Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem City Council meets Monday night to consider new ward boundaries, millions in legislative funding

20 days ago

Judge reduces sentences for brothers convicted as teenagers in 1993 Salem killing

A Marion County Circuit Court judge on Monday lowered the sentences of twin brothers convicted of murdering an elderly couple in Salem in 1993 when they were teenagers.

Lydell and Laycelle White were were each originally sentenced to nearly 67 years in prison. The two targeted Richard and Grace Remy, a couple in their 80s, brutally beating them and stealing their car. The Whites were 15 years old at the time of the murder.

Circuit Court Judge Lindsay Partridge on Monday sentenced the Whites to at least 40 years in prison and post-prison supervision for life, court documents showed. Their murder and aggravated murder charges were also reduced to second-degree murder.

The Oregon Department of Corrections will compute their remaining sentence, said Marion County Deputy District Attorney Amy Queen.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that sentencing an adolescent to life in prison violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment unless a court determined that the minor was beyond rehabilitation and their crime reflected “irreparable corruption.”

Lawyers for the Whites then petitioned to have their case reviewed and argued they had effectively been sentenced to life in prison. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the judgment against the Whites in May and sent their case back to state circuit court.

In response, the Oregon Department of Justice filed petitions asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hold the Whites’ cases open while deciding an appeal from Virginia that would have further affected which minors could have their sentences reversed.

After the state enacted a new law allowing parole for minors sentenced to 20 years to life, Virginia withdrew its appeal, prompting the state's department of justice to drop its petitions in February 2020.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

20 days ago

Educators highlight tribal government in new Salem community learning series

Salem-Keizer School District leaders want to move learning beyond the classroom.

The district is hosting its first "Community Learning Session" Monday evening focused on the historical relationship between the U.S. government and tribal governments. It will run from 6-7:30 p.m. as a virtual event on Zoom.

It's being presented by Angela Fasana, education manager for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. School board Chair Osvaldo Avila and Cynthia Richardson, the district's director of equity, access and advancement, will host the session.

It's free and open to the public.

Avila said the idea for a series of community-focused events came about while talking to district Superintendent Christy Perry about how the board could facilitate learning and better connect to the community.

"In seeking to build bridges and provide exposure and awareness of critical topics, we discussed on how we could shift from a school-centered culture to a community-centered culture that could benefit students, families and the board," Avila said in an email.

He said he hopes to offer upcoming sessions every other month, with at least three more this school year. Avila said he has several ideas for topics, but wants to hear feedback from the community about the first session.

"I do want to be intentional and assure the topics we land on are critical for our community," he said.

For more information and to register for Monday's session, visit the event page.

-Rachel Alexander

20 days ago

AGENDA: Salem City Council meets Monday to consider new ward boundaries, body camera funding

Salem City Council Chambers. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Salem City Council meets Monday to accept millions of dollars approved during this year’s legislative session, an agreement to construct a new pump in Turner and new ward boundaries.

AGENDA

Councilors will consider accepting $13 million in grants from the state Legislature that will go toward body cameras for police, homeless sheltering programs, a rental assistance program and motel improvements for homeless shelter.

Read more about plans for the body camera program here and ward redistricting proposals here.

The grants include:

-$816,000 for a police body camera program

-$10.5 million for homeless sheltering programs. Money can also be used for camp cleanups, a sobering center or crisis response

-$1 million for improvements to a motel the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency will use for homeless shelter

-$1 million for the Salem Housing Authority’s Homeless Rental Assistance Program and housing navigators

The councilors will consider new ward boundaries. There are three alternatives councilors will consider.

Councilors will also consider changing a tax incentive program that offers property tax breaks to multifamily housing projects to include affordable housing.

They will consider an intergovernmental agreement with Turner to construct a new water pump station.

They will also consider approving a 5% pay raise for Salem police lieutenants. 

To participate: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday and is streamed live on YouTube. Submit comments on agenda items by 5 p.m. the day of the meeting at [email protected]. Public comment and testimony may also be provided during the meeting via Zoom. Please pre-register between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting at the following link: https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/Public-Comment-at-Salem-City-CouncilMeeting.aspx

-Saphara Harrell