Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Marion County commissioners meet Wednesday

January 25, 2022 at 5:41pm

School bus rear-ends SUV Tuesday morning, no children injured

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The driver of a Salem-Keizer school bus rear-ended a car Tuesday morning but did not injure any children inside, police said.

A Salem Police Department officer was driving in the 3200 block of Northeast Sunnyview Road around 9:14 a.m. when he saw a school bus on the side of the road with other cars, said Lt. Debbie Aguilar, Salem Police spokeswoman.

The officer learned the driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe had his blinker on and was preparing to turn left into his driveway when the driver of the bus, traveling westbound, braked but couldn't stop in time before hitting the car.

The crash caused the Tahoe to move forward and hit a tree in front of the driver's residence, Aguilar said.

Another bus picked up the children on board and took them to school.

The driver of the car suffered minor injuries but was not transported to a hospital. The driver of the bus was not injured from the crash but was "pretty shaken up" and taken to a hospital, Aguilar said.

Aguilar said there is no criminal investigation related to the crash.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

January 25, 2022 at 4:56pm

Data digest: Covid by the numbers for Jan. 25, 2022

The total number of patients with Covid at Salem Hospital hit a new high Jan. 25, 2022 (Graphic by Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

As Covid hospitalizations continue to rise again due to the omicron variant, Salem Reporter is again publishing case and hospitalization information daily. Here’s our report for Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Salem Hospital has 119 patients hospitalized with Covid as of Tuesday morning, the highest one-day total since the pandemic began. The previous record was 112 Covid patients on Sept. 6 during the delta surge.

Total Salem Hospital patients with Covid: 119 as of Tuesday morning, an increase of 10 from Monday.   

Of those, eight are in the intensive care unit, and two are on ventilators.

Seventy of those in the hospital are not vaccinated against Covid, and 49 are vaccinated.

Salem Health does not consistently report the number of patients who have received a booster vaccine dose because of the difficulty tracking whether patients are eligible for a booster in real time, spokeswoman Lisa Wood said. The vaccinated patient count includes any patient who has received at least two doses of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Total Salem Hospital bed occupancy: 514 patients; the hospital is licensed for 494 beds.

Note: Salem Reporter inadvertently listed the wrong day’s bed count in our Jan. 24 update. Salem Hospital had 496 patients yesterday. We apologize for the error.

Total people hospitalized with Covid in Region 2 (Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lincoln counties): 192. Of those, 13 are in the intensive care unit and three are on ventilators.

Total Region 2 hospital bed occupancy: 82 of 85 staffed ICU beds and 553 of 562 non-ICU beds in use. 

New Covid cases reported in Marion County: 841

New Covid cases reported in Polk County: 193

New Covid deaths reported: 41 in Oregon

-Rachel Alexander

January 25, 2022 at 2:48pm

Rotary Club donation will help add outdoor play space at Gilbert House

Milana Bakun, 5, center plays in the bubble room along with brother Micah, 3, right, and Zoya Miller, 3, at Gilbert House Children's Museum on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A $60,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Salem will pay for one of six new outdoor exhibits planned at A.C. Gilbert House Children's Museum.

It's among the larger donations to a capital campaign the nonprofit Salem museum has underway to tear down its aging outdoor play structure and replace it with exhibits focused on exploring water, sand and other natural elements.

The changes are intended to make the play area more accessible to children and provide a variety of activities kids can participate in, either by themselves or with adults.

The club selected the Salem museum as the recipient of its 2021-22 GoodWorks Grant from among 22 applications, according to a press release.

The grant program annually supports a project that provides for the health, education or general welfare of the Salem community, particularly young people, the release said. Grant applications for next year's award will open in August or September, and the club has an auction on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. to support the grant program. That event will be held at the Historic Grand Theatre.

Karin Holton, the museum's promotions coordinator, said the museum has raised about $375,000 toward its $600,000 goal. The museum is planning to break ground in the fall and open the new area in February 2023.

-Rachel Alexander

January 25, 2022 at 12:34pm

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider grant for programs that reduce imprisonment

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider a grant from the state to fund community-based programs that help keep people out of prisons, and more funds for construction to make Lancaster Drive safer for drivers and pedestrians.


Commissioners will consider appointing Ryan Matthews as Marion County's Community Mental Health Program director. Matthews is the county's health and human services administrator.

The board will consider approving a nearly $5 million grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to fund community-based sanctions and programs that help keep people out of state prisons "while protecting public safety and holding individuals accountable," according to the agenda item. The grant, which would go to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, would be retroactive to July 1, 2021 and last through Dec. 31, 2023.

Commissioners will also consider appointing Brian Carrara, Stephanie McClung, Rebecca Shivers Singleterry and Scott Heesacker, and reappointing Dan Mullen, to the Ambulance Service Area Advisory Committee. Their terms would end Jan. 31, 2025.

They will also consider adding around $470,000 to a contract with Quincy Engineering for construction on Lancaster Drive, which "is in need of complete rehabilitation from a safety and preservation standpoint," the agenda item said.

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