Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem teachers file labor grievance over work hours

February 24, 2021 at 5:46pm

Oregon's economy is rebounding faster than expected, according to forecast

The Oregon State Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Oregon is poised to return to full employment by early 2023, according to the state’s quarterly economic forecast released on Wednesday. 

The state’s economic recovery from the pandemic is now on track to occur six to nine months earlier than previous forecasts had predicted. 

“The economy is emerging from a dark winter,” reads the forecast. “The resurgent virus of a few months ago is in full retreat.”

According to the forecast, total personal income is higher today than before the pandemic, despite Oregon losing 16,000 jobs. While the state faces challenges with its labor market, more than half the lost jobs will return by the end of the year and the rest the following year. 

The forecast credited federal aid for helping to bolster the state’s finances. Now, the state could be on pace to exceed revenue expectations by $170 million, triggering the “kicker” provision and resulting in a $571 million credit for taxpayers. 

-Jake Thomas

February 24, 2021 at 4:30pm

South Salem senior named Oregon student journalist of the year

Eddy Binford-Ross, a junior at South Salem High School, photographs the March for Floyd on Saturday, June 6. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A South Salem High School student journalist who's received national attention for her coverage of protests in Salem and Portland over the past year was named Oregon's Student Journalist of the Year.

Eddy Binford-Ross, a senior and editor of student newspaper The Clypian, was given the honor based on a portfolio of her published work, an essay, transcript and letters of recommendation, according to a news release from the Oregon Journalism Education Association. The winner is selected by current and former high school publication advisors and board members for the association.

The award comes with the Alyce Sheetz Scholarship of $1,000 and puts Binford-Ross in the running for a national high school journalism award to be announced later this spring.

“Eddy has done an amazing job in her four years on the news staff. She is an amazing leader and journalist and will continue to do amazing things,” Brian Eriksen, adviser at South Salem High School said in a statement.

-Rachel Alexander

February 24, 2021 at 3:13pm

More than 1,000 PGE customers in the Salem area still without power

The scene in the MacLeay Road area of south Salem on Saturday, Feb. 13. (Emil Marjan photo)

About 1,900 households in Marion County remain without power Wednesday afternoon, down from 3,600 Tuesday, according to Portland General Electric.

The utility’s most recent restoration map shows parts of east Salem and south Salem could have power restored within a day while the southernmost portions of the city could be waiting for power up to four days.


In parts of east and south Salem there are nearly 600 customers without power who should see it restored within a day, according to the PGE map.

In parts of south Salem and Turner there are more than 1,200 customers without power who could be waiting up to four days to see it restored, the map shows.

PGE said there are 46 crews in the Salem region working to repair storm damage and get customers lights back on. 

Pacific Power, which serves outlying areas of Marion County, said all of its customers had service restored as of Sunday, Feb. 21. The power company made crews available to PGE.

-Saphara Harrell

February 24, 2021 at 12:12pm

Salem teachers file labor grievance over pay for extra work hours

The union representing about 2,300 Salem-Keizer teachers and educators wants a state board to step in on a labor dispute over how teacher are being paid for additional work this year.

The Salem-Keizer Education Association filed an unfair labor practice complaint Feb. 19 with Oregon's Employment Relations Board, saying the Salem-Keizer School District has changed the way it calculates extra pay for teachers and other educators who teach extra classes or work at multiple schools, resulting in some members being paid less.

"The district has violated it duty to bargain in good faith by changing the methodology for calculating (full-time equivalency) for educators... from one based on workload completed during time worked, to one based exclusively on time worked. As a result, certain educators are receiving less pay for the same assignment and workload that they had previously," the complaint reads.

The board is charged under state law with resolving disputes between public employee unions and their employers once internal grievance procedures have been exhausted. The district denied a grievance the union filed in December, saying there had been no change in its method for calculating pay, according to emails submitted with the complaint.

The union is seeking a state order compelling the district to return to its previous method of calculating pay and compensating any affected employees for pay lost, the complaint says.

"The district was provided a copy of the complaint last Friday afternoon from SKEA and has not yet had an opportunity to thoroughly review the complaint. We are aware of the issue and have been in communication with SKEA over the last several months about it," district spokeswoman Sylvia McDaniel said in an email. "Once the district is formally served the complaint by the Employment Relations Board the district has 14 days to file an answer, so we are several weeks away from filing our response. We don’t have any additional information to share at this time."

-Rachel Alexander