Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Quarantine rules ease for Oregon child care providers

March 3, 2022 at 3:36pm

Salem Leadership Foundation raises record-setting amount in annual fundraiser

The Salem Leadership Foundation raised over $125,000 during this year's annual fundraiser. (Courtesy/Jerry Stevens)

The Salem Leadership Foundation has so far raised $126,100 during its annual fundraiser which ends Saturday.  

It’s a record-setting amount for the nonprofit, which had 34 businesses and 532 individual people sponsor.  

The nonprofit was founded in 1996 to help local churches and faith communities find ways to improve their neighborhoods. 

Sam Skillern, executive director, said the funding helps support “bridge-building work” the nonprofit does with more than 50 of its partnerships.  

“The focus recently has been on homeless outreach, refugee resettlement, school support and community partnership teams in Salem-Keizer,” he said in a text.  

-Saphara Harrell

March 3, 2022 at 2:43pm

Pandemic back rent is due, but help’s available for Oregon tenants

Apartments in downtown Salem (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A grace period to pay back rent that piled up during the early months of the Covid pandemic ended Tuesday, but tenants still have options to avoid eviction. 

A 2021 law gave renters until Feb. 28 to pay any back rent accrued between April 2020 and June 2021. As long as renters stayed current on their rent – or applied for rental assistance through a state portal or community organizations – landlords couldn’t evict tenants over rent they didn’t pay during those 14 months. 

Pandemic rent assistance programs will cover up to a year of back rent and utility payments and up to three months of future rent and utility payments. There’s no cap on the dollar amount an individual can receive. 

Tuesday’s deadline means that landlords can begin eviction proceedings for tenants who owe back rent from April 2020 to June 2021. However, anyone who applied for rental assistance and is waiting for their application to process is protected from eviction until their application is approved or denied under a law approved in December. 

People who owe back rent and haven’t applied for rent assistance can still do so, and they’ll also be protected from eviction as long as they show their landlord proof of their application. They can apply through a statewide online portal and call 2-1-1 or visit www.211info.org for more information about local resources. 

The state reopened its applications for rental assistance in January and received just over 11,000 requests for more than $125 million. Tenants can continue to request aid until June 30 or until the money runs out. Lawmakers added $100 million to the program in December.

-Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle

March 3, 2022 at 12:43pm

Quarantine rules ease for Oregon child care providers

Teacher Allie West leads a craft activity at the Oregon Child Development Coalition's North Lancaster preschool on March 20, 2020 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Covid quarantine requirements in Oregon preschools and child care facilities will loosen March 12, mirroring changes planned for K-12 schools.

Starting on that date, kids or employees exposed to Covid won't have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms of illness or test positive for the virus, Early Learning Division spokeswoman Melanie Mesaros said.

People who get sick with Covid or test positive for the virus should quarantine at home for five days and then continue to wear a masks for five additional days, new division guidelines said.

Previously, state guidelines from the Early Learning Division required people exposed to Covid to quarantine for 10 days in child care facilities where masks are not universally worn.

The end of Oregon's statewide mask mandate on March 12 will also apply to child care and preschool. Currently, kids younger than kindergarten age are not required to wear masks in public, though the Oregon Health Authority recommends masks for all children age two and older.

Mesaros said any child care facility may choose to impose more strict quarantine or mask requirements.

-Rachel Alexander