Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Woodburn man indicted for murder following kidnapping and police chase

May 21, 2021 at 3:51pm

Refunds on the way to Oregonians who paid taxes on unemployment benefits

Connie Cruz, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier, delivers mail in West Salem on Thursday, October 8. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Oregonians who paid taxes on unemployment benefits before Congress partially exempted the payments from taxes should keep their eyes on the mail for a check. 

The Oregon Department of Revenue announced on Twitter Thursday that it has corrected returns from taxpayers who collected unemployment and have already filed their 2020 taxes. 

The 2020 tax year has been more complicated than previous years and the Oregon Department of Revenue has to quickly respond to changes made by Congress to taxes through various pandemic stimulus measures. Oregon’s tax code is set up to automatically mirror the federal tax code. 

The department advises taxpayers that haven’t received a refund by check or direct deposit or an adjustment notice by May 31 to reach out at 503-378-4988.

-Jake Thomas

May 21, 2021 at 1:44pm

AGENDA: Salem City Council to vote on ending homeless park camping, outdoor dining program

The Salem City Council will meet Monday to vote on an emergency declaration that would end camping in two city parks.

They will also consider a master plan for Geer Park and an outdoor seating program for restaurants post-Covid.


The council will consider approving a sidewalk café program to allow restaurants to continue using dining platforms in parking spaces, which began during Covid as a way for eateries to expand their seating.

There are currently 15 businesses using on-street parking spaces for expanded dining.

Councilors will consider whether to accept a master plan for Geer Park in east Salem, which includes a new single-track bike trail, a 10,000 square foot playground, splash pad, skate park and additional baseball/softball field.

The council will consider a proposal to sell city-owned property to the United Way of Mid-Willamette Valley to develop low-income senior housing.

The mayor will also proclaim June Pride Month.     

To participate: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday and is streamed live on YouTube. Submit comments on agenda items by 5:00 p.m. the day of the meeting at [email protected]. Public comment and testimony may also be provided during the meeting via Zoom. Please pre-register between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting at the following link: https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/Public-Comment-at-Salem-City-CouncilMeeting.aspx

-Saphara Harrell

May 21, 2021 at 12:54pm

Getting a Covid vaccine in Oregon could make you a millionaire

Sam Bereny, an EMT with Metro West Ambulance, holds 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)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is hoping a million dollar reward will help boost the state's lagging Covid vaccination rates.

Brown on Friday announced the "Take Your Shot Oregon" campaign, a lottery drawing on June 28 for Oregonians who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine. One winner will receive a $1 million cash prize, and each of Oregon's counties will have a $10,000 winner.

"I'm encouraging every eligible Oregonian, to take your shot. Go get vaccinated. It can save your life. And just maybe make you a millionaire," Brown said during a press call Friday.

The money will come from Oregon's federal coronavirus relief payments.

Winners will be selected by the Oregon Lottery using a state database of all Oregonians who have received a vaccine. To protect patient privacy, the lottery will receive only an identification number for each vaccinated Oregonian and use those numbers to conduct the drawing, Brown's office said. The Oregon Health Authority, which maintains the state vaccine database, will then use those numbers to identify and notify the winners.

Oregonians can decline the prize money, Brown said. More information about the lottery is here.

Teens won't be eligible for cash prizes, but vaccinated Oregonians age 12 to 17 could win one of five $100,000 college scholarships in the form of an Oregon College Savings Plan account. That money can be used for educational expenses, including community college and trade school.

Brown said the incentive was designed to encourage Oregonians who are on the fence about vaccination or haven't yet made time to get a shot.

She reiterated her goal of getting 70% of Oregonians 16 and older to get a first dose of the vaccine.

That threshold would trigger Brown lifting nearly all Covid restrictions in Oregon, including capacity restrictions for businesses and events. Currently, 62.9% of eligible Oregonians have had a first shot according to Oregon Health Authority.

"We have an opportunity to beat California with fully reopening the economy," Brown said.

-Rachel Alexander

May 21, 2021 at 9:46am

Marion County grand jury indicted Woodburn man for murder, clears officers for shooting at him

Marion County Sheriff's Office (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

A Marion County grand jury on Thursday indicted Kenneth William Peden III on charges of killing a teen and found two Silverton police officers and a Marion County sheriff’s deputy were justified in shooting at him following an alleged kidnapping and ensuing police chase on May 12.

Peden, 20, was arraigned Friday morning on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, fleeing or attempting to elude police and four counts of first-degree attempted murder. He will be held without bail, according to court records.

On May 12 at 4:45 p.m. Gervais police responded to a home on Depot. Ct. for a reported gunshot wound and kidnapping. Police found 22-year-old Arik Reed, of Gervais, with a gunshot wound to his abdomen, Amy Queen, Marion County deputy district attorney, said in a news release.

Officers determined that Peden had kidnapped 17-year-old Molly “Ollie” Taylor. Police and the district attorney’s office haven’t identified Taylor’s gender, but a GoFundMe post indicates they were transgender.

Peden left in a Ford F-150 and area law enforcement found the truck and followed him into Silverton.

While in pursuit, Peden fired multiple rounds at police, Queen said in the release.

He came to a stop on Highway 214 near Forest Ridge Road N.E. where a shootout ensued.

Queen said none of the officer’s bullets hit Peden or Taylor. No police were shot or injured.

Peden eventually surrendered and was arrested. Taylor was found in the passenger seat with a gunshot wound and later died at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, police said.

-Saphara Harrell