Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Celebrate Earth Day with photo contest, park visit

April 19, 2022 at 9:19am

Cherriots lifting mask mandate following federal ruling

(Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Salem's mass transit agency, Cherriots, is no longer requiring masks after a federal judge on Monday struck down a mask mandate on public transit and airplanes.

"Effective immediately, masks are encouraged but are now optional," said Patricia Feeney, the agency's communications director, in an email Tuesday morning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had extended the federal mask mandate on airplanes, trains and mass transit until May 3. It was originally set to expire Monday.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Florida ruled against the extension, saying the agency failed to justify its decision and follow proper rulemaking procedures, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Cherriots initially suspended bus service during the first weeks of the pandemic and has required masks since April 10, 2020. The agency's busses were one of the last places masks remained required in Salem following the March 12 lifting of Oregon's indoor mask mandate.

-Rachel Alexander

April 19, 2022 at 8:25am

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider funds for hazardous tree removal, trauma counseling for children

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider adding funding to existing contracts for removal of debris and trees damaged in the 2021 ice storm as well as counseling for children facing abuse, neglect trauma or grief.


Commissioners will consider a proclamation declaring the week of April 17-23 Volunteer Week in Marion County. They will also consider a proclamation recognizing April 22 as Earth Day.

The board will consider reappointing two members of the Marion County Solid Waste Management Advisory Council: Bonnie Sullivan as a business/industry member and Kevin Hines as a solid waste representative. The council, formed in 1989, has eight citizen-at-large positions and eight representatives from business and industry who make recommendations to the board of commissioners.

Commissioners will consider approving an order revising Marion County's policies on a "Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace," which includes new language stating county employees will be tested for alcohol by breathalyzer, blood test or urine test as decided by the county or relevant collective bargaining agreement.

They will also consider adding $90,000 to a contract with CDR Maguire, Inc. to provide monitoring and oversight over the removal of hazardous trees and debris from the February 2021 ice storm. Since the work began in November, contracted workers and city Public Works Operations staff have identified "a significant number" of additional hazardous trees and hangers that need to be removed, the agenda item said. The new contract would total $402,500.

The board will also consider adding around $69,500 to a contract with Liberty House for their Hope & Wellness Services program, which provides counseling for children and families to address concerns of child abuse, neglect, trauma or grief, according to its website. The new contract would total around $255,000.

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

April 19, 2022 at 7:40am

Celebrate Earth Day with Friday nature walks, ice cream

Marion County's Earth Day celebration will feature guided hikes and more.

On Friday, you could get a free ice cream sundae for celebrating Earth Day.

Marion County Environmental Services is hosting an Earth Day party April 22 from 4-8 p.m. at Spong's Landing Park, 6525 22nd Ave N in Keizer.

"This family-friendly event will provide educational outreach about the environment through activities like guided nature walks, terrarium building, and educational scavenger hunts," the county said in a news release Monday evening. "There will also be opportunities to win earth-friendly prizes like reusable versions of common single-use items, portable kits to facilitate item repair, and countertop composting bins to help reduce food waste."

The event is free and open to the public. The first 200 people to arrive will get free ice cream from the On Any Sundae ice cream truck.

If a month-long Earth Day observation is more your style, the county also has a Passport to Sustainability, a list of 20 activities that can be completed in April to reduce your impact on the environment and connect with nature. The list features activities divided by elements: air (including using public transit), earth (visiting a county park), fire (take a virtual Leave no Trace training) and water (sign up for a waterway cleanup).

Residents who complete activities can get prizes while supplies last, including a hydroponic gardening kit for people who complete all activities. More information is available on the county's Earth Day website.

-Rachel Alexander