Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Virtual event Saturday will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

September 17, 2021 at 5:46pm

UPDATED: Interstate 5 reopens after police take suicidal person into custody

A traffic camera shows traffic backed up in southbound I-5 lanes Friday afternoon about two miles north of the highway closure.

UPDATE: The Salem Police Department reported at 6:15 p.m. that Interstate 5 was open again after being closed through the rush hour. The freeway was closed because of a suicidal individual on the D Street oveerpass.

The agency said in a social media post that "the subject is now in police custody. He will transported to a medical facility for further evaluation and treatment."

All lanes of Interstate 5 are closed in both directions at the D Street Overpass as Salem police negotiate with a suicidal person on the bridge.

The Oregon Department of Transportation reported the closure at 4:16 p.m. Friday and said traffic was being detoured onto Market Street Northeast and Mission Street Southeast. People are being asked to avoid the area.

Salem police said crisis negotiators were on scene Friday evening and lanes would reopen when the situation was resolved.

September 17, 2021 at 5:36pm

Salem man arrested in pedestrian hit-and-run

The Marion County Sheriff's Office responded to a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a pedestrian on Lancaster Drive Northeast early on Sept. 17, 2021 (Courtesy/Marion County Sheriff's Office)

A Salem man was arrested early Friday morning a felony hit-and-run charge after police reported he struck a pedestrian with his car and fled.

Victor Brayhe Del Rosal Garcia, 23, was charged with failure to perform duties of a driver to injured persons and driving while suspended in Marion County Circuit Court, according to court documents.

A 911 caller around 1:15 a.m. reported hit and run of a pedestrian on Lancaster Drive Northeast near Hudson Avenue Northeast in an unincorporated area of Salem, saying the vehicle was a black Chevrolet pickup last seen going north on Lancaster Drive, a Marion County Sheriff's Office news release said.

The pedestrian, a 31-year-old man, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital "for treatment with serous injuries" and is in stable condition, the news release said. Del Rosal Garcia was booked into the Marion County Jail.

Sheriff's deputies closed off the northbound lanes of Lancaster Drive between Hudson Avenue Northeast and Amber Street Northeast while investigating the crash and called for assistance from the county's multi-agency Crash Team.

The Keizer Police Department, Marion County Fire District #1 and Salem Police Department also assisted the sheriff's office.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

September 17, 2021 at 5:24pm

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Sept. 17, 2021

Salem Hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem Reporter is keeping you informed of the latest Covid numbers. Here’s our report for Friday, Sept. 17.

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 157

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 57

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 99 as of Friday morning, an increase of three from Thursday. Of those, 23 are in the intensive care unit, and nine are on ventilators. 

Eighty-two of those in the hospital are not vaccinated against Covid.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 474 of 494 licensed beds in use

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 165, a decrease of 10 from Thursday. Of those, 40 are in the intensive care unit and 13 are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 95 of 100 staffed ICU beds and 695 of 710 non-ICU beds in use. 

New Covid deaths reported: 19

No Marion County residents were listed. Friday’s report included a 53-year-old woman from Polk County who tested positive on Aug. 26 and died on Sept. 14 at Salem Hospital. The presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

New Covid vaccines in Oregon: 3,571 new Covid vaccine doses administered on Sept. 16, including 1,874 first doses.

Source: Oregon Health Authority, Salem Health

-Saphara Harrell

September 17, 2021 at 4:53pm

Two weeks into school, 48 Covid cases, 99 quarantines among 39,000 Salem-Keizer students

Student mentor Yilda Yamilex Molina-Cruz, right, gives directions to senior Atziry Velazquez on the first day of school at North Salem High School on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Salem-Keizer School District has moved one kindergarten class to online instruction temporarily after a student tested positive for Covid, but has so far avoided large Covid outbreaks or mass quarantines two weeks into the school year.

As of Sept. 16, the district had recorded a total of 48 cases where a student with Covid was inside a school building, district spokesman Aaron Harada said. Another 99 students have been sent home to quarantine because they had close contact with another person who had Covid at school.

That's out of 38,825 students across the district in kindergarten through high school who are enrolled for in-person classes.

Harada said a kindergarten class at Chapman Hills Elementary will be moved online for one week starting Monday after a student came to school with Covid. That's because the district's health authority, which investigates Covid cases, determined that student was in close contact with enough classmates that it was both safer and more practical to move classes online. Kindergarten classes began Wednesday at most district schools.

The class accounts for 20 of the 43 elementary school students who the district has asked to quarantine.

Harada said Covid cases reported in schools have generally been isolated, and the Chapman Hills class is to date the only case of an entire class being asked to quarantine. District nurses are investigating two high school cases they believe may be linked to an athletic event, he said, but have otherwise not found evidence Covid has spread inside classrooms or at school events.

The school district follows state and federal quarantine guidelines, which say people fully vaccinated against Covid don't need to quarantine even if they're exposed to someone who's sick unless they show symptoms of illness. Unvaccinated students also don't need to quarantine if they were consistently at least three feet away from a sick classmate and both were wearing masks at all times, state guidelines say.

Districtwide, 28 employees who work in schools have tested positive for Covid since school began, and 17 more have been sent home to quarantine, Harada said.

District elementary schools so far have reported 17 Covid cases among students. Middle schools have six and high schools 25.

The district is working to create a dashboard on its website to regularly publish information about the number of Covid cases and quarantines at local schools, chief operations officer Mike Wolfe said.

-Rachel Alexander

September 17, 2021 at 12:49pm

Colorful dances, music featured at Oregon Capitol's Hispanic Heritage Month event Saturday

Casa de la Cultura Tlanese (Courtesy On Location Photography/World Beat)

The Oregon State Capitol will host a virtual event Saturday celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The free event will stream family-friendly video performances from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including musical entertainment, dance and speakers, on Facebook and the Capitol’s website, according to a prepared statement from the Capitol.

The public can watch performances from the Casa de la Cultura Tlanese, Ballet Papalotl, Huehca Omeyocan, Peña Charra del Oeste Oregón and the Peruvian Cultural Festival.

Patricia Gimenez, chair of Western Oregon University’s Spanish department, will give a talk on Arabic’s historic influence on the Spanish language, according to the statement.

Gov. Kate Brown will also read a proclamation for Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

The Oregon State Capitol Foundation is sponsoring the event as part of the Capitol History Gateway project, through which it set up exhibits, tours, presentations and other programs for people visiting the Capitol, the foundation’s website said.

Organizers partnered with the Salem Multicultural Institute and World Beat Gallery, as well as the Oregon Folklife Network for this year’s event.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian