Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Oregon pauses J&J vaccine

April 13, 2021 at 4:34pm

Burn ban issued for Salem, Marion County through April 18

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

Don’t expect to pull out that fire pit this week.

Salem and Marion County are issuing burn bans from Wednesday to Sunday, April 18 because of higher temperatures, low humidity and moderate wind in the forecast.

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

People who violate requirements during the burn ban may be held liable for the cost of extinguishment and for any property damage resulting from an illegal fire, a city news release said.

For the most current information, call the Burn Information Line at (877) 982-0011.

Conditions will be reevaluated on Monday, April 19.

-Saphara Harrell

April 13, 2021 at 4:24pm

Cherriots seeking feedback on south Salem transit center

An out of service bus at the Downtown Transit Center.(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) 

Cherriots wants to get your thoughts on a new transit center in south Salem. 

The agency is moving forward with another transit center for the growing part of the city aimed at improving service and transfer points. As part of its plans, it's conducting a study taking a look at the location of the center that'll potentially incorporate ride-hailing services, bikes, scooter shares and carpooling. 

Cherriots intends to have concepts and potential locations for the center by the end of the year. In the meantime, it’s conducting a survey to get feedback that’s open until April 26. 

The survey and more information on the project can be found here

-Jake Thomas

April 13, 2021 at 1:55pm

Salem for Refugees asks for volunteers to help with garden prep

Salem for Refugees is looking for volunteers Saturday, April 17 to help pull weeds, prep dirt and lay down sod.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the group needs help with the backyard at its welcome center at 1430 5th St. N.E.

They will provide water, snacks and lunch for volunteers. Those wanting to help should email [email protected] by Friday. Bring gloves and a mask. 

-Saphara Harrell

April 13, 2021 at 12:03pm

Salem-Keizer board chair apologizes, says board will recognize student journalist

Eddy Binford-Ross, a junior at South Salem High School, photographs the March for Floyd on Saturday, June 6. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Salem-Keizer School Board will recognize student journalist Eddy Binford-Ross at a Tuesday night meeting after initially delaying her recognition over concerns it could appear too political.

Binford-Ross, a South Salem High School senior and editor of student newspaper The Clypian, was scheduled to be recognized in the board's monthly "spotlights" for receiving several scholarships and journalism awards. Spotlight recipients are chosen by the district's communications office.

Last week, board Chair Satya Chandragiri asked to delay the recognition until after upcoming school board elections in May after Binford-Ross' article detailing the role of Oregon Right to Life in backing local board campaigns was shared on Facebook by the Salem chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Chandragiri said he was concerned honoring Binford-Ross could be perceived as the board endorsing the candidates the DSA is backing in the election.

In an email to Binford-Ross Monday, Chandragiri reversed course, saying he realized he was wrong after hearing community feedback and speaking with Binford-Ross and her mother, Willamette University law professor Warren Binford.

"I want to personally apologize to you about my decision to move your spotlight recognition to after the May elections. I want to sincerely assure you that I have profound respect for all your amazing work and deserving accomplishments in the field of journalism, racial justice, advocacy in the field of mental health and suicide prevention. I want you to know that I am proud of your work for our community," Chandragiri wrote in an email to Binford-Ross.

"While we truly wanted to keep the board meeting proceedings and school district to be entirely focused on our students, student safety, health, learning and closing the achievement gaps and keep any semblance of politics out of the board meeting, unfortunately it did not come across in that manner. For that I ask for your forgiveness," he said.

The board meets Tuesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting will stream live on YouTube and be broadcast on CC:Media, channel 21, and on YouTube at the links below.

English: https://youtu.be/DworhEHszE8

Spanish: https://youtu.be/-K1eRS8_GPY

-Rachel Alexander

April 13, 2021 at 10:32am

Oregon pauses J&J vaccine as medical issue investigated

Reyna Lopez, executive director of PCUN, gets the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine live during a Marion County Commissioner meeting on April 7, 2021 (Screenshot from YouTube)

The Oregon Health Authority has ordered vaccine providers across the state to stop administering the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine while a medical issue is investigated, following a recommendation from two federal agencies.

The announcement won't significantly impact the number of vaccines providers in Marion and Polk Counties are able to administer, but could hinder efforts to vaccinate farmworkers, homeless people and other groups through mobile vaccination clinics.

On Tuesday U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommended that vaccine administrators pause use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine after extremely rare reports of blood clots among six people who received the shot.

The agencies said six women in the U.S. developed a rare and severe blood clot in the days after they received the vaccine, out of 6.8 million Americans who have so far received the J&J shot. They are investigating what role, if any, the vaccine may have played.

To date, 5,087 people in Marion County and 987 people in Polk County have received the J&J vaccine, according to Oregon Health Authority data.

The vast majority of vaccines administered in the Salem area are the Pfizer and Moderna shots, both of which require two doses.

The J&J vaccine requires only one dose and can be stored at refrigerated temperatures, making it easier to administer in remote setting or for people who would be difficult to contact and schedule for a follow-up appointment. Marion County Health and Human Services has used J&J vaccines for people who are homebound or unsheltered, as well as migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

-Rachel Alexander