Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Willamette's Atkinson School names new dean

May 7, 2021 at 4:56pm

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: House bill seeks to pave way for more electric vehicles

The Oregon House on Thursday passed a bill intended to make buying an electric vehicle more affordable and for utility companies to increase supporting infrastructure. 

THE ISSUE: State leaders want to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road because of their environmental benefits. 

THE BILL: House Bill 2165

WHAT IT DOES: It removes the sunset on the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate program that provides an incentive to buy an electric car. It also doubles the Charge Ahead rebate program to $5,000. 

Additionally, the bill makes regulatory changes that are intended to help electric companies to boost their electric vehicle infrastructure. 

WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: Proponents of the bill say there is demand for electric vehicles, and the changes will make it easier for consumers to ditch gas-powered cars.


State Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn: Excused

State Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem: Yes

State Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth: Yes

State Rep. Rick Lewis, R-Silverton: No

State Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, R-Salem: No

State Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence: Excused

Sate Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer: No

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: It heads to the Senate for consideration. 

-Jake Thomas

May 7, 2021 at 11:11am

UPDATED: Cherriots resumes service at downtown transit center; police clear suspicious package report

The Downtown Transit Center (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Update, 12 p.m.: Cherriots has resume service at the downtown transit center Friday after Salem police cleared a report of a suspicious package.

The item that prompted the evacuation was a suitcase, Salem police spokesman Lt. Treven Upkes said.

Original article:

Cherriots has evacuated its downtown transit center due to a suspicious package, the agency said Friday morning.

"We are setting up a temporary transit center on Mission Street in the Bush Park parking lot. Please expect significant delays for all routes serving the downtown area," Cherriots said on Twitter.

Cherriots spokeswoman Patricia Feeny said the evacuation was prompted by an item on the sidewalk near the building's northeast stairwell which was reported at 9:08 a.m.

Salem police determined the first floor of the transit center should evacuate and other building workers should remain in their offices away from windows, she said. The agency's customer service staff work on the first floor and are unable to answer calls due to the evacuation.

Salem police spokesman Lt. Treven Upkes said the department's bomb team was responding to investigate a "suspicious item."

"Transit is evacuating and sheltering in place as a precaution. We are asking people to avoid the area until the situation is resolved," Upkes said in an email.

-Rachel Alexander

May 7, 2021 at 9:55am

Willamette names new dean for Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Willamette University on May 15. 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A labor economist with Oregon roots will be the next dean at Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School of Management, the university announced Thursday.

Dr. Örn Bodvarsson will take the job July 1, moving from his current role as dean of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business and as a professor of economics at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to a news release.

The Atkinson School is the home of Willamette's Master of Business Administration program, based in Salem with a satellite campus in Portland.

“Joining the Willamette University community and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management as its new dean is truly a dream come true for me,” Bodvarsson said in a statement. “Having grown up in Oregon, I have always admired the university’s commitment to student success and everything it does to enhance the quality of life for the state, nation and world."

The most recent external hire for the school's dean, Seung Ho “Sam” Park, resigned in the fall of 2018 just one month after starting work. Following Park's resignation, Professor Michael Hand was appointed as interim dean, then selected internally as dean in August 2019, university spokesman Tim Cobb said. Hand will return to the college's faculty next year. Willamette began a search for a new dean in December, Cobb said.

Bodvarsson previously served as the founding dean of the St. Cloud State University School of Public Affairs and dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies at California State University, Sacramento, the news release said. He has a doctorate in economics from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, and a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Oregon State University.

-Rachel Alexander