Local News That Matters

Salem-Keizer School District wants your input on how it communicates

March 9, 2021 at 4:33pm

Oregon's employment rate barely budged in January

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)

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 6.2% in January, barely budging from December’s 6.3% rate, according to the state Employment Department. 

January’s decline is much less pronounced than drops seen last spring and summer when Covid pandemic restrictions were eased. According to the department, nonfarm payroll in Oregon increased by 8,300 jobs in January following a loss of 27,500 jobs in December. In November, Gov. Kate Brown enacted a new round of pandemic restrictions in response to rising Covid numbers. 

The unemployment rate for the Salem area was 5.9% in January, a decrease from December’s 6.3%. Although an improvement, Salem still has 9,100 fewer jobs than in February of 2020. 

Each month’s employment figures are released the following month, but because of a routine review of data by federal agencies January’s numbers come out in early March.

-Jake Thomas 

March 9, 2021 at 1:59pm

United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley gives largest ever grant to rebuild Detroit community center

The burned remains of The Cedars Restaurant in Detroit on Saturday, Sept. 27. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

As Detroit rebuilds, it’s getting a hefty check from United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley to fund a significant portion of a new Community Center to replace its City Hall which was lost in the Beachie Creek and Lionshead Wildfires in September.

United Way is handing a $250,000 check to the Detroit Lake Foundation Friday at 2 p.m. at the former site of Cedars Restaurant at 200 Detroit Ave. The event will be broadcast live on United Way’s Facebook page.

"Our commitment to being a strong community partner in the effort to restore the vitality of the Canyon communities, remains to be one of our top priorities. We are proud to give this support to the Detroit community, in the largest single grant award we’ve ever done." said Rhonda Wolf, CEO of United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, in a prepared statement.

The new community center will be built at the former site of Detroit High School where a gym is still standing. The Santiam Rebuild Coalition will help develop the new center with plans to include the existing structure at 345 Santiam Ave., according to a news release.

In a news release, United Way said it has given $150,000 to the Santiam Canyon Watershed Council, $25,000 to the Santiam School district and more than $100,000 to support basic needs for wildfire survivors.

Chris Tardiff, president of the Detroit Lake Foundation, said the foundation was grateful for United Way’s investment and for those who contributed to the Santiam Wildfire Recovery fund.

“This gift is part of a transformational effort to rebuild our beloved city that will be loved by generations to come,” Tardiff said in a prepared statement. 

-Saphara Harrell

March 9, 2021 at 12:55pm

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider adding funding for motel stays, board appointments

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

The Marion County Board of Commissioners will meet Wednesday to consider amending a room block agreement for a motel, appoint members to a public safety council and to formally close three parks damaged in the Beachie Creek Fire.


Commissioners will consider appointing Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack and Woodburn and Hubbard Fire Chief Joseph Budge to the Marion County Public Safety Coordinating Council until 2024.  

Commissioners will consider adding $684,000 to a contract for rooms at the Super 8 Motel in Woodburn to isolate Marion County residents who are exposed to Covid and have no other place to stay. The contract would extend an additional three months through June 30 for a $2.8 million contract total.

The board will also consider approving an order that would temporarily close North Fork Park, Salmon Falls Park, and Bear Creek Park and Campground, which were all heavily damaged in the Beachie Creek Fire and pose safety hazards. 

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. People can view the meeting on YouTube.

-Saphara Harrell

March 9, 2021 at 11:06am

Salem-Keizer School District wants your input on how it communicates

Leaders of the Salem-Keizer School District want to hear from you about how they communicate information to parents, students and the public.

The district this week launched a survey of its communication efforts as part of an audit conducted by the National School Public Relations Association.

One version of the survey is for families with children enrolled in the district. The other is for community members. Surveys are available in English and Spanish and take about 15 minutes to complete.

Following the surveys, district employees will hold focus groups as part of the audit. More information is available on the Salem-Keizer website.

-Rachel Alexander