Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Showers, rain ahead as part of Salem wakes up to snow

April 13, 2022 at 5:56pm

Man pleads guilty to unlawful use of a weapon nine months after clash outside Planned Parenthood

A screengrab from Salem resident Joe Smothers' Facebook Live showing the July 14, 2021 clash outside Salem's Planned Parenthood.

A Woodburn man pleaded guilty last week to unlawful use of a weapon, stemming from a confrontation on July 13 outside Planned Parenthood in northeast Salem.

The charge alleges Joshua Dornon, 39, attempted to use a metal canister against another person, according to an indictment.

Dornon was sentenced to two days in Marion County Jail and three years of bench probation.

Charges of riot and attempted third-degree assault were dismissed as part of the April 7 plea deal, court documents showed.

In a July 14 news release, the Salem Police Department said they arrested two men during a protest in front of Planned Parenthood at 3825 Wolverine St. N.E. Dornon was not among those named in the release.

Police said the arrests followed a confrontation where people protesting against abortion and counterdemonstrators clashed and maced each other.

A grand jury in Marion County on July 22 also indicted Ricky Dale Clark, 65, of Beaverton, on charges of riot and attempted third-degree assault.

A trial in that case is scheduled to start June 21.

The charges allege Clark and at least five others engaged in "tumultuous and violent conduct," and that Clark attempted to physically injure a person while being aided by another person. The same victim is named in both Clark's and Dornon's indictments.

The Marion County District Attorney's Office did not respond to questions from Salem Reporter Wednesday about the incident, including whether any others involved are facing charges.

Salem police said in the release that around 6 p.m. on July 13, 2021, between 50 and 70 people attended a protest billed as “The Church at Planned Parenthood." Around 20 wore Proud Boys clothing and acted as “security,” carrying guns, bats and body armor.

Proud Boys are a far-right group that’s been involved in street brawls in Salem and around the U.S.

Twenty minutes later, police said about 40 counterprotesters arrived carrying bats, paintball guns and armor, and people from each side refused to obey officers’ orders, continued clashing, and maced each other and the officers.

The release said police used “crowd control munitions” and a “loud distraction device” to stop the physical assaults.

This story was updated to reflect the correct spelling of Joshua Dornon's name. Salem Reporter regrets the error.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

April 13, 2022 at 1:48pm

Salem's March unemployment rates lowest since pandemic began

Salem's unemployment rate in March was its lowest since the pandemic began, falling from 4% in February to 3.8%.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which doesn't include impacts from seasonal patterns, has been declining since May 2021 when it was at 5.8%, according to state Employment Department data.

The last time Salem's unemployment rate was below 4% was March 2020, when it was 3.9%. That figure skyrocketed the next month to 11.6% as businesses rapidly shed workers in response to stay-at-home orders and economic uncertainty.

The statewide unemployment rate has seen a similar decline, also falling from 4% in February to 3.8% in March.

Oregon's seasonally adjusted rate has been declining since it reached 6.1% in March 2021. The last time the rate was below 4% was also March 2020, when it was 3.5%. It rose to 13.3% the next month.

Last month, the state's seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment added 5,600 jobs, having added 9,700 in February, according to a Wednesday employment department news release.

The largest growth was 1,500 new jobs in construction and 1,400 in financial activities. The department also reported 900 new jobs in leisure and hospitality, 900 in other services, 800 in manufacturing and 700 in government.

Professional and business services was the only major industry that cut a significant number, losing 900 jobs.

The 1,400 new jobs in financial activities were in real estate rental and leasing, "boosted by the hot real estate sector," the news release said.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

April 13, 2022 at 11:03am

Weather should warm by end of week; south, west Salem report snow

Snowfall at Chinook Estates in the south Salem hills the morning of Wednesday, April 13 (Reader photo)

Parts of Salem saw a dusting of snow Wednesday morning, while a few outlying areas at higher elevation got a half inch or inch.

A dusting of snow over the next few days is possible in some areas of Salem, said meteorologist Colby Neuman, with the National Weather Service's Portland office, but overall he said Salem should expect rain showers.

The agency's seven-day forecast calls for rain showers through Saturday night in Salem.

“We could see snowflakes in the air at times during any heavier shower but there basically will be little to no accumulation at this point going forward," Neuman said. Snow sticking "would be probably more the exception than the rule."

On Wednesday morning, he said the south and west parts of Salem reported some light snow.

Salem-Keizer School District leaders decided to delay classes for two hours Wednesday based on road conditions between 3 and 4:30 a.m., district spokesman Aaron Harada said. Harada said drivers reported poor conditions in the south Salem hills and west of west Salem.

Neuman said by the end of the week, conditions will warm and the Salem area will return to more typical early spring weather, with high temperatures closer to the mid-50s.

“We’re finally coming out of this unusually cold pattern for mid-April," he said.

Snowfall the morning of Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at a west Salem home (Reader photo)

-Rachel Alexander