Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Free well testing for 2020 wildfire victims

23 days ago

Teen arrested after shooting Thursday night, no injuries reported

A 15-year-old boy was arrested Thursday night after police say he fired shots behind an AMPM convenience store.

Around 9:30 p.m. Thursday, patrol officers with the Salem Police Department responded to a call reporting shots fired behind the store in the 3800 block of Portland RD NE, according to a Friday news release from the department.

The department reported no injuries.

Surveillance video showed a man or boy shooting toward a vehicle in the store's parking lot. Witnesses helped police find a suspect who fled toward the Ridgecreek Manor Apartments in the 2400 block of Wayside TR NE. 

Salem police detectives who were working on a separate case responded to the scene and helped officers, the news release said. Police found spent casings in the parking lot and told neighbors to lock down the complex while a police dog team looked for the firearm.

"Through the witness statements and video footage, detectives identified an apartment where they believed the shooter was located," the news release said. Police contacted people inside the apartment, and the suspected shooter left the building and was arrested without incident.

The department isn't releasing the minor's name as juvenile court records are generally confidential under state law. He was lodged at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of second-degree attempted murder, unlawful use of a weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, reckless endangering and first-degree criminal mischief.

The department said in the news release that any inquiries about the incident should be directed to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.

"The Salem Police Department continues to dedicate resources from the Criminal Investigations and Patrol Division to address gun violence in our community," the news release said. "Our thanks to the residents and businesses for their efforts to help resolve these incidents which greatly impact our Salem neighborhoods. "

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

23 days ago

Pringle Elementary tagged with graffiti opposing vaccines, critical race theory

Graffiti found at Pringle Elementary the morning of Nov. 5, 2021 read "NO CRT", "NO VAC" and "LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE" (Courtesy photo)

A southeast Salem elementary school was tagged with graffiti opposing vaccines and critical race theory late Thursday or early Friday.

Pringle Elementary School principal Dave Bertholf alerted the district to the graffiti Friday morning after a custodian found it, district spokesperson Aaron Harada said. District maintenance crews removed it by noon, he said.

Photos posted on Reddit showed the graffiti along the front of the school, which read "NO VAC" "LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE" and "NO CRT," a reference to critical race theory, an academic framework that looks at the role race and racism play in U.S. history, law and institutions.

As of Friday afternoon, Salem police hadn't received a report about the graffiti, spokesperson Lt. Treven Upkes said.

Graffiti found at Pringle Elementary the morning of Nov. 5, 2021 read "NO CRT", "NO VAC" and "LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE" (Courtesy photo)

Graffiti found at Pringle Elementary the morning of Nov. 5, 2021 read "NO CRT", "NO VAC" and "LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE" (Courtesy photo)

-Rachel Alexander

23 days ago

AGENDA: Salem-Keizer School Board will review math, reading performance; grant spending

The Salem-Keizer School Board will review data on students' math and reading progress and sense of belonging at school in a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

AGENDA LINK

Board members will get a report on how the district spent its share of state Student Investment Account funding, which is intended to lower class size, add instructional time and provide more opportunities for art, music and other activities at school. The district received $11 million for the 2020-21 school year after planning for a $36 million allocation prior to the Covid pandemic.

Following the report, the board will vote on approving a quarterly report to the state about the district's progress.

The board will also consider a budget amendment reflecting an extra $21 million in federal money expected through the Federal Communication Commission's Emergency Connectivity Fund program to help schools provide remote learning access. The amendment also reflects the district receiving $3.3 million less in state general fund money than budgeted.

The board will consider proclamations for Native American Heritage Month and National Education Support Professionals Day.

Board members will also accept recent grants and donations, including a $360,000 donation from the  Lester & MaryLou Green Charitable Trust designated to be used at McKay High School.

Board members have allocated 45 minutes for hearing public comment over Zoom or live phone calls during the meeting.

"This time will be prioritized to hear public comment on board actions. Please use this time to inform the board on topics for board action rather than as a public forum to voice personal agendas. The board encourages and appreciates written public comment on an array of topics, which its members can read and contemplate ahead of the meeting," the board agenda said.

To participate: The meeting will be held virtually at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9. It will be broadcast live on CC:Media, channel 21, and on YouTube using the links below.

English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwzCNYhVYLg

Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag4aOygjN5k

Members of the public can also sign up to give public comment live during the meeting or submit written comments until 4 p.m. Monday using this form.

-Rachel Alexander

24 days ago

State offers free well water testing for 2020 wildfire victims

A white picket fence stands in front of the remains of a home in the Santiam Canyon near Gates. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

People impacted by the Labor Day wildfires in 2020 may be eligible for free well testing to determine if there are harmful bacteria or chemicals in their water.

The Oregon Health Authority is offering free domestic well water testing to about 2,000 households affected by wildfires that rely on wells for drinking water.

The Oregon Legislature allocated funds for free well testing because of the wildfires.

Well users whose properties were affected by wildfires can find steps needed to access the funds at www.healthoregon.org/wells.

If demand exceeds supply, people with low income and communities of color will be prioritized. The health authority is offering one testing voucher per well.

The agency will provide vouchers to well users through May 15, 2023.

Well users can select from a list of approved environmental laboratories in Oregon that will honor the vouchers for testing services. The tests will look for presence of bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, lead and chemicals that are hazardous by-products of fire.

-Saphara Harrell