Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem school board election results unchanged after recount

June 10, 2021 at 1:11pm

Western Oregon University announces interim president

The Western Oregon University campus in Monmouth (Courtesy/Diane Stevenson/WOU)

Western Oregon University has a new interim president for the upcoming school year.

Jay Kenton was selected following a months-long selection process that involved a nine-member advisory committee.

“Dr. Kenton comes to WOU with a deep wealth of experience that should serve the university well as we search for the regular successor,” said Board of Trustees Chair Betty Komp in a statement.

Kenton earned his doctorate in public administration from Portland State University and has served in administrative roles at various Oregon universities, including as interim president at both Oregon Institute of Technology and Eastern Oregon University respectively.

The university will begin searching for a regular president in the fall.

Current President Rex Fuller announced his plans to retire last year after six years at the job. His contract ends on Sept. 30.

-Saphara Harrell

June 10, 2021 at 10:56am

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill directing local governments to decriminalize homelessness passes Oregon Legislature

A city of Salem Public Works truck parked at Marion Square Park, across the street from an encampment that encircled The ARCHES Project in 2019. (Troy Brynelson/Salem Reporter)

The Oregon Legislature passed a bill on Wednesday prohibiting local governments from penalizing unsheltered people for resting in outdoor public areas if they have nowhere else to go. 

THE ISSUE: Salem and other Oregon cities have seen increases in homelessness. But many local jurisdictions have ordinances on the books that are in conflict with a landmark court ruling decriminalizing homelessness.  

THE BILL: House Bill 3115

WHAT IT DOES: Requires that by July 2023, counties and cities regulation “of sitting, lying, sleeping, or keeping warm and dry in outdoor public spaces be objectively reasonable as to time, place, and manner with regards to persons experiencing homelessness.” The bill allows unsheltered people to take legal action against local governments who violate the bill, which has county and city officials concerned

WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: The bill seeks to bring Oregon in line with the 2018 Martin v. Boise federal court ruling that determined local governments can’t penalize people for lying, sitting or sleeping on the streets if they have nowhere else to go. 


The bill passed the Oregon Senate on June 9 on a 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: No

The bill passed the Oregon House on April 19 on a 35-23 vote.

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

State Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem: Excused

State Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth: No

State Rep. Rick Lewis, R-Silverton: No

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

State Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence: No

State Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer: No

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

-Jake Thomas

June 10, 2021 at 10:33am

Salem-Keizer School Board election results unchanged after recount

A stack of counted and signed ballot envelopes at the Marion County Elections Office on Tuesday, May 19. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

After an official recount Wednesday, the results of the Salem Keizer School Board election are unchanged.

Ashely Carson Cottingham won a seat on the board, beating her opponent, Linda Farrington, by 71 votes for a seat representing south Salem, out of 43,697 ballots cast.

The race for that seat, Zone 3, headed for an automatic recount under state law because the number of votes separating two candidates is less than 0.2% of the votes cast for both.

Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess said Farrington picked up two additional votes in the recount, one in Marion County and one in Polk County, but not enough to change the outcome of the race.

He said one of the votes was a light mark that had been counted as an undervote before. He said the second additional vote was an overvote. 

-Saphara Harrell