Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Teen dies after being pinned under vehicle in Riverfront Park

June 1, 2021 at 5:32pm

Polk County will move to "moderate risk" following drop in new Covid cases

Two people walk down Edgewater Street Northwest in West Salem on May 15, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Polk County businesses can have more people inside starting Friday, June 4 following a decline in the number of new Covid cases among residents over the past two weeks.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday Polk County would move to "moderate" Covid restrictions because of the decline. That means restaurants can operate at 50% indoor capacity or up to 100 guests, rather than the current cap at 25% capacity. Gyms, indoor fitness facilities and indoor entertainment venues can operate at 20% capacity or 100 people inside, whichever is larger. Retail stores could have 75% capacity inside, up from 50%.

The county recorded 83 new Covid cases among residents during the two weeks ending May 29, according to Oregon Health Authority data. That gave Polk County a rate of 99 new Covid cases per 100,000 residents, just under the state threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 residents needed to lower the risk level.

Marion County is also seeing declines in new Covid cases, recording 617 new Covid cases in the previous two weeks. That's a rate of 176.7 new cases per 100,000 residents, down from 253.5 cases per 100,000 residents from May 2 to 15.

Brown said she will end the assignment of county risk levels and lift nearly all Covid restrictions in Oregon once 70% of adults have received at least a first dose of Covid vaccine. As of Tuesday, the state stands at 65.8% of eligible adults vaccinated.

Individual counties can move to "low risk" restrictions earlier if they submit a plan for closing vaccination gaps and hit 65% of eligible adults who have at least one dose of Covid vaccine.

As of Tuesday, Marion County is at 56.8% of adults with at least one dose of Covid vaccine, up from 54.8% one week ago, according to state data. To meet the target, 22,367 people still need to get a vaccine.

Polk County is closer, with 61.8% of adults vaccinated, up from 60.3% one week ago. It needs 2,141 adults to get a shot to meet the target.

-Rachel Alexander

June 1, 2021 at 3:44pm

Neighborhood garden tour takes place this weekend

Tulips blooming at the Gaiety Hollow gardens. (Courtesy/ Pam Wasson)

For the second year in a row, people can take a self-guided tour through residential gardens in the Historic Court Chemeketa District on Saturday and Sunday. 

The annual fundraiser for the Lord & Schryver Conservancy runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.  

Tickets must be purchased in advance and cost $20 per person. They are free for kids under 16.  

The self-guided tour is the successor to the popular garden tours run by Gilbert House Children’s Museum for 21 years.  

“We are excited to hold our inaugural garden tour with the cooperation of the Northeast Neighborhood Association” said Pam Wasson, executive director of the Lord & Schryver Conservancy, in a statement.

“We have identified nine private gardens that are truly special. From a nature scape with native and edible plants to a shady, art-filled retreat, there is sure to be something to inspire each visitor," Wasson said.

 -Saphara Harrell

Correction: The headline originally misstated the dates of the event.

June 1, 2021 at 1:12pm

West Salem student dies after being pinned under vehicle in Riverfront Park

A 15-year-old boy died Memorial Day in Salem after falling off a car hood and getting trapped underneath the car at Riverfront Park, Salem police said in a news release.

The boy was a student at West Salem High School, Salem-Keizer School District spokesman Aaron Harada said.

Salem police received a call about a person pinned under a vehicle around 3:30 a.m. May 31 and responded to the park's south parking lot, the news release said.

Police said four teenage friends were driving through the parking lot. The 16-year-old driver stopped the vehicle, and the victim climbed onto the hood. The driver then drove forward, and the boy fell off the hood and was pinned under the vehicle, police said.

Another girl in the group called 911, while a fourth went to get assistance, police said.

The Salem Fire Department arrived and freed the boy. Paramedics transported him to Salem Health, where he died from his injuries, police said.

Because of the age of the victim and other teens involved, police said they would not release names. The Salem Police Traffic Team is investigating.

"West Salem High School administrators have spoken to staff, students and families; have offered their condolences and support to the family, and are honoring their respect for privacy," Harada said in an email.

This article was updated with information from the Salem-Keizer School District.

-Rachel Alexander