Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Leader of Salem's 911 honored for lifetime achievement, teen injured in shooting

9 months ago

Salem under winter weather advisory as snow accumulates

Kids play in the snow at Aldrich Park in Salem on Feb. 5, 2019 (Caleb Wolf/Special to Salem Reporter)

Salem is seeing its first snow of the season, with up to two inches expected to accumulate by early Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Tuesday warning of wet snow in the mid-Willamette Valley from 1 p.m. Tuesday through 4 a.m. Wednesday.

More snow is expected to accumulate in areas west of I-5 toward the Coastal Range at 500 feet and above, the advisory said.

"Sticking snow is possible along roadways, and exposed bridges and overpasses," the advisory said.

Because of winter road conditions, Oregon Highway 22 is closed west of Dallas, seven miles east of the intersection with Highway 18, the Oregon Department of Transportation reported on its website.

-Rachel Alexander

9 months ago

Salem residents can go to the gym and resume other indoor activities beginning Friday

Michele Vanderyacht, adjusts a sign on a blocked-off stationary bicycle at Epic Fitness on Thursday, July 30. Some equipment at the gym was closed to promote social distancing prior to the statewide shutdown of gyms in November. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Beginning Friday, Jan. 29, residents of Marion and Polk counties will be able to go to the gym or participate in other indoor activities.

Gov. Kate Brown announced on Tuesday that she was modifying pandemic restrictions for counties in the “extreme risk” category, which includes Marion and Polk counties. Gyms have been closed since mid-November in the Salem area and much of Oregon under Brown's order, which was intended to limit Covid spread.

Beginning Friday a maximum of six people will be allowed in indoor facilities over 500 square feet for all activities except dining. Cleaning, social distancing, masking and other requirements will still be in effect. For facilities under 500 square feet, one-on-one activities will be allowed, such as personal training.

More details will be released Friday. In the meantime, Brown said in a news release that Oregonians have avoided a hospital surge by complying with pandemic restrictions.

“This means we are able to make these adjustments for Extreme Risk counties, which should assist both businesses and Oregonians as we continue to work to stop the spread of Covid-19,” she said in a statement.

Brown also said science shows that outdoor activities are less likely to spread Covid than indoor activities.

-Jake Thomas

9 months ago

Teen in critical condition after shooting in northeast Salem

An 18-year-old man was seriously injured in a shooting at an apartment complex in northeast Salem Monday night.

Residents called 911 at 7:27 p.m. Monday to report shots being fired on Cheryl Lynn Way Northeast, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. The street is part of an apartment complex located off the 4800 block of Silverton Road Northeast.

Deputies arrived and found a white SUV crashed into the side of an apartment building and an 18-year-old man with a gunshot wound inside a nearby apartment, the release said.

Deputies believe the man was in the vehicle when he was shot and sought help in a nearby apartment, Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Jeremy Landers said. The victim was taken to a local hospital and is in critical condition, the release said.

The shooting comes after police responded to a three car gunfight in northeast Salem Sunday night. Landers said the Sheriff's Office is "actively talking to Salem Police" to determine whether there's a connection between the shootings, but hasn't yet established one.

No one has been arrested and police did not identify a suspect in the Monday shooting.

The apartment building sustained minor damage from the vehicle crash, police said.

Detectives are asking anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or who has possible surveillance footage in the area to contact Det. Jessica Van Horn at 503-991-2145 or submit a tip online at https://www.co.marion.or.us/SO/Pages/tip411.aspx.

-Rachel Alexander

9 months ago

Salem area unemployment rate increased in December

Larry Alexander, of Salem, places an order with server Jessica Strong at Wild Pear Restaurant on Wednesday, September 30. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The unemployment rate in the Salem area rose last month following the rest of the state, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Oregon Employment Department.

In December, the unemployment rate for the Salem area was 6.3%, an increase from November’s rate of 5.9%. Statewide, the unemployment rate for December was 6.4%, up from November’s 6%.

In April, Salem and the rest of the state saw historic job losses as the pandemic took hold. Since then, the unemployment rate has steadily ticked downward until rising in December. As Covid transmissions spiked, Gov. Kate Brown issued new restrictions in November that limited restaurants to takeout and closed gyms.

According to the Employment Department, the losses in the Salem area in December were larger than normally expected. The area lost 2,600 jobs when typically a loss of 1,400 would be expected.

Like the rest of the state, the leisure and hospitality industry in the Salem area saw the biggest job losses during this period, shedding 1,300 positions.

Jobs classified as trade, transportation and utilities saw the biggest gains in the Salem area, adding 200 positions.

-Jake Thomas

9 months ago

AGENDA: Marion County Commissioners to consider agreement, reimbursement from two state agencies

Surrounded by hand sanitizer, Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, speaks during a north county special meeting concerning COVID-19 response on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Marion County Board of Commissioners will consider two contracts at its regular meeting Wednesday.


The meeting starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday and can be viewed on YouTube.

Commissioners will consider approving an Emergency Management Performance Grant for $158,586 from the state Military Department.

The grant is awarded annually to reimburse half of the county’s Emergency Management program costs.

Commissioners will also consider an agreement with the state Department of Transportation for wildfire cleanup in the Santiam Canyon.

The agreement will allow ODOT to remove debris and hazard trees from the Beachie Creek Fire until Jan. 27, 2023. 

-Saphara Harrell

9 months ago

Free support group for wildfire survivors launches Tuesday

Charred chairs are about all that is standing after a building in Santiam Canyon was destroyed by wildfire in September 2020. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Survivors of the Santiam Canyon’s wildfires can share their accounts and get help through a new support group starting up Tuesday afternoon.

The Wildfire Support Group, meeting online, will be open to anyone affected by the fires.

“The group will give opportunities to have participants sharing their story, supporting each other, and then focusing on finding positive and healthy ways to recover,” according to Kristie Nelson of the Marion County Health and Human Services Department. “It was started recently in light of the on-going need as the community recovers from the fire.”

The county agency and Santiam Service Integration are sponsoring the free sessions, scheduled to last an hour.

The sessions start at 4 p.m. starting Tuesday, Jan. 26, and then again on Feb. 2, Feb. 9 and Feb. 16.

To participate, use Zoom online with the Meeting ID 967-5926-2095, passcode 898053.


9 months ago

'Down to earth' Salem agency leader honored

A dispatcher handles emergency calls at the Willamette Valley Communications Center, the area's 911 system. (City of Salem photo)

The local government executive responsible for running the region’s 911 system has earned a lifetime achievement award, praised by peers for his devotion to emergency communications.

The Oregon chapter of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials gave the award to Mark Buchholz, who has been director of the Willamette Valley Communications Center – the local 911 system – since 1998.

Nominators wrote that Buchholz orchestrated the center’s change in 2002 from a “homegrown” dispatch system and paper maps to a more computerized method of handling emergency calls.

“Mark was at the forefront of technological innovation then and it continues today,” the nominators wrote.

The communications center services 29 police, fire and medical services, handling about 1,000 calls per day with a staff of 86.

Buchholz was described as a “down to earth” executive who can be a storyteller at dinner gatherings. On duty, nominators wrote, he pushes to improve public services.

“He’s not afraid to challenge those around him to do their best, and he frequently raises issues from a perspective that no one else has thought of,” the nominators wrote.

Mark Spross, director of the Woodburn-based METCOM communications center, wrote, “I consider Mark to be in a very special group of leaders who provide guidance, mentorship and friendship without you realizing how much they are helping you and our industry.”

Mark Buchholz, director of the Willamette Valley Communications Center. (City of Salem photo)