Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem to host Ironman triathlon in July

April 2, 2021 at 5:01pm

Willamette Heritage Center to reopen April 6

Willamette Heritage Center (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

If you've been missing local history over the past months, you're in luck. Willamette Heritage Center is reopening its indoors exhibits to the public April 6.

Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, visitors can browse the center's grounds, historic homes and the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill. Masks are required, and visitors should maintain distance from people not part of their household.

Because of the size of the museum campus and the ability to spread people out, the museum is not requiring people to book tickets in advance, executive director Michelle Cordova said.

The museum has been closed on and off over the past year, most recently shutting down indoor exhibits last November as Gov. Kate Brown imposed new pandemic restrictions to curb a rise in Covid cases. The outdoor grounds have been open to visitors, but indoor parts of the museum remained closed.

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for students and free for children 5 and under. More information is available on the WHC website.

The research library remains closed except by appointment in cases where services can't be provided remotely.

-Rachel Alexander

April 2, 2021 at 12:56pm

Family of frontline workers can get a Covid vaccine in Oregon

Tom McLeod, an EMT with Metro West Ambulance, readies a second dose of the Moderna vaccine at a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Centennial Park in Woodburn, Ore. on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Frontline workers in Oregon should bring their families with them when they get vaccinated against Covid, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday.

Those workers become eligible statewide for a shot on April 5, and are already eligible in a majority of Oregon counties, including Marion. Brown's announcement means their relatives 16 and older who live in the same household can also get a vaccine.

State health officials said they were expanding vaccination criteria to protect adults from getting and spreading Covid, because Oregon has seen a high number of cases of the virus tied to household transmission.

"We know it's not easy for everyone to find the time and the transportation to get to a vaccination appointment. If you're a frontline worker making the effort, bring your family members, and do it all together," Brown said in a news conference Friday.

Oregon health officials said they would also expand the state's list of underlying health conditions that qualify adults for a vaccine to align it with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC earlier this week added type 1 diabetes and substance use disorder to its list of qualifying conditions that put people at higher risk for Covid.

All Oregonians 16 and older are scheduled to become eligible for a vaccine May 1.

-Rachel Alexander

April 2, 2021 at 10:04am

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon Senate passes bill making it a crime to display a noose

The Oregon State Capitol canceled a Cherry Blossom Festival scheduled in March due to COVID-19. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter) 

On Thursday, the Oregon Senate passed a bill that will create consequences for people who display a symbol long associated with racist intimidation. 

THE ISSUE: Displaying a noose has long been used to harass or intimidate people of color, particularly Black people. 

THE BILL: Senate Bill 398 

WHAT IT DOES: Makes it a crime to display a noose in a public or private place, causing someone to be reasonably intimidated or fear bodily harm. The act would be classified as a crime of intimidation, a hate crime under Oregon law. Those convicted under the bill could face penalties of up to a year imprisonment, a $6,250 fine or both. 

WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: There have been reported acts of racially motivated intimidation and harassment (including displaying nooses) in Oregon and elsewhere. Louisiana, Virginia, California, New York, Maryland and Connecticut have already made it a crime to display a noose.  


Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas: Excused

Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes

Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons: Yes

Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem: Yes

Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer: Yes

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: The bill moves to the Oregon House for consideration.

-Jake Thomas

April 2, 2021 at 9:48am

Salem to host Ironman triathlon in July

People gathered on the gravel bar below Wallace Marine Park to cool off in the Willamette River on Thursday, July 30. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Expect to see swimmers in the Willamette River, runners near downtown and cyclists riding through wine country in July as Salem hosts it's first Ironman triathlon.

It will be the first such event hosted in Oregon and will offer qualifying slots to the 2021 Ironman World Championship in St George, Utah.

The triathlon takes place on Sunday, July 25 with course announcements soon to come. Registration for the event opens on April 12.  

Dave Christen, regional director for The IRONMAN Group, said Salem offers the perfect destination for the first Ironman in Oregon.

“We've had hopes of bringing an Ironman branded event to this region for a while now. Offering the race in July during the prime season for racing in the Pacific Northwest, creates an incredible opportunity for people to #exploregon. We are thrilled to call Salem home for this new event for years to come,” he said in a statement.

Angie Onyewuchi, Travel Salem CEO, said in a statement, “Hosting one of the world’s most prestigious and respected sporting events helps solidify Salem as the Sports Capital of Oregon. We look forward to breathing life back into the tourism economy post COVID with the infusion of more than $11 million in estimated economic impact while showcasing our region’s natural beauty and premier recreational assets to the visiting athletes and their families.”

-Saphara Harrell