Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Chemeketa to hold budget hearing

May 18, 2021 at 3:11pm

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider rental assistance, Covid relief money

Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, sits in on a homeless alliance executive meeting video conference on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meet Wednesday to consider rental assistance funds, lease extensions and additional Covid relief funding for businesses.


Commissioners will consider approving $10 million in federal funds to emergency rental assistance through September 2025.

Commissioners will also consider three lease amendments for buildings the Health and Human Services Department use for youth and family behavioral health services.

They will consider approving an additional $2.2 million for federal CARES Act funding to go toward eligible businesses though the end of this year.

Commissioners will also consider approving $700,000 in grant funds from the Business Development Department for the Santiam Canyon Wildfire Recovery program. 

Meeting details: The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube

-Saphara Harrell

May 18, 2021 at 2:13pm

Fund created to help immigrant workers in Oregon marks one-year milestone

(Yadira Lopez/Malheur Enterprise)

A year after it was created to help workers during the pandemic not covered by traditional safety net programs, a relief fund has distributed $60 million to 370,000 immigrants in Oregon. 

The Oregon Worker Relief fund was created last May to provide cash payments to people impacted by the pandemic but because of their immigration status were unable to access unemployment insurance or stimulus payments. 

“Excluding immigrants from desperately needed relief based on their legal status left Oregon families and communities at severe risk as folks have struggled to pay rent, put food on the table, pay for health care, and keep utilities on during the pandemic,” said Isa Peña, interim executive director of Causa Oregon, in a statement announcing the milestone.

The fund was created with $10 million from the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Emergency Board and has operated with 23 community-based organizations across the state. 

According to a report from the fund, it still faces challenges in meeting the need. Another estimated 70,000 workers will seek relief from the fund. But the four weeks of relief totaling $1,720 from the fund is significantly less than payments from traditional unemployment insurance, according to the report.

-Jake Thomas 

May 18, 2021 at 11:55am

AGENDA: Chemeketa board to hold budget hearing

Chemeketa Community College (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Chemeketa Community College Board of Education will meet Wednesday for a hearing on the proposed $103 million budget for 2021-22.

The proposed budget can be viewed here and an overview here.


The board will also consider a resolution authorizing Chemeketa to issue bonds to cover the cost of paying pension obligations under Oregon's Public Employee Retirement System. Chemeketa's unfunded pension liability is $67 million and issuing bonds would allow the college to earn additional interest to pay down that debt, according to a staff report.

To participate: The virtual meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 19. View the livestream here. Public comments may be submitted until 5 p.m. Tuesday to [email protected]

-Rachel Alexander