Local News That Matters

UPDATES: LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill protecting workers from retaliation heads to governor

3 months ago

Oregon construction industry comes roaring back

A construction crew works on the street outside of the Nishioka building site in downtown Salem. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

As Oregon’s economy continues on the path to reopening, one industry has largely recovered from the pandemic: construction.

Numbers released by the Oregon Employment Department earlier this week show that the state’s construction industry reached a near-record high in recent months, employing 110,000 workers. 

According to the department, the number of jobs dropped to about 100,000 in April 2020 following the initial pandemic shutdown. The industry has been steadily adding back jobs between 2013 through 2019 after a slump caused by the 2008 recession, according to the department. 

The Salem area has followed a similar trajectory. There were 12,900 construction jobs in the Salem area as of April, according to the most recently available Employment Department numbers. That’s up 11,600 from a year ago. 

-Jake Thomas

3 months ago

No fireworks in Riverfront Park for Fourth of July

The fireworks on the Fourth of July in 2019. (Ron Cooper/Special to Salem Reporter)

Don’t expect to set up your lawn chair in Riverfront Park for the annual Fourth of July fireworks show.

The city of Salem didn’t contract with a fireworks vendor this year “due to the uncertainty concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2020.”

Salem typically orders the fireworks a year in advance, and in 2019 spent, $15,000 on the display.

It’s the second year the fireworks show, which draws thousands to the riverfront each year, has been canceled.

The city is expected to bring fireworks back in 2022. 

-Saphara Harrell

3 months ago

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill protecting workers from retaliation heads to governor

A sign at Salud Medical Center in Woodburn on Wednesday, April 29. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter) 

The Oregon Legislature passed a bill Monday that proponents say will protect workers that raise safety concerns at work. 

THE ISSUE: Labor groups say it’s too easy for employers to retaliate against workers who raise concerns or file safety complaints. 

THE BILL: Senate Bill 483 

WHAT IT DOES: Creates a legal presumption that an employer has retaliated if they take an adverse action against a worker (changing scheduling, cutting pay, etc.) within 60 days of them filing a safety complaint or other protected action. 

WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: Proponents say frontline workers have faced dangerous conditions during the pandemic, exposing shortcomings in worker protections. The legislation was opposed by business groups, who argued it can be abused and will unduly burden employers.   

HOW THE MARION/POLK DELEGATION VOTED: 

The bill passed the Oregon House on June 7 on a 36-20 vote.

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

State Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem: Yes

State Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth: Yes

State Rep. Rick Lewis, R-Silverton: No

State Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, R-Salem: No

State Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence: Excused

State Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer: No

The bill passed the Oregon Senate on April 14 on an 18-12 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

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

-Jake Thomas

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