Wild Pear in downtown Salem urges diners to get takeout during the COVID-19 pandemic (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

There’s a lot going on in business in Salem. To help keep you up to speed, the Salem Reporter is providing a semi-regular roundup of business-related items including new business openings, locations, grant opportunities and others. 

To suggest an item, reach out to reporter Jake Thomas by email at [email protected]

FREE CLASSES. If you’re one of the tens of thousands of Oregonians stuck at home without a job, now could be the time to learn in-demand skills — for free.

Willamette Workforce Partnership, the region’s workforce-development nonprofit, has partnered with Coursera, an online learning platform, to offer about 4,000 courses for free through Dec. 31.

Ami Maceira, program director at Willamette Workforce Partnership, said that her group wanted to offer something to people furloughed, laid-off or otherwise in career limbo because of the pandemic. Coursera charges fees for some of its courses. Through the arrangement many will now be offered for no charge to job-seekers as well as people employed but wanting to learn new skills.

She said that the courses could be useful for someone wanting to explore a new career without enrolling in a formal program and many of Coursera’s offerings are for in-demand jobs. They include courses on supply management, communication, as well as self-care or personal enrichment, such as guitar lessons. Also offered are classes on specific skills, such as Autodesk, a program widely used in manufacturing and design, Maceira said.

For more information or to sign up, visit www.willwp.org.


RESTAURANTS REOPEN. Mill Creek Station & Catering, located at 200 Hawthorne Ave S.E., will reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, at 7 a.m. after closing for a deep clean, according to a post on its Facebook page. The post didn’t state when it closed but mentioned it’ll be offering new additions to its menu that specializes in salads and sandwiches.

Wild Pear, located at 372 State St., announced on last Fridaythat it was reopening following a Covid scare. Earlier that week, the restaurant posted to Instagram that an employee tested positive for Covid and it was closing to allow the rest of the staff to be tested and for a sanitization.

Although Wild Pear posted that it would reopen on Saturday, the closure meant that it would be postponing its 20th Anniversary Tiki celebration that was scheduled for that day.

“Thank you all for your outpouring of support for our decision to air on the side of safety for our crew and customers,” the restaurant said on Instagram.


SAFETY GRANTS. Businesses or others with ideas on how to operate safely during the pandemic can apply for a grant offered by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The grants are intended to support innovative safety and health training or education projects aimed at preventing the spread of disease at workplaces.

Employers, labor groups and nonprofits can apply, as well as educational institutions that partner with them.

For more information, visit the grant program’s website or contact Teri Watson, 503-947-7406 or [email protected] Applications are due: Friday, Oct. 9.


UNEMPLOYMENT EN ESPAÑOL. The Oregon Employment Department has launched a new online Spanish-language application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was created earlier this year to extend benefits to self-employed, independent contractors, some agricultural workers and others affected by the pandemic who might not be eligible for traditional unemployment insurance. The department worked with Google to develop the new form, which is intended to make it easier for Spanish speakers to apply for the program and make weekly claims.

To use the new form, claimants should visit https://pua.emp.state.or.us/ and select “Español” from the top-right drop-down menu.

 The department will also be hosting a webinar in Spanish on the program that’ll be held Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. Those interested can register at https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_ORiyX-NdS5G3pLL6M2cWeQ.


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Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.