Local News That Matters

UPDATES: SAIF hires new director

May 28, 2021 at 1:20pm

New bathrooms open at Riverfront Park

New restrooms at Riverfront Park will open in time for Memorial Day weekend. (Courtesy/City of Salem)

Newly constructed restrooms at Riverfront Park will be open in time for Memorial Day weekend.

The new restroom building will include eight individual unisex restrooms, including two restrooms meeting Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements. The facility is located near the north meadow and existing Rotary Pavilion, across Front Street from Court Street. 

A grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department helped fund the $600,000 project.

The restrooms will generally be open between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day.

-Saphara Harrell

May 28, 2021 at 11:48am

Oregon legislative staff vote to unionize

Oregon State Capitol. (Salem Reporter/file)

Oregon legislative staff became the first in the country to unionize after a vote of aides on Friday. 

Legislative aides voted 75-31 to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 89 on Friday. Although staff in other state legislatures have considered forming a collective bargaining unit, Oregon is the first to do so. 

“This is a monumental win for every staffer in Oregon as well as those watching across the country!” a legislative staff account supporting the union said on Twitter following the vote.

Last month staff supporting the union told Salem Reporter that while they had good relationships with the lawmakers they worked for, they wanted more stability as well as more say over pay and working conditions. 

-Jake Thomas

May 28, 2021 at 11:45am

Workers' comp provider SAIF hires new president

SAIF headquarters near downtown Salem. (Troy Brynelson/Salem Reporter)

Chip Terhune will be the next leader of SAIF, Oregon's largest workers' compensation insurance provider and one of Salem's largest employers.

The state-chartered insurance provider announced Terhune's hiring this week. He will begin his role as president and CEO July 1. Current president and CEO Kerry Barnett, who has held the job since 2015, is retiring.

Terhune is currently senior vice president and general manager of government programs and accounts for Medecision, a health care technology company, according to a news release. He's previously worked as assistant executive director of Oregon Education Association, director of environmental and public affairs at Schnitzer Steel in Portland and in several vice presidential roles at Cambia Health Solutions in Portland, the release said.

He was the chief of staff for former Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

“Chip is uniquely qualified – he brings extensive knowledge about Oregon and a wealth of experience in the insurance industry,” said John Mohlis, board chair, in a prepared statement. “We are excited about what he brings to the position, and we’re looking forward to supporting him as he builds on the exceptional customer service Oregon businesses and injured workers expect from SAIF.”  

SAIF employs 1,056 people and is headquartered in Salem. The company provides workers' compensation insurance for 54,000 customers across Oregon, according to a fact sheet.

-Rachel Alexander