Local News That Matters

AGENDA: Salem City Council to consider adopting planning vision, strategic plan

7 months ago

Chemeketa, state motor pool win PGE funding for solar projects in Salem

Solar panels sit on a roof in Salem(Courtesy/City of Salem)

Two new Salem solar installations are among nine projects that will be funded through Portland General Electric's renewable development fund, the utility announced Monday.

Chemeketa Community College received a $116,972 grant from PGE for a 81 kilowatt solar installation on its agricultural complex, according to a news release from PGE. The new building is nearing completion on the Salem campus and will house the college's horticulture and agribusiness classes.

According to Chemeketa's application, the solar installation is expected to be online this summer, PGE spokeswoman Elizabeth Lattanner said.

The state of Oregon's Department of Administrative Services is receiving a $416,610 grant for a 250 kilowatt solar installation at the state motor pool, 1100 Airport Rd S.E., which makes vehicles available to state and local government employees for work purposes. That project will allow the state to power electric vehicle charging stations set to be installed over the next year for state-owned vehicles.

PGE grants money to eligible renewable energy projects using money from utility customers who choose to pay an extra amount on their monthly bill.

-Rachel Alexander

7 months ago

Community groups launch fund for Oregon's small, immigrant-owned businesses

A closed sign in downtown Salem on Thursday, March 19. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Oregon small businesses that have been cut out of federal pandemic relief programs can apply for a grant from a new $10 million fund. 

The Oregon Small Enterprise Fund began accepting applications on Monday, March 8. The new pot of money is being managed by the Oregon Worker Relief Fund, which was formed by over 100 community organizations earlier in the pandemic to help immigrant workers ineligible for safety net programs. 

The money is intended to go to “micro-enterprises,” small and very small businesses. To be eligible, a business must be for-profit, operating in Oregon, not have received Paycheck Protection Program funds, seen a decline in revenue because of the pandemic and still be open. 

Businesses must also be at least partially owned by someone who files their taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is often used by immigrants who don't have a Social Security number.  

Those interested in applying should call the fund at 1(888) 274-7292 to be assigned a navigator who will help them through the process. 

-Jake Thomas 

7 months ago

Free wood chips at Bush's Pasture Park; Geer Park debris drop off until March 14

Salem area residents using trucks, car trunks, and trailers, hauled debris from a weekend ice storm to collection sites around the city Wednesday, Feb. 17 (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Free wood chips are available at the Bush’s Pasture Park Mission Street parking lot.

People need to bring their own trailers, containers and shovels to pick up wood chips.

Chips are not for commercial resale and the city advises people to secure, cover or tarp loads to prevent chips from blowing away and scattering through the community.

This site is not for disposal of wood debris.

Beginning Monday, Geer Park will remain open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. for debris drop off following the February ice storm. The site will remain open until March 14.

-Saphara Harrell

7 months ago

AGENDA: Salem City Council to consider adopting planning vision, strategic plan

A screengrab of the Salem City Council at its first meeting of the year 2021.

The Salem City Council meets Monday to consider a city planning vision, funding security and cleaning at downtown parkades and adopt a strategic plan.


Councilors will decide whether to adopt the “Our Salem” vision, a planning document that will guide an update to the city’s comprehensive plan.

If council accepts the vision, city staff will develop more detailed policies, update the zoning map and make revisions to zoning code this year.

The council will also consider adopting a strategic plan designed to help the city identify major priorities and determine actions to achieve those goals until 2026. During a Nov. 16 work session, the council identified five priority areas for action including addressing homelessness, creating community resilience in the aftermath of Covid, increasing equitable delivery of service, building great neighborhoods and taking on climate change.

In January, the council also added addressing anti-racism in value statements; priority for bicycle, pedestrian and sidewalk projects; and supporting small businesses in Covid recovery.

The council will also consider transferring $200,000 out of the general fund to pay for security and cleanups at city parkades until June.

The money would pay for 24/7 security at the Marion, Chemeketa, Pringle and Liberty Parkades because of increased vandalism and garbage, according to a city staff report.

The council will also consider a proclamation to declare March as Women’s History Month. 

To participate: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday and is streamed live on YouTube. Submit comments on agenda items by 5:00 p.m. the day of the meeting at [email protected]. Public comment and testimony may also be provided during the meeting via Zoom. Please pre-register between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting at the following link: https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/Public-Comment-at-Salem-City-CouncilMeeting.aspx

-Saphara Harrell

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