Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem City Council agenda, school board candidates

March 22, 2021 at 4:12pm

Weigh in on climate action strategies through city survey

A man rode by the cherry blossoms on his bike on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Salem is asking residents to weigh in on which strategies to include in a climate action plan.



The city has a survey available through March 28 that asks questions about planned objectives like increasing energy efficiency, decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and expanding public infrastructure.

The survey is intended to help the city determine which ideas are most important to include in the climate action plan through “yes,” “unsure” or “no” questions about bus routes, bike networks or requiring certain standards for new development. 

The Climate Action Plan Task Force gathered 211 different ideas. Survey takers don't need to review all the ideas at once.

Starting on the second page, there is an option at the top of the screen to save and continue later using a special link that's emailed.

-Saphara Harrell

March 22, 2021 at 10:44am

Meet your Salem-Keizer School Board candidates for May 2021

The Salem-Keizer School Board will have at least three new faces this summer following a May 18 election.

Eleven candidates have filed to run for four open seats on the board, and only one current board member is seeking re-election. Friday was the deadline for candidates to file.

Though candidates must live in the zone they want to represent, voters in the district have a say in all four races. There's no primary election, and the candidate who gets the most votes on May 18 wins the seat.

School board seats are nonpartisan, but local races have become increasingly expensive and polarized in recent years. The newly elected board will oversee the full-time return of students to classrooms and weigh in on the future of school security and mental health support following Superintendent Christy Perry's decision to end the district's school resource officer program.

Below is a list of candidates with a summary of the biographical information on each candidate's filing statement.

Zone 1 (West Salem)

Osvaldo Avila - Grant administrator at Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and a former bilingual academic advisor at Western Oregon University

Richard Riggs - Regional director for Oregon State University extension service, former Chemeketa Community College Board of Education member

Ross Swartzendruber - Sheep farmer, former owner of Black Sheep Advertising

Kari Zohner - Realtor, substitute teacher and former coach in Salem-Keizer School District

Zone 3 (South Salem)

Ashley Carson-Cottingham - Deputy director, Oregon Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, former candidate for Marion County Commissioner in 2020

Linda Farrington - Retired nurse, former member of the Salem-Keizer School District budget committee

Zone 5 (Southeast Salem)

Jesse Lippold Peone - Current school board member, real estate broker

Karina Guzman Ortiz - Partner engagement specialist at Oregon Department of Education, Early Learning Division and former Salem-Keizer School District substitute teacher

Michael Slagle - Aerospace inspector and manager at Westpro Lab, Salem football and basketball official

Zone 7 (North Salem)

Maria Hinojos Pressey - Operations director, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN)

Liam Collins - Vehicle acquisition manager, Enterprise Holdings

As campaigns kick off, we'd like to hear from you about how you'd like Salem Reporter to cover these races. What issues do you want to see candidates address? How important is it for you to know who a candidate's major donors are? Email Rachel Alexander at [email protected] with your suggestions or questions.

-Rachel Alexander

March 22, 2021 at 9:37am

AGENDA: Salem City Council to consider board appointments, tree report

Salem city council chambers on Wednesday, September 30. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Salem City Council is meeting Monday evening to consider appointing members of several advisory boards and commissions, approving a lease waiver for Capital Community Media, learn about grant monies for Center 50+ and hear the annual city tree report.


CC:Media has requested a lease waiver until July 23, 2022 because of extensive costs for a new radio station compounded by no fundraising because of Covid, according to a city staff report.

The council will consider seven appointments to the Citizens Advisory Traffic Commission, Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Salem Planning Commission, Salem Public Art Commission and Salem Public Library Advisory Board.

Friends of Center 50+ has received donations from Mt. West Investments, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley and various private donors totaling $185,000 to hire a limited duration full-time program coordinator, and two part-time administrative assistants for the city-run senior center.

The council will also hear a report that summarizes work done by the Public Works Department to inventory, assess, increase, and enhance Salem’s trees. 

To participate: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday and is streamed live on YouTube. Submit comments on agenda items by 5 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