Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Free meals offered at Salem schools over winter break

December 20, 2021 at 6:15pm

Showers drag sewage into Willamette, Little Pudding rivers

A truck sends water flying while driving through water overflowing the road's surface by Mill Creek. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Heavy rain that started in the Salem area this weekend brought raw sewage into the Willamette and Little Pudding rivers.

In a Monday afternoon press release, the city of Salem said the combination of recent showers and excess water in soil caused the overflow.

Diluted raw sewage discharged starting at 6:23 a.m. from Union and Church Street, and from 1990 Wallace Road NW starting 11:03 a.m. The press release said the amount discharged is "yet to be determined" because it was continuing when the announcement was issued.

More discharge came from a sewage manhole at Northeast Glendale Avenue starting 9:21 a.m. to the west fork of Little Pudding from inside the city. The amount discharged hasn't yet been determined.

"When the ground becomes saturated, groundwater enters the sanitary sewer from cracks and holes in pipes in addition to footing drains and other sources of extraneous water from private property," the press release said. "When this occurs, the ability of the sewer system to transport sewerage to the water pollution control facility is exceeded and the system becomes surcharged. When these conditions become severe enough, the system relives itself via the authorized relief locations."

The press release said warning signs are being posted about avoiding contact with water in Willamette River "due to potentially high levels of bacteria," and they will be removed once bacteria levels are back to normal.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

December 20, 2021 at 3:56pm

Salem saw most rain in almost a year Sunday

Playground equipment is engulfed in flowing water from Mill Creek near Turner Monday. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Salem on Sunday saw the most rainfall it’s had since January as several Marion County roads are closed due to high water.

The city had 1.76 inches of rain Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Five of the seven areas of Salem listed on OneRain have had a five-to-ten-year event in the past 48 hours, between 3.6 and 4.1 inches. The agency is forecasting showers the rest of the week as well through Dec. 26. 

Salem has recorded more than an inch of rain on six different days in 2021, archived data from the weather service showed.

As of about noon Monday, four roads are closed indefinitely due to high water in Marion County, according to its website:

-Southeast Marion Road to Mill Creek Road 

-Northeast 75th Avenue from Roanoke Street to Rambler Drive (high water gates closed)

-South Wintel Road from Jorgenson Road to Marlatt Road

-Northeast Hazelgreen Road from Torvend Road to 10985 Hazelgreen Road (high water gates closed)

No city roads are closed due to high water, city spokeswoman Courtney Knox-Busch said in an email.

She said Salem has four stream locations just below flood stage:

-Battle Creek at Southeast Commercial Street 

- East Fork of Pringle Creek at Southeast Trelstad Road 

-Mill Creek at 3rd Street in Turner

-Glenn Creek at Northwest Hidden Valley Road 

“We are hoping that the rain begins to slow down and we will just escape having any creeks go above flood stage,” Mark Becktel, Salem’s public works operations director, said in an email. “We are still looking at a decent amount of rain this week with another 1.00 to 1.5 inches of rain between today and Thursday.”

The chance of rain is 90% Monday afternoon and 80% at night, 60% Tuesday and 80% that night, 100% Wednesday and 90% Thursday.

Busch said Salem residents are encouraged to track possible local flooding at https://hww.onerain.com/, and that sand bag filling stations are open at several locations.

After having 1.31 inches Jan. 2 and 1.93 inches Jan. 12 - the most this year - Salem saw an eight-month stretch without an inch or more of rain. Then came 1.13 inches on Sept. 18, 1.05 inches on Nov. 11 and 1.44 inches on Dec. 11.

A pickup drives through water from Mill Creek flowing over Marion Rd. SE near Turner Monday. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

A horse, dressed for the weather, stands in water overflowing into a pasture near Turner Monday. The horse was in no danger from shallow water (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

A truck sends water flying while driving through water overflowing the road's surface by Mill Creek. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

A vehicle sends water spraying through the air as it passes through water from Mill Creek flowing over Marion Rd.SE Monday. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

This post was updated with additional information from the city of Salem.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

December 20, 2021 at 1:38pm

Find elves hidden in Riverfront Park

Elves are hidden around Riverfront Park for a scavenger hunt.

A Christmas-themed scavenger hunt invites people to fund elves hidden in Riverfront Park.

There are "Twelve Elves of Christmas” hidden around the park in an event organized by volunteers. People who find them are encouraged to take a selfie and post on the Salem Parks Volunteers Facebook page.

Open the scavenger hunt online. 

-Saphara Harrell

December 20, 2021 at 12:53pm

Free lunch available at 11 Salem-Keizer schools during winter break

Shelli Dehut passes out free lunches to students at Hoover Elementary School in March 2020 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Eleven local schools will offer free lunch and activity packets for students enrolled in the Salem-Keizer School District during winter break, which begins Monday.

Lunches can be picked up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Auburn, Grant, Hoover, Richmond, Washington, Weddle, Wright and Yoshikai elementary schools, Walker Middle School and North Salem High School.

Meals are available Dec. 20-22 and Dec. 27-30.

School for students resumes Jan. 3.

-Rachel Alexander