Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem-Keizer School Board will discuss public comment, return to school

2 months ago

Following last month's clash, another protest planned in front of Salem Planned Parenthood

The Salem Police Department released an advisory Tuesday ahead of a planned protest in front of the Planned Parenthood in northeast Salem that turned violent last month.

The Church at Planned Parenthood has held regular Tuesday evening services outside the health clinic for months protesting abortion, according to its Facebook page. The church, whose website describes the group’s services outside clinics as “a worship service outside the gates of Hell,” has an event planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday. The clinic is located at 3825 Wolverine St N.E.

Counterdemonstrators have an event planned for 6 p.m. to “support accessible reproductive healthcare and counter reactionary extremism,” according to a post on Facebook.

“The protest will occur in the vicinity of a business complex and a residential district, and as such, we recognize community concerns for the potential impacts to those areas. As with every rally, protest or demonstration, our expectation is that participants assemble peacefully and that our community is not negatively impacted,” the Salem Police Department said in its release.

Last month’s protest turned violent with Proud Boys acting as “security” and assaulting a counterdemonstrator.

Proud Boys are a far-right group that’s been involved in street brawls in Salem and around the U.S. and were this year labeled a terrorist organization in Canada.

An Aloha man was later indicted on charges of using physical force to steal a handgun from a counterdemonstrator during the July event.

-Saphara Harrell

2 months ago

City of Salem now requiring masks inside municipal court

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett puts on a face mask made by a neighbor on Thursday, April 9. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Visitors and employees will be asked to wear masks inside city of Salem buildings as the number of new Covid cases continue to climb.

Local and state health officials say the increase in Covid cases is being driven by the dominance of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus.

Emily DuPlessis-Enders, city spokeswoman, said starting this week, there will be signs in city buildings about masking. She said mask wearing is voluntary and people who enter without a mask won't be denied service.

She said masks will be provided.

Municipal Court Judge Jane Aiken has ordered that people attending municipal court will be required to wear masks because of the duration of court proceedings and small courtroom space, said Steve Powers, city manager, in an email to staff.  

“The city will continue to take steps to navigate between our responsibilities of providing services, protecting public health, and protecting you and your fellow co-workers,” he said.

This story was updated to clarify that masks are required inside municipal court and requested in other indoor city settings.

-Saphara Harrell

2 months ago

Rabid bat found in Independence

A rabid bat was found in Independence and tested positive for rabies on Aug. 3. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A rabid bat was found at Independence’s River Front Park.

The Polk County Public Health Department and Oregon Health Authority said the bat tested positive on Aug. 3 at Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

It’s one of seven rabid bats found around the state this year. Very few bats in Oregon have rabies and rabies in other wildlife is even rarer, according to a press release from Polk County.

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks an infected animal’s nervous system.

Approximately 8% of the bats tested are found to have rabies every year in Oregon, the release said.

Dr. Emilio DeBess, Oregon Health Authority’s public health veterinarian, said people should never handle bats and make sure their pets are vaccinated to protect themselves from rabies.

“Unfortunately, bats often carry rabies. If you find a bat during the daylight hours, it is probably not healthy and should be avoided,” DeBess said in a prepared statement.  

Sick bats may be seen flopping around on the ground or otherwise acting unusual. If you find a sick bat or other sick wildlife on your property, take children and pets indoors and do not handle the bats without protection. Use a disposable container with a lid to scoop the animal into the container and dispose of it in the trash. If a bat has had contact with a human or an animal, call your health department or animal services for guidance, the release said. 

-Saphara Harrell

2 months ago

AGENDA: Salem-Keizer School Board will discuss public comment, return to school

The Salem-Keizer School Board will again discuss its public comment process at a meeting Tuesday evening, and consider a contract reappointing the district's attorney for another year.


Board members will consider a contract reappointing the Salem firm Garrett Hemann Robertson, and attorney Paul Dakopolos, to provide legal counsel to the district, superintendent and board.

The contract increases the district's monthly retainer amount to $6,000, a $1,500 increase, and a per-hour billing increase of $10 per hour.

The board will again discuss its public comment process as in-person meetings resume.

A draft policy would allow members of the public to provide written comments or sign up to speak in advance of the meeting, as well as signing up in person on the day of the meeting. Each speaker would be able to talk for up to three minutes, with additional time for translation into English if needed.

The board will also hear reports on the district's plans for resuming school in the fall and the performance indicators the board uses to assess the superintendent's performance.

To participate:

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10 at the district's Support Services Center, 2575 Commercial Street S.E. It is open to the public, and members of the public can sign up for in-person public comment before the meeting starts.

The meeting will also be streamed on CC:Media, channel 21, and on YouTube at the links below.

English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn2It_RfFxE

Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iam32YgUKsY

-Rachel Alexander