Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Extended unemployment benefits will be cut, but the state will extend another lifeline to those out of work

February 2, 2021 at 2:47pm

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider safety corridor for crash-prone stretch of road outside Newberg

Marion County Courthouse.(Caleb Wolf/Special to Salem Reporter)

The Marion County Board of Commissioners will on Wednesday consider creating a safety corridor on a stretch of road near Newberg that has seen a series of deaths in recent years.  


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

The corridor would be on McKay, Yergen and Ehlen roads.  

Those roads were chosen because of history of crashes from the stretch of Newberg to Interstate 5, meeting documents state.

At last year’s State of the County address, former commissioner Sam Brentano said the county wanted to reduce the speed to 45 mph on that stretch of road so the area’s residents would opt to take Highway 99 instead. 

The designation would create signage along those roads and allow traffic fines to be doubled, according to meeting documents. 

-Saphara Harrell

February 2, 2021 at 12:29pm

Salem father, daughter found dead from what detectives say is monoxide poisoning

Marion County Sheriff's Office. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

A Salem father, his daughter and two pets were found dead at home on Feb. 1 from what Marion County Sheriff’s Office detectives believe was monoxide poisoning.

A 911 caller reported finding Richard Yaple, 50, and Hannah Yaple, 17, of Keizer, not breathing inside the fifth wheel trailer in the 5700 block of State Street on Monday morning after not hearing from them since Saturday, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.  

“Due to the suspicious nature of the deaths, detectives from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Unit were called to the scene. Detectives believe the two deaths were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a propane heater being used inside the trailer,” the release said.  

Sheriff’s deputies and Marion County Fire District No. 1 firefighters pronounced them dead at the scene. A dog and cat were also found dead inside, according to the release. 

The sheriff’s office advises people to carefully read manufacturer’s instructions before using an indoor space heater and to install carbon monoxide detectors inside homes.  

 Each year about 430 people die accidentally from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

-Saphara Harrell

February 2, 2021 at 11:41am

After pushback, Oregon resumes disclosing information about Covid deaths

Oregon Health Authority director Pat Allen and lead epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger talk with Gov. Kate Brown's office via phone call on Monday, April 20. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday resumed publishing information about individual deaths with Covid, less than a week after saying the practice had become too time-consuming to continue.

Tuesday's update on Covid in Oregon listed details for the 54 Oregonians whose deaths were confirmed between Jan. 27 and Feb. 1. They include nine Marion County residents and one Polk County resident.

"Oregon’s 1,930th COVID-19 death is a 76-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive on Dec. 21 and died on Jan. 26 at Salem Hospital. She had underlying conditions," one of the reports reads.

OHA said Jan. 27 it would stop listing biographical information about individual deaths in its daily reports and would instead publish statistics about the age ranges of deaths on a data dashboard. The change drew criticism from legislators in both parties, the Oregonian reported, prompting the agency to reverse course late last week.

-Rachel Alexander

February 2, 2021 at 9:40am

Oregonians impacted by 2020 wildfires can apply for free well testing

A sprinkler waters a field amidst wildfire smoke in Aumsville on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Nearly 2,000 families impacted by last year’s wildfires can get free well testing for contaminants.

In October, the Legislature allocated money for water testing for those who rely on wells for drinking water. If demand exceeds supply, people with low income and communities of color will be prioritized, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Well users can find steps needed to access the funds at healthoregon.org/wells.

OHA is providing testing vouchers to well owners through May 15. 

The tests will look for presence of bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, lead and chemicals that are hazardous byproducts of fire.

-Saphara Harrell

February 2, 2021 at 9:14am

Extended unemployment benefits will be cut, but the state will extend another lifeline to those out of work

Oregon Employment Department. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Out-of-work Oregonians will receive fewer weeks of additional benefits because of a dip in the state’s unemployment rate. 

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor notified the Oregon Employment Department that after Feb. 20 an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits would no longer be available. 

David Gerstenfeld, the acting director of the Oregon Employment Department, said in a statement that another safety net is available to those receiving extended unemployment benefits. They will be able to move to the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program for another 11 weeks. 

Oregonians receiving benefits automatically be moved to the program, which was created by the federal government last year to address specific unemployment challenges created by the pandemic. The employment department has a list of frequently asked questions about the switch on its website.

Extended unemployment benefits are offered in states that have a three-month average unemployment rate that is below 8% but at or above 6.5%.

-Jake Thomas