Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Fire damages Salemtowne clubhouse

July 16, 2021 at 3:14pm

Willamette Valley wines gain protection against imposters

Bottles of Bethel Heights Vineyard wine. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

In an early morning announcement that spanned time zones, the Willamette Valley Wineries Association said the valley’s wines are now protected against imposters claiming to hail from Oregon.

The region received formal recognition from the European Union of Protected Geographical Indication status, the association said in a news release. The designation provides legal protection in Europe and throughout the world against wines that fraudulently claim to be from the Willamette Valley. 

“It’s a major breakthrough in global brand awareness and a milestone for the Valley’s many hardworking wine growers and winemakers," the release said. The Napa Valley is the only other American wine region carrying the distinction.

Outlining the benefits and responsibilities attached to Friday’s registration, European Union Ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis said in a statement, “The Willamette Valley name is secured throughout the EU market of 27 countries counting 450 million consumers. Any operator seeking to sell non-originating wine using the registered Oregon name, or using labelling devices to evoke ‘Willamette Valley’ in the mind of the consumer, will be stopped.”

The Willamette Valley Wineries Association has been working to gain the distinction for more than 20 years. 

The recognition is "a remarkable achievement for a relatively young wine region,” said Morgen McLaughlin, executive director of the association, in a prepared statement. “The Willamette Valley’s first vines were planted in 1965 and since then several generations of growers and vintners have put their imprint on the world wine map.”

-Caitlyn May

July 16, 2021 at 10:58am

Fitness center at Salemtowne could take months to restore following fire

Damage visible on the back side of the Salemtowne clubhouse following an early morning fire on Friday, July 16, 2021 (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

It could be several months before the fitness center at Salemtowne Golf Club is restored following a fire in the early hours of Friday morning.

The 55 and older community located at 2900 Oakcrest Drive N.W. had a suspicious three-alarm fire which caused about $300,000 in damage, Salem fire officials said.

Tom Mahon, chair of the board of directors at Salemtowne, said as of Friday morning the entire building aside from the golf course was shut down.

The Salemtowne clubhouse following an early morning fire on Friday, July 16, 2021 (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Following an emergency board meeting Friday morning, Mahon said they’re planning to pay for 24-hour security.

He said once the electricity is turned back on the woodshop, crafts room, pool and other facilities should be back in operation in a few days.

Mahon said the historic 1880s farmhouse had some damage, but it should be repairable.

He explained that one part of the wing is the original Wallace farmhouse, the namesake of Wallace Road in west Salem.

The firemen pulled down some ceiling in a few parts but that’s repairable, Mahon said.

No one was injured and no houses were damaged, he said.

“The damage was limited. This was significant but it hasn’t totally shut us down and destroyed the facility,” Mahon said. 

Damage visible on the east side of the Salemtowne clubhouse following a fire on Friday, July 16, 2021 (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

-Saphara Harrell

July 16, 2021 at 9:46am

Suspicious fire damages Salemtowne clubhouse

Firefighters cut a hole in the roof of the Salemtowne clubhouse to vent smoke from the three-alarm fire (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

A suspicious three-alarm fire caused about $300,000 in damage to the Salemtowne clubhouse in the wee hours of Friday morning, Salem fire officials said.

Firefighters were called to the blaze, located at 2900 Oakcrest Drive NW, around 12:49 a.m., Battalion Chief Ty Gunesch said. The fire started on the back side of the building.

Fifteen fire units responded to get the blaze under control in the two-story structure. Gunesch said. He said the building has been remodeled numerous times and is "pretty well cut up," which prevented the fire from spreading throughout, but also made getting flames under control more challenging.

Firefighters had the fire out around 1:30 a.m., Gunesch said.

He said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

-Rachel Alexander