Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Sheriff's office taking some crime reports online

April 7, 2022 at 4:22pm

City, state clear RVs from Wallace Road Park and Ride a week after park sweep

People camping at Wallace Marine Park gather their belongings as city crews city sweep a homeless encampment on March 31. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

The city of Salem and the state Department of Transportation cleared the Wallace Road Park and Ride this week after officials say people were camping in recreational vehicles at the west Salem facility.

Cole Mullis, ODOT District 3 manager, said several people moved RVs to the state-owned property after city crews swept a homeless encampment at Wallace Marine Park on March 31.

ODOT and city staff issued notices this week that the Park and Ride was not an "authorized safe park location," according to a city homelessness update Monday.

They worked with Oregon State Police to move people out of the area by Wednesday.

Mullis said he didn't know how many people were camping at the Park and Ride. "There was quite a few. Seven, eight, maybe," he said.

He also said ODOT received "dozens of complaints" about the camping.

Prior to the Wallace Marine Park sweep, ODOT posted notice March 17 to vacate 16 other locations along Front, Marion and Center streets in downtown Salem.

Another sweep at Wallace Marine Park is scheduled for Thursday, the city update said.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

April 7, 2022 at 2:35pm

Awesome 3000 won't happen in 2022, future uncertain

Cailinn O'Brien, center, at her first Awesome 3000 race in 2010 with cousin Austin Weigel, left, and friend Adam Biggler (Courtesy/LaTishia Crosen)

The Awesome 3000, a once-signature Salem event, won't happen in 2022.

It's the second year in a row the fun run, a major fundraiser for the now-defunct Salem-Keizer Education Foundation, won't take place - and the future of the race remains uncertain following the foundation's closure in June 2020.

The race began in 1983 and featured several hundred young competitors, with a $5 entrance fee going toward grants for local teachers. It was held annually up to 2020, though the pandemic postponed it several months past its normal early May date.

When the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation shut its doors following a period of financial challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, several Salem nonprofit organizations agreed to take on its core programs.

United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley had planned to take on the race along with the foundation's after school Enrichment Academy programs.

But Liz Schraeder, chief development officer for United Way, said they've made no plans for a 2022 event. Schraeder said United Way remains open to organizing future events and working with the district to determine what the race might look like in the future.

“We are interested in having those conversations," she said.

The Salem-Keizer School District currently has no plans for the race, said spokeswoman Emily Hicks.

"As we continue to move forward from the Covid-19 pandemic, the district will look at ways to collaborate with our local community partners to bring activities such as this to families," she said in a text.

-Rachel Alexander

April 7, 2022 at 9:09am

Sheriff's office starts new online reporting system for some crimes

Marion County residents now have an option to report certain crimes to the sheriff's office online instead of waiting to reach a deputy.

The new Public Safety Citizens Service Portal is reserved for reports with no suspect information for incidents that occurred in response areas the Marion County Sheriff's Office covers, according to a news release.

People can report several types of incidents through the new system: hit and run (where no people are injured), theft from a building, theft of services, graffiti, suspicious activity, lost property, theft of mail, telephonic harassment, identity theft, vandalism, fraud or shoplifting.

People can still report incidents by calling the sheriff's office's non-emergency number at (503) 588-5032 and speaking directly with a deputy. Deputies in 2021 handled over 30,500 calls for service.

“By offering people multiple ways to report crimes our goal is to be respectful of our community members time and ensuring they have an option that is accessible and convenient to meet their needs," said Jeff Stutrud, enforcement division commander, in the news release.

The sheriff's office serves unincorporated areas of Marion County, contracted cities and the East Salem Service District.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian