Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Oregon Museum of Mental Health reopens

May 26, 2021 at 5:46pm

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill closing vape loophole passes Oregon Legislature


(Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

The Oregon Legislature passed a bill intended to keep vapes and e-cigs out of the hands of teenagers. 

THE ISSUE: Oregon raised the smoking age to 21, but the use of vape products has proliferated among teenagers. 

THE BILL: House Bill 2261

WHAT IT DOES: Prohibits the remote sale of vapes or other inhalant delivery systems in Oregon. 

WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: It’s illegal for teens to buy cigarettes. But a loophole allows them to purchase electronic cigarettes, e-cigs or vapes online.


The bill passed the Oregon Senate May 26 on a 24-5 vote.

Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas: No

Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes

Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons: No

Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem: Yes 

Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer: Excused

The bill passed the Oregon House April 9 on a 44-4 vote. 

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

State Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem: Excused

State Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth: No

State Rep. Rick Lewis, R-Silverton: Yes

State Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, R-Salem: Yes

State Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence: Excused

Sate Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer: No

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: The bill now goes to the governor for her approval. 

-Jake Thomas

May 26, 2021 at 5:18pm

Final round of businesses assistance program opens

A closed sign in Engelberg Antiks in downtown Salem on Thursday, March 19, 2020. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

The state’s economic development agency on Wednesday began accepting applications for the last pot of money in a program intended to help small businesses with operational and commercial rent.

After distributing two rounds of grants to help businesses with rent, the Oregon Commercial Rent Relief Program has now opened the final portion of the $100 million program. This portion of the program is aimed at helping businesses with operational costs. 

It specifically targets industries that have been hard-hit by the pandemic. Restaurants, bars, gyms, brewpubs, theaters, bowling centers and salons are some of the more common examples of eligible businesses.

To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and must either serve food and drink, provide personal services or offer a place for physical exercise or entertainment. 

The grant closes June 6 and awards will be made through a lottery. Businesses that received assistance from previous rounds are still eligible as long as they were awarded less than $100,000. 

More details and how to apply can be found on Business Oregon's website.

-Jake Thomas

May 26, 2021 at 1:22pm

Friend starts GoFundMe for Salem man who lost everything in storage unit fire

Ismet Yazkurt poses for a portrait in front of Sunnyview Transmissions. He lost everything in a storage unit fire on May 3, 2021. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter.

A friend of a Salem man who lost all of his possessions in a storage unit fire earlier this month has started a GoFundMe.

Ismet Yazkurt saw all of his possessions, $25,000 in total, burn in a fire police said was caused by a Salem man shooting a flare into Airport Self Storage on Turner Road.

Salem Reporter wrote about Yazkurt last week.

Yazkurt has spent the last year sleeping in his minivan after taking a buyout to leave his home on Lancaster Avenue.

He didn’t insure his storage unit, which had his tools from decades of furniture repair. 

His friend Tony Khalaf, owner of Sunnyview Transmissions, started the GoFundMe to help Yazkurt replace his tools and other items.

-Saphara Harrell

May 26, 2021 at 11:34am

Oregon Museum of Mental Health to reopen May 28

Kathryn Dysart is a docent and founding board member of the Museum of Mental Health at the Oregon State Hospital. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

The Museum of Mental Health is reopening its doors after more than a year with a new exhibit focused on women's experiences at Oregon State Hospital.

The museum, housed on the Oregon State Hospital campus in Salem, will open Friday, May 28 for members and their guests by appointment, according to a news release. The general public can begin visiting Thursday, June 3. The museum is located at 2600 Center St. NE.

A new exhibit, "Unfit to Be At Large: Women at OSH," chronicles the experiences of women in the state hospital from its opening in 1883 until 1920. The exhibit includes accounts from women committed to the hospital during the period and examines the role the women's suffrage movement played in their diagnosis and care, the release said.

To limit the number of people inside the museum at once, advance ticket purchases are required to visit. Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, and free for children under 10. Members can visit for free but must reserve an appointment.

One-hour visits are available from noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as well as on Monday, May 31. Face masks are required inside the museum. More information and reservations are available on the museum website.

-Rachel Alexander