weather along with “monsoonal moisture” through Friday. The weather service is predicting thunderstorms along the Cascade Crest that could lead to numerous fires igniting.

The Willamette National Forest is under a red flag warning Thursday afternoon to evening as thunderstorms are expected to produce “abundant lightning,” according to the weather service.

Red flag warnings mean there are critical fire weather conditions that could lead to a wildfire.

There is a fire weather watch in effect Friday morning through Friday evening.

The weather service advises people to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms, stay out of the sun and to check up on neighbors and relatives.

-Saphara Harrell

3 months ago

Utilities shut off, portion of northbound Lancaster closed as crews repair power pole

Crews with Portland General Electric repair a pole on Lancaster Drive Northeast on Thursday, July 29 following a car crash. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.:

At approximately 3:30 p.m., PGE reported that damage to the power pole had been repaired but additional damage to feeder lines was causing the continued outage. According to PGE spokesperson Andrea Platt, crews are on the ground and working to restore power. The estimated time for restoration, Platt said, is now 5 p.m. Thursday. 

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: This was updated to reflect the time power is expected to be restored.

The northbound lanes on Lancaster Drive Northeast between Center Street Northeast and D Street Northeast are closed Thursday morning following a car crash that damaged a utility pole.

John Farmer, PGE spokesperson, said about 900 customers in the area are without power.

He said power is set to be restored between 11 a.m. and noon on Thursday. Farmer directed customers to the PGE power outage map on the company's website for updates.

"The grid shut down will impact traffic signals, as well as power to nearby homes and businesses. If you must traverse the area, please drive with caution and attention to other traffic movement," a police statement said.

Southbound lanes on Lancaster are open to traffic.

The street closure originally extended to Market Street Northeast. In an update around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, police said lanes between D Street and Center Street would remain closed. No estimate was given for reopening the street.

Dispatch records show emergency crews responded to a crash at Lancaster Drive Northeast and D Street Northeast late Wednesday.

-Rachel Alexander