Local News That Matters

UDPATES: Search continues for Salem climber who fell on Mt. Jefferson

July 26, 2021 at 4:36pm

Marion County to help fund teen summer jobs with business grants

A 'now hiring' sign outside of a Burger King on Lancaster Drive in Salem on Friday, May 28. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Marion County announced a new program on July 23, aimed at supporting local businesses that hire young workers over the summer.

The Youth Wage Grant Program is funded by a portion of Marion County’s lottery proceeds and provides a stipend of $4 an hour to businesses who hire employees between 14 and 17. The county has partnered with Willamette Workforce Partnership to distribute the grant, according to a news release about the program 

"Marion County is really pleased to offer this new program to employers and local youth looking to gain work experience," said Commissioner Danielle Bethell in a prepared statement.  

"This is a win-win. It's become more and more difficult for youth to get work experience and we hope that many types of employers take advantage of this opportunity to hire local youth over the summer,” she said. 

The program is retroactive to May 1 of this year and will end on September 30. 

Eligible businesses must be based in Marion County, have fewer than 35 employees, provide a youth employment certificate from the Bureau of Labor and Industries and provide documentation regarding its youth employees. Companies who are awarded the grant must also allow a representative of Willamette Workforce Partnership to visit the premises to ensure compliance with the grant. 

The grant will cover up to 1,000 hours for a total of $6,000 per youth employee. 

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit willwp.org.

-Caitlyn May

July 26, 2021 at 10:29am

AGENDA: Salem-Keizer board wants to hear from you about public comment

New school board Director Karina Guzmán Ortiz, left, student advisor Grace Caldwell and Directors Ashley Carson Cottingham, María Hinojos Pressey and Osvaldo Avila smile as supporters hand them flowers before their first meeting on July 13, 2021 Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

The Salem-Keizer School Board will spend one hour of their next meeting listening to the public about how they should receive public comment in the future.

The board meets Tuesday, July 27 in a work session starting at 6 p.m. at the district's support services center, 2575 Commercial Street S.E. The meeting will be open to the public with a capacity of 65 people. It's the first open in-person meeting the board has held since the Covid pandemic began.


Board Chair Osvaldo Avila and Vice Chair Ashley Carson Cottingham have drafted a plan for handling public input as in-person meetings resume. Their plan calls for future board meetings to have between 30 to 60 minutes of public comment, with speakers divided between those calling in and those attending the meeting in-person. Each speaker would have two or three minutes to talk, with additional time to translate comments into English if needed.

If more people sign up than the board has time for, speakers would be selected based on the order they signed up in and their job or relationship to the district. The goal, according to the draft policy, would be to hear from people representing a variety of categories including students, parents, district employees, representatives of employee unions and community members.

The board will also hear an update from Superintendent Christy Perry about the district's plans for returning to school in the fall and communicating with families before the school year begins.

To participate: The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 27 in the boardroom at the Support Services Center, 2575 Commercial Street S.E. The meeting can be viewed in-person or live on CC:Media, channel 21, or on YouTube in English and Spanish.

Commenters can sign up in advance until noon on Monday using this form. There will also be a sign-up sheet for in-person attendees in the boardroom, with those comments heard first-come, first-served as time allows.

-Rachel Alexander

July 26, 2021 at 10:19am

Search continues for Salem climber who fell on Mt. Jefferson

A view of Mount Jefferson from Jefferson Park. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Rescuers from multiple counties have joined the search for a Salem climber who fell while descending Mount Jefferson Friday morning.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office said Steven Vanpelt, 33, fell among extreme mountainous terrain. A witness described losing sight of Vanpelt after he fell several hundred feet, the sheriff’s office said.

Vanpelt was formerly a production director at Morningstar Community Church, according to his LinkedIn page. 

Just before noon on July 23, the Linn County Sheriff's Office dispatch received information about a climber falling during a descent on Mount Jefferson and the Marion County Sheriff's Office and Linn County Search and Rescue Team began planning a rescue.  

Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue, Deschutes Mountain Rescue and Portland Mountain Rescue have all responded to the area for the search effort. Multiple flights have been conducted by LifeFlight and the United States Army National Guard through the days following the initial report, the sheriff’s office said.

They said Vanpelt hasn’t been located because of the terrain, which consists of snow, cliffs, large boulders, crevices and rock scree.  

“This area is extremely dangerous and requires technical mountaineers to traverse the mountainside,” a new release Sunday said. 

This post has been updated to reflect Van Pelt's former job.

-Saphara Harrell