Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem police lieutenant takes chief job in Sisters

June 21, 2021 at 4:37pm

OSP investigating shooting on Market Street

Oregon State Police are investigating a shooting that happened near Interstate 5 at Northeast Market Street. (Courtesy/ Nicholas Kline)

Police are searching for a man suspected in a shooting that happened at Northeast Market Street near Interstate 5 Monday afternoon.

Police responded to a call about a person with a gunshot wound at 2:45 p.m., Oregon State Police said in a news release. The victim was transported to the hospital.

State police described the suspect as a Hispanic man, approximately 5-foot-5 with a shaved or almost shaved head and mustache, wearing khaki pants and khaki shirt, the release said. The man was last seen headed south armed with a firearm. Police asked anyone who spots someone matching the description to call 911.

Exit 256 is closed while police investigate. Lt. Treven Upkes, Salem police spokesman, said the exit would likely be closed until 5:15 p.m.

Upkes said police aren't sweeping the camps under the Market Street overpass. He noted there are police in SWAT gear because of the terrain.

-Saphara Harrell

June 21, 2021 at 4:25pm

Fire officials remind Oregonians not to accidentally start wildfires as legal firework sales begin

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

As Oregon faces down a heat wave and firework sales begin across the state Wednesday, fire officials are reminding the public to exercise caution and avoid burning the state down.

“Every year across the state, we see fires sparked because of improper use or use of illegal fireworks. Our message is to keep it legal and keep it safe as people celebrate the holiday," said Mark Johnston, assistant chief deputy with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, in a statement.

Legal firework sales begin June 23 and run through July 6. Without a permit, Oregonians cannot purchase, use or sell any firework that flies into the air, explodes or travels more than 12 feet on the ground. That includes Roman candles, bottle rockets and firecrackers.

When using fireworks, people should have water on hand to douse flames and avoid lighting fireworks in areas with dry grass or brush that could easily catch fire. The use of fireworks is prohibited in state parks and campgrounds, and City of Salem parks.

A list of fireworks retailers is available on the State Fire Marshal's website, including 33 Salem locations.

-Rachel Alexander

June 21, 2021 at 11:34am

About half of employees, 87% of residents vaccinated at mid-Willamette long-term care facilities

A map from a June 21, 2021 Oregon Health Authority report shows employees and resident vaccination rates by region at Oregon long-term care facilities.

Just 54% of employees at long-term care facilities in the mid-Willamette Valley are fully vaccinated against Covid, according to an Oregon Health Authority report released Monday.

That's compared to 87% of long-term care facility residents in the health authority's region 2, which includes Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties.

The report covers vaccination data through May 9 and is the first statewide look at vaccination rates among long-term care facilities.

A large share of Covid-related deaths in Oregon and across the U.S. have been in long-term care facilities, where residents are typically older and more vulnerable to the virus. In Marion County, 49% of all Covid deaths since the pandemic began have been tied to outbreaks in long-term care facilities, according to the county's most recent report.

Statewide, 62% of care facility employees and 87% of residents were fully vaccinated against Covid as of May 9, with the highest percentages in the Portland metro area. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final dose of Covid vaccine.

The report notes long-term care facility employees have typically recorded lower rates of vaccination against influenza compared to other health care workers. Long-term care facility residents and employees were among the first Oregonians to become eligible for a Covid vaccine last December.

The data rely on voluntary reporting from long-term care facilities. Data for region 2 is based on reports from 90 facilities, about 70% of the total operating in the region.

-Rachel Alexander

June 21, 2021 at 9:27am

Longtime Salem police lieutenant named chief of police in Sisters

Lt. Jason Van Meter, left, has accepted a new job as police chief of the Black Butte Ranch Police Department after 17 years with Salem police. (Courtesy/ Salem Police Department)

One of Salem’s police lieutenants is leaving the city after accepting a job as police chief of the Black Butte Ranch Police Department in Sisters.

Lt. Jason Van Meter has worked for the Salem Police Department for 17 years.

During his tenure he worked on the downtown enforcement team, mobile crisis response team and SWAT, the department said in a news release.

He was awarded the medal of valor in 2012 and a distinguished service award in 2015.

In a letter to Van Meter, Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack said he had been involved in mentoring countless officers during his time at the agency.

“Your contributions to this agency are vast, notable and much appreciated,” Womack wrote. 

-Saphara Harrell