Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Summer program grants, PPE for Salem businesses

April 14, 2021 at 12:35pm

Polk County issues burn ban

Smoke from wildfires in September 2020 creates an orange atmosphere in Salem. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Polk County has issued burn ban from Wednesday to Sunday, April 18 because of higher temperatures, low humidity and moderate wind in the forecast.

The ban applies to all outdoor burning, including backyard fire pits, yard debris burns and agricultural burning.

Marion County and Salem have issued similar bans because of forecasted weather.

-Saphara Harrell

April 14, 2021 at 9:47am

Oregon added more than 20,000 jobs in March

Signs in the window of Brown's Towne Restaurant and Lounge. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Oregon’s unemployment rate decreased slightly from 6.1% in February to 6% in March.

According to the Oregon Employment Department, which released the numbers Tuesday, the state’s unemployment rate inched downward by a tenth of a percentage point each month for the last three months. 

Oregon’s unemployment rate followed the U.S. employment rate, which dropped to 6% in March from February's 6.2%.

In March, Oregon added 20,100 nonfarm jobs, according to the department. Two-thirds of those jobs were in leisure and hospitality, which has been particularly affected by pandemic restrictions. The employment increase in March was Oregon’s largest monthly increase since 38,300 jobs were added in July.

-Jake Thomas 

April 14, 2021 at 9:22am

Salem to distribute free PPE to businesses, nonprofits next week

PPE during a free drive-through testing clinic at Woodburn Ambulance Service on Tuesday, August 25. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The city of Salem is distributing another round of protective gear to Salem businesses and nonprofits with up to 500 employees. The city said it anticipates it will be the last order of the year.

Items available include surgical masks, sanitizer, touchless thermometers and vinyl gloves in various sizes.

Applications are now open

The pickup window is April 22 to May 6 at the Salem Chamber of Commerce. 

-Saphara Harrell

April 14, 2021 at 9:15am

Summer program grants available to help Oregon kids catch up

Jaxson Bidema tosses a ball to Kylie O'Dell while attending the Kroc Center's daycare for the children of essential workers on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Summer camps and outdoor programs for kids in Salem will get a big boost from the state this year as more than $40 million in grants becomes available to nonprofit and community organizations serving kids.

The Oregon Community Foundation announced Monday it would be responsible for awarding grants for two buckets of state funding: $40 million aimed at summer "enrichment" programs for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade, and $1.2 million for early childhood programs that bring parents and kids together for 12 weeks.

Applications aren't open yet, but interested organizations can sign up on the foundation website. Programs could include activities focused on science, art, sports, museum education or mentoring, according to a news release. Priority will be given to programs that serve young people from communities of color, low-income families, and those living in under-resourced rural communities.

The money is part of a $250 million summer program package proposed by Gov. Kate Brown and state legislative leaders to help kids who fell behind in school over the past year catch up. Most of the money will be directed to local school districts to expand summer school and credit recovery programs. The Oregon Senate passed the bill last week.

-Rachel Alexander