Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem police investigating fatal crash Sunday morning

December 6, 2021 at 4:06pm

SnoBall dance returns "Together Again" for 68th year

Students attend the SnoBall dance on Dec. 4, 2021 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion (Courtesy/Evyn Baker)

About 1,200 teens from schools across the mid-Willamette Valley gathered Saturday for the SnoBall dance, held annually since 1953.

The dance went virtual for 2020 as students on the planning committee decided they were unwilling to lose another high school tradition to the pandemic. But for 2021, it was back in person, with proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test required to attend, and students wearing masks on the dance floor.

Evyn Baker, a senior at West Salem High School, said this year's dance included 60 students on the planning committee from all six major Salem and Keizer high schools, as well as Dallas High School.

The group decided to make the dance's theme "Together Again."

"It was pretty awesome to see students dancing together again," Baker said in an email.

Students attend the SnoBall dance on Dec. 4, 2021 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion (Courtesy/Evyn Baker)

-Rachel Alexander

December 6, 2021 at 2:42pm

AGENDA: Salem City Council meets Monday to consider comprehensive plan update, waiving fees to install airport charging stations

Salem city council chambers on Wednesday, September 30. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Salem City Council meets Monday to consider amending the city's comprehensive plan, an application for grand funds to support commercial air service development and waiving fees to install charging stations at the Salem Municipal Airport.


Councilors will consider a resolution to update the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan and adopt the city's Housing Needs Analysis, as well as change the comprehensive plan map, zoning maps and zoning code. The resolution would initiate the process for those changes, and subsequent public hearings are expected next year. Salem's comprehensive plan dates back to 1973 and has been changed several times, but has never been fully overhauled.

They will consider accepting a donation by Ward Development, LLC, of a property adjacent to Fairview Park and covering their $149,275 street improvement cost.

Councilors will consider authorizing the city to apply for an $850,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation for commercial air service development at the Salem Municipal Airport. The federal Small Community Air Service Development program provides grants to help small communities address air service and airfare issues, according to the action item.

They will also consider waiving a ground lease fee for 10 years for installing electric aircraft and vehicle charging stations at the airport. Salem Aviation Fueling has partnered with BETA Technologies, a Vermont-based urban air mobility electric aircraft company, which has proposed installing up to three electric aircraft charging stations and two car charging stations at the airport. BETA Technologies is funding the entire cost of installation, estimated at $80,000, the action item said.

Councilors will also hear an update on the city's draft climate action plan, which was published in November. The council will vote on adopting the plan at a later date.

How to participate: Salem City Council meetings are all virtual. Anyone can watch live on CC:Media, channel 21 or on YouTube at 6 p.m. Monday.

Submit comments on agenda items by 5 p.m., or earlier, on 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.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

December 6, 2021 at 1:43pm

OHA opens free drive-thru Covid vaccine clinic in south Salem

Moderna vaccine doses at a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Centennial Park in Woodburn, Ore. on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Starting Monday, anyone five or older will be able to get a Covid vaccine at an Oregon Health Authority clinic in south Salem.

The state agency is opening a vaccine clinic with Marion County's Health & Human Services Department that will offer free vaccines daily at the Oregon Health Authority warehouse, 3455 Aumsville Highway S.E. in Salem.

Proof of health insurance is not required to get a shot, said Jonathan Modie, spokesperson for the Oregon Health Authority.

The clinic is open Monday through Saturday, noon to 7 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Adults can get a first or second vaccine dose or a booster shot. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all available. Pediatric doses of Pfizer vaccine, the only vaccine authorized for children age 5 to 11, are also available.

The clinic is one of about a dozen OHA is opening around the state as demand for Covid vaccinations has climbed since late October. Statewide, Oregonians are receiving about 21,000 vaccines per day on average, according to OHA data, compared with a recent low point of about 10,000 per day on Oct. 20.

-Rachel Alexander

December 6, 2021 at 10:03am

Man dies after crashing into tree in southeast Salem Sunday morning, police say

A man died early Sunday morning after police say he crashed into a tree in southeast Salem.

Salem Police Department patrol officers responded to a single-car crash around 6 a.m. Sunday in the 5700 block of Gaffin Road southeast, according to a Sunday news release.

Police believe the driver of a mid-size SUV was driving eastbound on Gaffin Road and “could not negotiate a slight bend in that portion of the road,” the news release said.

The car then went off the road and hit a tree. Fire personnel pronounced the driver,  Salomon Leyva-Ramirez, 23, dead at the scene. He was the only person in the car.

The Salem Police Traffic Team is investigating the incident.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian