Local News That Matters

UPDATES: We're not out of this yet, Salem

February 12, 2021 at 5:32pm

Despite icy forecast, Salem Health's Saturday vaccine appointments will go on as scheduled

Salem Health began a Covid vaccine clinic at the state fairgrounds on Jan. 7 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

People scheduled to receive a Covid vaccine Saturday through Salem Health can still get a shot despite a forecast of icy weather and hazardous roads.

As of Friday evening, the hospital planned to stay open for scheduled appointments at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem and the Salem Health clinic in Woodburn. An ice storm warning is in effect through midday Saturday, with the National Weather Service warning widespread power outages and icy roads are likely.

In Salem, 320 people are scheduled to receive a second dose of Covid vaccine on Feb. 13, Salem Health spokeswoman Lisa Wood said. Another 167 people are scheduled for a first shot at the Woodburn clinic.

Salem Health said people scheduled should check the hospital's Facebook page for updates.

"We are encouraging those with scheduled appointments to check the weather conditions prior to traveling to their appointment and make a safe choice if they should keep the scheduled appointment during this time. We will reassess schedules for the following week with changing weather conditions," Wood said in an email.

"Those unable to make their scheduled appointment can check MyChart to schedule the next available appointment. If appointments are missed, the doses will be added to the following week’s appointment schedule accordingly," Wood said.

-Rachel Alexander

February 12, 2021 at 4:43pm

Federal top cop for Oregon steps down


U.S. Attorney Billy Williams addresses the media regarding cyber and disinformation threats to the security of Oregon’s electoral process during a press conference at the Oregon Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 4. (Sam Stites/Oregon Capitol Bureau)

The chief federal law enforcement official for Oregon is stepping down.

U.S. Attorney Billy Williams announced on Friday that he would resign from his position Feb. 28, ending his 20-year career with the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Williams was nominated to the post in 2017 by former President Donald Trump. Earlier this week, the Biden administration asked most U.S. attorneys appointed by the Trump administration to resign. 

During his time in the position, Williams oversaw the prosecution of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. More recently, he was involved in the federal response to riots in Portland and preparing for possible unrest surrounding the 2020 election. 

Biden has yet to nominate a successor. In the meantime, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug will serve as Acting U.S. Attorney. 

-Jake Thomas 

February 12, 2021 at 3:59pm

Volunteers needed for warming shelters Friday as temperatures stay freezing

Capital Park Wesleyan Church is hosting a warming shelter tonight. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Volunteers are needed Friday night as two churches open as warming shelters for unsheltered people outside in temperatures that are expected to stay below freezing.

First Presbyterian Church and Capitol Park Wesleyan Church are opening for warming.

Volunteers can sign up here.

The ARCHES Project is opening its day center this weekend in light of the cold weather.

The day center will open from 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday with food donated from Rolling Bagel, Dude City Donuts, Amadeus Restaurant, Figaro’s Pizza, Taproot Café. 

-Saphara Harrell

February 12, 2021 at 11:35am

Weather forecast takes an icy turn

The latest forecast Friday morning from the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service Friday morning warned of an ice storm for the Salem area with the heaviest ice accumulating starting Friday evening.

"Expect power outages and tree damage due to the ice. Travel could be impossible," said the warning.

The weather service said ice accumulations of a quarter to three-quarters of an inch can be expected.

The warning extends into Saturday morning, when temperatures in the Salem area are expected to climb above freezing.

Freezing rain occurs when the air temperature is too warm for snow but the rain falls through a low, shallow layer of cold air and hits frozen ground.

PGE was already reporting that thousands of customers in areas south and east of Salem are without power. Salem Electric, which serves much of the core of Salem, wasn't reporting any outages on its website.

To report an outage:

PGE: 503-399-7717

Salem Electric: 503-362-3601

To find road conditions: Oregon TripCheck

February 12, 2021 at 6:10am

Salem should brace for new storm Friday night, forecasters say

The latest forecast Friday from the National Weather Service.

Freezing rain could continue to bedevil Salem over the next couple of days, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning remained in place for the Salem area until noon Friday for possible freezing rain around Salem and to the north. Accumulating ice of up to a quarter inch could occur in higher ground, the weather service said.

Link: Weather forecast

The Salem-Keizer School District said all school facilities would be closed on Friday, including grab-and-go meal sites. Distance learning will continue.

All state offices in Salem will be closed on Friday but employees already working remotely will be on duty, the state Department of Administrative Services said.

The weather service said more freezing rain had fallen in the Salem area overnight than expected and that that spotters reported .10 to .20 of an inch of ice at places about 250 feet.

The forecast includes a chance of freezing rain overnight Friday into Saturday, and again Saturday night into Sunday as a more potent storm swings through Oregon. Depending on how the storm tracks, Salem could get a couple of inches of snow.

“These types of systems are very challenging and ever changing,” forecasters wrote. “No matter the outcome, expecting widespread wintery precipitation which could create quite challenging travel conditions.”

Link: Oregon TripCheck