Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Man found dead in tent at Wallace Marine Park

January 7, 2022 at 5:00pm

Protest planned Saturday at state capitol, police say

(Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Salem police said Friday that a protest is planned on the state capitol grounds Saturday.

In a news release, the Salem Police Department said they and Oregon State Police are aware of the planned protest, which is slated to start at noon Saturday.

Police didn't provide details on the protest, but it appears to correspond to fliers shared on social media for a "Never Stop Fighting" rally calling for justice for those charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

The fliers say the event runs Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

One flier for the rally showed two Proud Boys flags outside the state Capitol. The Proud Boys are a far-right group that have engaged in street brawls in Salem and across the U.S.

The fliers don't say who is organizing the protest or provide further information.

A flier shared on social media for the Jan. 8 protest at the Oregon State Capitol.

Salem police and OSP could not immediately be reached Friday for further clarification.

OSP is responsible for events that happen at the state capitol, but Salem Police will assists as needed. "We are prepared to address circumstances should a law enforcement response within the city be necessary," the news release said.

Police said residents traffic flow may be disrupted near the capitol building late morning and into the afternoon, the news release said. Information will be available on OSP's media platforms, and any traffic or police advisories will be announced on Salem police's social media.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

January 7, 2022 at 1:16pm

AGENDA: Salem City Council to appoint interim city manager, explore changing human rights code

Salem City Council Chambers. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Salem City Council meets Monday to appoint an interim city manager, add a housing status as a protected class under city law and explore a mobile crisis response pilot project.

AGENDA

The council will vote to appoint Kristin Retherford, urban development director, as interim city manager starting on March 1.

Current City Manager Steve Powers is retiring on Feb. 28.

Councilor Virginia Stapleton plans to make a motion that begin a process to include housing status as a protected class in the city code.

The idea was brought forth by Salem’s Human Rights Commission because of ongoing reports of violence against homeless people and the annual discrimination survey, which found homeless people are targeted at a rate far higher than their peers.

“The change would provide for a reporting mechanism for micro aggressions and bias incidents affecting the unsheltered,” a Human Rights Commissions agenda item reads.

The document said that Madison, Wisconsin and Louisville, Kentucky currently provide for the protection of persons based upon housing status in their municipal human rights code.

Stapleton's motion also calls for removing gendered language from the human rights section of city code to make it more inclusive.

Councilor Vanessa Nordyke will make a motion to request city staff bring council a report on a mobile crisis unit pilot project.

The report would identify community partners, funding sources and costs.

The council will vote to appoint two applicants to the Planning Commission for positions that expire on December 31, 2025.

The council will consider authorizing two intergovernmental agreements with Marion County for improvements to Northeast Center Street and Northeast Hayesville Drive.

The Oregon Department of Transportation awarded federal funds to improve a section of Northeast Center Street from Northeast Concord Street to 15 feet east of Northeast Mitchell Street.

ODOT also awarded federal funds to improve Northeast Hayesville Drive from Northeast Portland Road to Northeast Fuhrer Street. 

How to participate: View the meeting on YouTube or watch on CC:Media Channel 21. 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. Pre-register between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. the day of the meeting at the following link: https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/Public-Comment-at-Salem-City-CouncilMeeting.aspx.

-Saphara Harrell

January 7, 2022 at 10:42am

Oregon will again deploy National Guard to aid overwhelmed hospitals

U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Thomas Watson puts together a patient meal at Salem Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Gov. Kate Brown is again calling on the Oregon National Guard to aid hospitals around the state during a projected surge in hospitalized Covid patients.

Brown announced Friday morning she would deploy up to 500 members of the Guard as needed, with an initial deployment of 125 members next week.

Guard members deployed will help with logistical and other non-medical tasks. Guard members with health care and medical training are generally already occupied working civilian jobs in the health care sector, the announcement said.

“With more than 500 current hospitalizations and daily record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases, we are at another critical point in this pandemic—and the Oregon National Guard is stepping up again to assist,” Brown said in a statement. “I would like to thank the employers of our Guard members—we cannot call upon these hardworking Guard members without your sacrifice and support as well. While Guard members work to support our frontline health care workers, I am asking all Oregonians to continue to do your part to help. Get vaccinated, get boosted, wear your masks, and stay home when you are sick.”

It's the second time Oregon has relied on the Guard to help overwhelmed hospitals since the pandemic began. During the Delta surge in late summer, Guard members went to hospitals across the state, including Salem Hospital. There, about 100 Guard members helped with check-in, meal delivery and other logistical work.

Friday's announcement didn't detail where the first Guard members would be sent. Liz Merah, a spokeswoman for the governor, said those details were still being worked out.

-Rachel Alexander

January 7, 2022 at 9:22am

Salem police investigating death after finding body at Wallace Marine Park

Edgar Pascual-Hernandez (Courtesy/Salem Police Department)

Salem police are asking for the public’s help investigating the death of a man found Tuesday in his tent at Wallace Marine Park.

Edgar Pascual-Hernandez, 48, was found dead in the tent just north of the softball fields, according to a Friday morning news release.

Employers and friends in the camp knew Pascual-Hernandez as Samuel Lucas or Sam. 

The Salem Police Department considers his death suspicious, the news release said. Detectives with the Violent Crimes Unit asked anyone with information about Pascual-Hernandez to call the department’s tips line at 503-588-8477.

The news release said police won’t release any additional information as they are still investigating Pascual-Hernandez’s death.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian