Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Families celebrate 4th of July with return of Court-Chemeketa parade

July 6, 2021 at 4:12pm

Sheriff's office investigating death of man found in Willamette River

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and medical examiner’s office are continuing to investigate the death of a man found in the Willamette River last week.

The sheriff’s office hasn’t identified the man, who had a cross with RIP tattooed on his right forearm, according to a news release. They estimated his age at 25 to 40.

A group of kayakers reported the man's body floating in the river around one mile north from the Polk and Yamhill county border on July 2 at 1:55 p.m.

The Polk County Marine Patrol responded and found the man just south of Wheatland Ferry in Yamhill County. 

-Saphara Harrell

July 6, 2021 at 3:11pm

Saturday’s Race to Save the Harvest signing up racers

Volunteers from Salem Harvest go collect excess produce (Courtesy/Salem Harvest)

Local nonprofit Salem Harvest has invited people to help raise money for the program by completing a 3k or 5k and so far, 145 people have taken up the offer. 

The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 10 at Minto-Brown Island Park beginning at 9 a.m. and running until noon. 

To maximize space between participants, the race will have staggered start times. During registration, participants were able to choose a time window to start but with the race just four days away, only one time period remains open: 10-10:15 a.m. 

Those registering now will also miss out on the opportunity to grab a free t-shirt with their registration fee of $25 for adults and $15 for kids. However, they will still be entered into the prize raffle. 

Both courses, the 3k and 5k, will take place in different loops and have different starting points to adhere to social distancing. 

Salem Harvest Executive Director Elise Bauman said everyone, not just runners, are welcome at the event. 

The Oregon Blueberry Commission mascot Ima Blueberry will be in attendance as will the organization's big yellow truck, Sunflower, which will be collecting bottle and can donations. Sponsor Re/Max Integrity will also be at the race handing out water bottles. 

All of the money raised between registrations and can and bottle donations will go towards running the program, Bauman said. 

The nonprofit, which harvests food that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to those in need, requires funds to insure its harvesters, purchase boxes for food distribution and keep Sunflower gassed up. 

For more information or to register visit runsignup.com/racetosavetheharvest. To donate to Salem Harvest visit salemharvest.org/Support.php

-Caitlyn May

July 6, 2021 at 1:00pm

City, nonprofit parking lots will provide safe place to sleep for those living in their vehicles

Cars in the parking area at Cascades Gateway Park on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

At least two dozen people will have a safe place to sleep in their cars or RVs at night as a city and nonprofit parking lot are turned into managed sites for people experiencing homelessness.

A city parking lot, located in the 500 block of Commercial Street across from City Hall, will provide electricity, toilets, potable water, case management, laundry, showers and storage for 16 cars or RVs. The priority will be people who have dependents.

Gretchen Bennett, the city’s homelessness liaison, last month said the site would be run by Church at the Park with staff and security onsite.

Another site, located at Catholic Community Services on 3737 Portland Road N.E., will have space for eight vehicles.

Both locations will always have staff onsite. The locations will open between July 19 and 30 depending on how long it takes to put up fencing, said DJ Vincent, pastor at Church at the Park.

Salem’s budget includes $540,000 in federal funds to turn the lots into safe parking.

“While no one should have to live in a car, this approach to sheltering can help families and individuals get connected to services in a secure environment with consistent access to onsite toilets, storage, garbage removal, laundry, showers, and around -the- clock security assistance,” a city release about the project states.

City Manager Steve Powers said the homelessness crisis requires both short- and long-term solutions to help people stabilize.

"We are thankful for additional state and federal funds that along with city funds and community partners will increase shelter capacity, launch a navigation center, mobile crisis response unit, and expand affordable supportive housing developments,” Powers said in a prepared statement. 

-Saphara Harrell

July 6, 2021 at 12:26pm

Families celebrate 4th of July with return of Court-Chemeketa parade

Kids parade through the Court-Chemeketa neighborhood on July 4, 2021 (Courtesy/Rob Owen)

After a 2020 hiatus, the Court-Chemeketa 4th of July Kids Parade returned to Salem this year.

Neighborhood parent Rob Owen said about 80 people gathered in the historic neighborhood Sunday decked in red, white and blue to march through the streets and celebrate.

The event is organized by local families, with refreshments for kids provided at the end.

Kids parade through the Court-Chemeketa neighborhood on July 4, 2021 (Courtesy/Rob Owen)

Families enjoy refreshments following the Court-Chemeketa Kids Parade on July 4, 2021 (Courtesy/Rob Owen)

-Rachel Alexander