Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem City Council delays vote on controversial subdivision

January 11, 2022 at 3:47pm

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Jan. 11, 2022

A health care worker wheels out a gurney in the emergency room at Salem Hospital on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

As Covid hospitalizations continue to rise again due to the omicron variant, Salem Reporter will begin publishing case and hospitalization information daily. Here’s our report for Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 73 as of Tuesday morning, a decrease of 11 from Monday. 

Of those, 10 are in the intensive care unit, and three are on ventilators. 

Forty-three of those in the hospital are not vaccinated against Covid.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 513 patients; the hospital is licensed for 494 beds

Salem Hospital is able to expand care beyond licensed bed capacity through waivers tied to the federal emergency declaration. 

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 125. Of those, 27 are in the intensive care unit and five are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 84 of 86 staffed ICU beds and 539 of 551 non-ICU beds in use. 

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 611

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 145

New Covid deaths reported: 35 in Oregon

-Saphara Harrell

January 11, 2022 at 1:56pm

Chemeketa seeks to renew college accreditation

Officials from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities will visit Chemeketa Community College this spring to evaluate the college's compliance with academic standards and reaffirm its accreditation.

Colleges in the U.S. are typically accredited by an independent agency which evaluates the school to ensure it provides students with a quality education.

Members of the public are invited to submit comments ahead of the commission's visit to Chemeketa, which is scheduled for April 11-13. Evaluators will meet with students, staff, faculty and the college's Board of Education during their visit.

The college last had its accreditation reviewed and reaffirmed in 2015.

Comments should address the college's qualifications for accreditation, and must be submitted in writing by March 11 to:

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

8060 165th Ave NE, Ste. 200

Redmond, WA 98502

-Rachel Alexander

January 11, 2022 at 11:24am

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider selling timber recovered from wildfire

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider selling timber recovered from the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire and a $2.5 million contract to interconnect traffic signals on some Salem roads.


Commissioners will consider two contracts with TK Elevator Corporation to pay for new elevators at the Marion County Courthouse and Marion County Jail. The agreement for the elevator at the courthouse would be about $251,700, and the contract for the jail's elevator would be about $107,500.

The board will consider a $101,500 contract with Brown and Brown Northwest for broker and consulting services to help the county with its employee benefits through Dec. 31.

Commissioners will also consider selling timber recovered from Niagara Park for $285,500 to Pleasant Hill-based Morrell Logging, LLC. The Beachie Creek wildfire in September 2020 damaged nearly all trees at the park on Highway 22 near Gates. The Oregon Department of Transportation removed trees that were potentially dangerous for drivers, and Marion County made an agreement with ODOT to remove hazardous trees from county parks. Most of the work at Niagara Parka is done, and ODOT has recovered about 700,000 board feet of timber. If approved, Morrell Logging, LLC would haul the recovered timber to a mill before rot starts affecting its market value.

They will also consider a $2.59 million contract with Northstar Electrical Contractors, Inc., a Wilsonville-based construction company, to interconnect traffic signals on Northeast Lancaster Drive, Silverton Road, and Cordon Road, as well as in downtown Salem on Center, Court and 12th streets. The new system would allow for communication between traffic signals. About $948,000 will be paid with federal funds, Marion County will pay for around $1.8 million and the city of Salem would cover $43,200.

Meeting details: The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

January 11, 2022 at 10:05am

Salem City Council delays vote on proposed subdivision on historic Meyer Farm

The proposed subdivision is on a 29-acre property at 4540 Pringle Rd. S.E. (Ardeshir Tabrizian/Salem Reporter)

The Salem City Council on Monday delayed a vote on a proposed subdivision on an historic farm in south Salem.

The delay is intended to give city staff more time to gather further information about the Meyer Farm property. A tentative plan approved by the city planning administrator calls for subdividing the 29-acre property at 4540 Pringle Road S.E. into 139 single-family lots.

The council unanimously voted to keep allowing public comment until Feb. 14 while the city forester determines the number of significant trees on the property.

Removing Oregon white oaks was one of the main concerns echoed in public comments.

Before the Feb. 14 meeting, city staff will summarize any additional evidence and present it during that council meeting. 

Previous coverage: Plan to redevelop historic Meyer Farm property draws strong opposition

-Saphara Harrell