Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Wild weather ahead for Salem, forecast says

February 10, 2021 at 1:40pm

Governor says school football can resume in Oregon, but Salem will need to offer testing

School football and other contact sports can resume in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday. But areas with higher Covid spread, including Salem, will need to take additional steps before holding practice and games.

Brown said in a statement the decision was in response to declining rates of Covid in Oregon.

“School sports play an important role in fostering students’ mental, emotional, and physical health. We will proceed with caution, to ensure that teams are following health and safety precautions to protect our athletes, their families, and their communities," Brown said in a statement.

School districts in counties currently at "high" or "extreme" risk of Covid spread would have to offer Covid tests for symptomatic people onsite and record contact information to trace any spread of Covid. Players would also have to sign a waiver and commit to isolating themselves if they test positive for the virus.

Both Marion and Polk counties remain in the extreme risk category, though new Covid cases have declined in recent weeks.

Schools that choose to resume football and other contact sports must also offer at least some in-person classes, Brown said.

“It is not lost on me that this decision today will allow high school football to resume, when too many high school classrooms across Oregon remain empty. To all the parents of student athletes and coaches who have called and emailed me in the last year asking for school sports to resume, I am challenging you now to devote your energy to making sure in-person academics can resume for your kids, too. If our school gyms, fields, and weight rooms are to reopen, we owe it to Oregon’s children to make sure our classrooms, libraries, and science labs fully reopen as well," Brown said in a statement.

Salem-Keizer School District spokeswoman Sylvia McDaniel said Wednesday district leaders are still discussing if and when they will seek to resume football practices and games for school teams.

-Rachel Alexander

February 10, 2021 at 10:40am

The new year brings more of the same to Oregon businesses, survey finds

Signs in windows and doorways throughout Salem are alerting residents to changing business hours and access limits as life adjusts to pandemic times. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

The beginning of 2021 was supposed to bring a fresh start from the disastrous 2020. But for Oregon businesses, at least, 2021 has meant more of the same.

Nearly a third of Oregon businesses told the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey that they continued to experience significant negative effects from the pandemic, with many reporting reduced capacity as well as a hard time getting supplies. The survey was conducted during the week of Jan. 4 and was mentioned on the Oregon Employment Department’s blog.

Another 43% of businesses reported that the pandemic was having a moderate effect on them. More than one in five said it had little impact and a small number reported positive effects. Nearly half of Oregon businesses that responded to the survey expect it will take another six months for businesses to get back to usual.

-Jake Thomas

February 10, 2021 at 10:29am

Over 80? Get a free Covid vaccine at Feb. 11 drive-thru clinic in Woodburn

Avi Singh draws up a dose of the Pfizer vaccine during a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Thursday, Jan. 28. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Marion County residents 80 and older can get a free Covid vaccine at a drive-thru clinic in Woodburn Thursday.

Woodburn Ambulance, the Interface Network and the Marion County Health Department are offering shots at Woodburn High School, 1785 Front St. on Feb. 11. Appointment times are available from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

No identification or insurance are required to receive a vaccine, and anyone eligible to get a shot is welcome regardless of immigration status.

For more information and to sign up for an appointment, visit the Marion County Health Department website.

-Rachel Alexander

February 10, 2021 at 6:41am

Mid-valley on the line for now between cold and really cold weather

The latest National Weather Service forecast for Salem on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Salem, it’s likely to be messy out there the next few days with rain, freezing rain and snow all possible, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm watch is in place from Thursday afternoon through Saturday.

Forecasters say Salem is likely to be on the line Thursday night, with snow forecast to the north and rain to the south.

In the city?

If cold air filters farther south, be ready for snow.

LINK: The latest forecast

The latest forecast for Salem calls for rain starting late Thursday night and then freezing rain after around 4 a.m. Friday. Snow is “likely” between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m, and then shifting back to rain with “little or no snow accumulation expected,” according to the forecast.

“Another juicy system pushes in Saturday,” the forecast said, with the possibility of “substantial freezing rain in the central valley and parts of the Coast Range.”

The Willamette Valley to the north of Salem could see 3 to 5 inches of snow on Saturday.

And the Cascades could get up to a foot of snow Thursday night and an additional 10 to 15 inches Friday night. The Columbia Gorge also is expected to get several inches of snow.

The city of Salem wasn’t waiting for more certainty in the forecast. The city announced that crews already had applied deicer in hilly terrain in south and west Salem and on bridges.