Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Indigenous peoples day celebration slated for Monday in Salem

October 8, 2021 at 4:49pm

AGENDA: Salem City Council to reconsider west Salem managed camp after opposition from neighbors

West Salem's city councilor wants the council to reconsider allowing a managed homeless camp on Wallace Road after residents objected to the plan.

At a Monday meeting, the council will hear a motion from Councilor Jim Lewis to reconsider the council’s previous approval of a managed camp along Wallace Road following overwhelming opposition to the project voiced during a Tuesday meeting at Salemtowne.


In council documents, Lewis explained that he wanted the council to withdraw its approval until city staff analyzed the site to determine if it’s feasible and met with west Salem neighbors to discuss alternate locations in that ward.

The council will also consider a resolution that would extend the declaration of emergency which allowed the safe parking program, emergency homeless shelters and warming shelters, and outdoor managed camps.

The current declaration is set to expire on Oct. 26. The resolution would further extend the declaration until June 28.

The city has drafted code amendments to regulate the siting and operation of shelters, warming and cooling centers, and outdoor managed sites. Those amendments are tentatively scheduled to go before council on Nov. 8.

Councilors will also consider approving a $7,500 hiring bonus for police officers hired in difficult-to-fill positions and lateral transfers from Oct. 25 to Feb. 28.

They will consider authorizing the city manager to lease a retail space in the Liberty Parkade located at 197 Liberty Street S.E. to Pentacle Theater to house its ticket office, general offices, and small rehearsal space. 

To participate: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday and is streamed live on YouTube. Submit comments on agenda items by 5 p.m. the day of the meeting at [email protected]. Public comment and testimony may also be provided during the meeting via Zoom. Please pre-register between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting at the following link: https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/Public-Comment-at-Salem-City-CouncilMeeting.aspx

-Saphara Harrell

October 8, 2021 at 4:44pm

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Oct. 8, 2021

A health care worker wheels out a gurney in the emergency room at Salem Hospital on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Reporter is keeping you informed of the latest Covid numbers. Here’s our report for Friday, Oct. 8.

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 136

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 18

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 71 as of Friday morning, a decrease of eight from Thursday. Of those, 16 are in the intensive care unit, and 10 are on ventilators. 

Fifty-six of those in the hospital are not vaccinated against Covid.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 461 of 494 licensed beds in use

OHA didn’t have updated numbers on Covid hospitalizations for the region which covers Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties by 4:40 p.m. Friday. 

New Covid deaths reported: 23

Thursday’s reported deaths included a 59-year-old man from Polk County who tested positive on Aug. 31 and died on Oct. 6 at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center. He had no underlying conditions. 

There were five Marion County deaths reported. They are: 

-An 85-year-old woman who tested positive on Sept. 25 and died on Oct. 5 at Salem Hospital.

-An 85-year-old man who tested positive on Sept. 25 and died on Oct. 5 at Salem Hospital. 

-An 87-year-old man who tested positive on June 25 and died on July 4 at his residence.

-An 87-year-old man who tested positive on June 12 and died on June 19 at his residence. 

-A 91-year-old woman who tested positive on Jan. 23 and died on Jan. 30 at her residence. 

All had underlying conditions. 

New Covid vaccines in Oregon: 6,873 new Covid doses on Oct. 4, including 1,357 first doses, 1,294 second doses and 4,172 third doses 

Source: Oregon Health Authority, Salem Health

-Saphara Harrell

October 8, 2021 at 12:56pm

Latino students now largest share of Salem-Keizer district

Latino students now make up 45% of the Salem-Keizer School District, a marked increase from before the pandemic.

The shift means Latinos are now the largest demographic group in the district, followed by white students, who were 42% of the student body last year.

The numbers come from state education data released Thursday, which offer the first comprehensive look at how public school demographics and progress toward graduation changed as schools moved online during the Covid pandemic.

RELATED COVERAGE: Pandemic widens graduation inequities for Salem high schoolers

Salem-Keizer's enrollment fell to 38,809 students during the 2020-21 school year, down from 41,770 the year before. The drop was so pronounced the district was briefly the third-largest in Oregon, behind Portland and Beaverton, which enrolled 39,323 students last year, according to state education department data.

The Salem district's demographics have been growing more diverse for years, with the share of Latino students increasing steadily. As enrollment declined during the pandemic, state data shows the share of white students declined from 46% to 42%, and the share of Latinos rose from from 42% to 45%.

District enrollment has increased this fall, though still not to pre-pandemic levels. A total of 40,214 students are now enrolled, with 1,793 of those attending classes online.

-Rachel Alexander

October 8, 2021 at 12:32pm

Salem's fourth Indigenous peoples day event Monday brings powwow, guest speakers

(Courtesy/Salem Indigenous Now)

Salem area residents near Riverfront Park on Monday may hear the drumbeats of a powwow as the city celebrates its fourth Indigenous Peoples Day.

With other local tribes canceling powwow gatherings due to Covid, organizer Hannah Shootingbear said she wanted to bring a traditional powwow to Salem's event for the first time.

The event will be held Monday, Oct. 11 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Gerry Frank amphitheater.

Shootingbear said she is particularly excited about the guest speakers, Indigenous people in the community who will cover topics related to the theme of this year's event: "the resistance is existence."

"Regardless of what the government throws at us, any barrier that allows us not to move forward, regardless of the type of resistance, we're still going to exist. We're the protectors of Mother Earth since the beginning of time," she said.

When entering the amphitheater, visitors can expect to see a row of informational booths and vendors selling merchandise. She said soup will be available for all at the event.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring a chair and canopy and are asked to follow social distancing guidelines. The event will have an area specifically for veterans, people who are elderly and those with disabilities.

She said the event is not affiliated with any local tribe and is only supported by volunteers and donors.

People can enter two different raffles to win a prize - one a "beautiful" picture of an elderly woman in Mexico selling fruits and vegetables, donated by youth group Latinos Unidos Siempre, and the other a traditional star quilt, Shootingbear said.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian