Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem City Council meets to consider new ward boundaries

November 22, 2021 at 4:32pm

Police find no foul play in deaths of two found in Friday fire investigation

The Salem Fire Department (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Salem police detectives determined no foul play or criminal act was involved in the deaths of two people and a dog found in a west Salem home following a fire Friday morning.

The Salem Police Department said Monday afternoon that it completed its investigation into the fire, according to a news release.

Greg Walsh, emergency manager for the city of Salem, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Aaron Richard Harris, age 33, and Taylor Alyssa Wallace, age 25, were found dead the home, where they were living when the fire occurred.

The fire was reported around 7:55 a.m. Friday in the 1100 block of 8th Street Northwest, where witnesses said they saw smoke coming from a single-story home. Firefighters quickly contained and extinguished a “small fire” inside the home, the news release said.

Harris and Wallace were pronounced dead at the scene during a fire investigation, the release said.

Three dogs were also found - one inside the home that died, and two outside the home that survived and are being cared for by neighbors.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

November 22, 2021 at 4:09pm

Park for free at Silver Falls, other Oregon parks on "Green Friday"

Silver Falls in October 2021. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

If you're hoping to follow Thanksgiving with some time in nature, Oregon State Parks has a deal for you.

The state parks system is waiving all parking fees at the 26 parks that normally charge visitors to leave a vehicle. Those include Silver Falls State Park, Willamette Mission State Park and Champoeg State Heritage Area.

Parking fees are normally $5 per day, with an annual pass for $30.

The "Green Friday" promotion is intended to encourage Oregonians to spend time outside as an alternative to shopping on Black Friday.

State parks director Lisa Sumption called the promotion “an important acknowledgement that going for a walk or just being outdoors can relieve stress in a way that nothing else can."

-Rachel Alexander

November 22, 2021 at 11:17am

Keizer man arrested Sunday after walking away from corrections warehouse

The Oregon State Penitentiary on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

State police on Sunday arrested a man who walked away from an Oregon Corrections Enterprises warehouse Friday morning.

Oregon State Police worked with the state Department of Corrections' Fugitive Apprehensive Unit to arrest Benjamin Woods in Salem around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a corrections department news release.

Woods, 38, of Keizer, walked away from the warehouse on Oregon State Penitentiary grounds in Salem around 10:15 a.m. Friday, according to a Friday news release.

People in custody can be paid to do varying jobs at the warehouse including making furniture, metal work and laundry, corrections department spokesperson Jennifer Black said on Friday.

Black said there are Oregon Corrections Enterprises employees and a corrections department security officer onsite at the warehouse. The Oregon Corrections Enterprises employees are responsible for counting the adults in custody and go through the same training as corrections department security except for firearms and use of force training. "OCE participates in general self-defense," she said.

Woods entered the correction's department's custody on March 24. He pleaded guilty in February 2019 to attempted first-degree burglary and in March 2020 to first-degree burglary, both in Marion County Circuit Court, court records showed.

Before walking away from the warehouse, he was housed at the Santiam Correctional Institution and was working as a clerk at the corrections enterprises warehouse. His earliest release date is Aug. 29, 2024.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

November 22, 2021 at 9:59am

AGENDA: Salem City Council meets to decide on new ward boundaries

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

The Salem City Council meets Monday night to consider adopting one of three new ward boundary maps.

The new wards will change who Salem residents will be represented by depending on where boundary lines fall. Residents can weigh in on the three options during Monday’s meeting.

Read about the ward boundaries here

Councils will also consider a property tax exemption for a planned apartment complex in the former Nordstrom building.

They will consider the same exemption for a two-unit apartment building located at 231-233 Commercial Street N.E.

How to participate: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. on Nov. 15. View the meeting at CC:Media Channel 21 or on YouTube. Submit comments on agenda items by 5 p.m. on the day of the meeting at [email protected].

-Saphara Harrell