Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem residents can quiz one of their U.S. senators

March 29, 2022 at 1:36pm

Judson Middle School teacher under investigation following report of "inappropriate image"

A Judson Middle School teacher is under investigation after the school's principal received a complaint about "an inappropriate image" being circulated on social media.

District spokesman Aaron Harada said Tuesday that teacher Dean Wright has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a district investigation.

Alicia Kruska, the principal of the south Salem middle school, notified school families of the investigation via email Monday.

"Today, I received a report of an inappropriate image believed to be a staff member being shared on social media," Kruska wrote. "It is believed that this image has been viewed by some students."

Kruska's email did not name the employee involved or their job, or provide specifics about the content of the image.

"The staff member has been placed on administrative leave, a standard process for allegations involving employees," Kruska wrote. "The district is cooperating with law enforcement who are investigating the complaint."  

District spokesman Aaron Harada on Tuesday declined provide further details about the specifics of the image or how it came to the school's attention, citing a "confidential personnel matter."

Salem police confirmed Tuesday they are investigating "potential inappropriate contact with a student by one of their staff members" following a report from the district, but declined to provide further details.

-Rachel Alexander

March 29, 2022 at 1:18pm

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider new Health and Human Services building

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider appointing a temporary county treasurer, and a contract for construction of a new Health and Human Services Department building.


Commissioners will consider authorizing Board Chair Danielle Bethell to sign documents to close the sale of 1505 and 1507 E Blaine St. in Woodburn for His Place, a new treatment based transitional housing program, for $775,000. Run by Marion County's Health and Human Services department, the program will provide childcare and other services for fathers with substance use disorders to help them with long-term recovery, as well as regaining custody of or reuniting with their children.

Commissioners will consider appointing former county commissioner Sam Brentano to temporarily fill the vacancy created by Marion County treasurer Laurie Steel's retirement, effective Thursday. Brentano if appointed would serve through the rest of 2022. He is the only candidate who's filed to run for the seat in 2022, and if elected would serve a four-year term.

The board will consider waiving building inspection fees for commercial buildings affected by the 2020 wildfires for five years, retroactive to Sept. 8, 2020.

Commissioners will also consider a $14.3 million contract with Triplett Wellman, Inc. for construction of a new Marion County Health and Human Services Building.

They will consider adding about $1.3 million to a contract with Downtown Storage and Warehouse, LLC to extend Marion County's storage lease for archives by five years. The new contract would end in March 2027.

The board will consider buying a $360,000 Etnyre chip spreader from PacWest Machinery to spread chip seals, which slow the aging process of paved roads. It would replace the existing 2001 chip spreader.

They will also consider buying a 2023 Fastwater 25" Center Console boat from Rogue Jet Boatworks inc. for around $117,000 to patrol waterways in Marion County.

Meeting details: The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. Anyone can sign up to give public comment in-person at the meeting. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

March 29, 2022 at 9:59am

Merkley schedules remote Marion County town hall for Thursday, March 31

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley in his Salem office. (Salem Reporter/file)

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has scheduled a virtual town hall for Marion County on Thursday, March 31.

The event is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. and Salem residents can access the session through Zoom or by telephone.

Merkley said in a statement he would provide an update on federal issues and then take questions.

Congress recently appropriated federal funds, providing millions for projects in communities across Oregon. Merkley sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairs a subcommittee that considers budgets for the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Interior Department.

The U.S. Senate is considering confirming President Joe Biden’s appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson, a federal appellate judge, to the U.S. Supreme Court and is expected to consider additional sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Those who want to participate online can click here to join the Zoom meeting.

For those using a phone, dial 669-254-5252. The necessary codes then: Meeting ID: 161 642 7830#; Participant ID: #; Passcode: 78482310#

–Les Zaitz