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UPDATES: Covid cases, hospitalizations rising

April 22, 2022 at 2:18pm

AGENDA: Salem City Council meets Monday to consider raising deputy chief pay, proposed Meyer Farm subdivision

Salem City Council Chambers. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Salem City Council meets Monday evening to consider raising pay for the Salem Police Department's deputy chief by 8%. They'll also consider a final order affirming a scaled back development plan to build over 100 single family lots on the historic Meyer Farm property in south Salem.

AGENDA

Councilors will consider using $150,000 from the county's contingency funds to cover a grant for the Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance. The council in December approved a federal American Rescue Plan grant for the nonprofit but later learned the proposed use is not eligible for that money.

The council will consider increasing the deputy police chief's compensation by 8%, from a monthly pay range of around $11,880-$13,260 to a new range of $12,720-$14,320. They will also consider extending the city's hiring bonus program, which expired Feb. 28, until Sept. 28. A bonus of $7,500 per hire is offered for lateral police officer transfers - officers who leave one agency to work for another - and other positions that are difficult to fill.

Councilors will consider adopting a final order to affirm the city planning administrator's approval of a proposed subdivision on the Meyer Farm property, located at 4540 Pringle Rd. S.E. The council on March 28 voted 4-3 for a scaled back development plan after the developer modified the proposal to reduce the number of significant trees removed during the development from 17 to six and the lot total from 139 to 126. Monday is the deadline to adopt the final order.

There will also be a public hearing over an amendment to the city's 2021 Housing and Community Development Annual Action Plan. According to the agenda item, city officials learned they would receive around $2.35 million in federal ARPA funds after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approves the amendment.

The funds would cover projects including $1.5 million for new construction at Sequoia Crossings, $250,000 for building the HOPE Plaza building to provide affordable housing to domestic violence survivors, and $100,000 for domestic violence hotline and case management. They also include $47,000 for case management for homeless women, $35,965 for homeless youth and $60,000 for homeless families.

There will be another public hearing over adopting the 2022-23 Community Development Annual Action Plan.

The first goal of "end homelessness" totals $1.77 million, including $165,000 to the Marion/Polk Food Share for homeless prevention for seniors, $700,000 to the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency's Head Start program for the Wallace Early Learning Center, $450,000 to Seed of Faith Ministries for rehabilitating its warming shelter, and $140,000 to St. Francis Shelter and $300,000 to the ARCHES Project for tenant-based rental assistance.

The second goal of expanding affordable housing would provide $50,000 to the Center for Hope and Safety to build 20 new rental units at HOPE Plaza, $300,000 to Integrated Services for Living to rehabilitate 11 rental units at Fisher/Sizemore Apts., $600,000 to Community Development Partners to build 184 rental units at "Gateway Salem," $650,000 to Applegate Landing, LLC to build 48 rental units for veterans at Applegate Terrace Apts., and $650,000 to DevNW to build 24 affordable for-sale housing at Macleay Road Single Family Homes.

How to participate: View the meeting on YouTube or watch on CC:Media Channel 21. Submit comments on agenda items by 5 p.m. on the day of the meeting at [email protected] Public comment and testimony may also be provided during the meeting via Zoom. Pre-register between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting at the following link: https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/Public-Comment-at-Salem-City-CouncilMeeting.aspx

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

April 22, 2022 at 11:24am

Colin Mochrie coming to Elsinore with hynosis-improv act "Hyprov"

Hypnotist Asad Mecci and improviser Colin Mochrie will take the stage at the Elsinore Theatre April 28 for their "Hyprov" comedy show. (Courtesy photo)

Colin Mochrie has been racking up marriage proposals.

The Canadian improviser, best known for his years on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, is on tour with master hypnotist Asad Mecci for a combination improv-hypnosis comedy show that draws on willing audience members to surrender to Mecci’s suggestions. Sometimes, that means improvised proposals to Mochrie.

“I’ve met a couple of nice guys and some of them still keep in touch,” Mochrie said in a recent interview with Salem Reporter.

The two will take the stage for their “Hyprov” show at Salem’s Elsinore Theatre Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.

Mecci said he conceived of the idea of hypnotizing audience members who then participate in improv. He emailed Mochrie’s manager cold.

“I thought it was terrifying,” Mochrie said of the concept. He signed on right away. “I have the most fun when there is no way to predict what is going to happen,” he said.

The show relies on 20 audience volunteers who are summoned to the stage to be hypnotized, then participate in improv. The group is whittled down to five, who then perform with Mochrie.

Mecci said contrary to popular impressions about hypnosis, audience members remain conscious and can remember their participation. His hypnosis renders them more suggestible, which makes for better performances.

“First-time improvisers, they will look self-conscious, they will look nervous, they will hesitate, they will try to be funny, they will play to the crowd in a not funny way,” Mecci said. “People who are hypnotized just carry out my suggestions” rather than worrying about whether their hair looks bad or they’re sweating too much.

Mochrie said working with volunteers keeps the improvisation fresh. Unlike his “Whose Line” co-stars, Brad Sherwood and Wayne Brady, Mochrie said he often can’t tell where an audience member will take a scene.

“We improvise things that I don’t think even improvisers would come up with because they’re just reacting honestly to what we’re giving them,” Mochrie said.

Audience members who want to volunteer should contact the Elsinore box office in advance to provide proof of vaccination against Covid or a negative Covid test within 72 hours of the show. The box office can be reached at (503) 375-3574.

-Rachel Alexander

April 22, 2022 at 10:43am

Salem weekly Covid report for April 22: Regional hospitalizations, cases rising

Empty beds in the hallway of the emergency room at Salem Hospital (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Covid cases are ticking up again in Oregon both statewide and in the Salem area. Hospitalizations remain low locally and regionally, but have increased from a low point several weeks ago. Here’s our report for April 22, 2022.

HOSPITAL CAPACITY

Hospitalization numbers at Salem Hospital are still near their low point for the entire pandemic, while the region’s numbers have climbed over the past week.

Salem Health stopped publishing weekly reports on Covid inpatients on March 25 as the number has continued to decline. As of Friday, April 22, the hospital had eight inpatients with Covid, two of whom were in the ICU, and none on ventilators. 

There were 470 of 494 licensed hospital beds in use.

Lisa Wood, Salem Health spokeswoman, said the number of hospitalized Covid patients over the past week has remained steady at seven or eight.

The graph below shows the hospital’s trends from the start of the delta surge until March 25, when weekly reporting stopped.

(Graphic by Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Region 2, which is Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, had 21 people hospitalized with Covid as of April 21, compared with 14 the week prior and 15 two weeks ago.

CASES

The number of new Covid cases reported climbed statewide and in Marion and Polk Counties. This data is for the week ending April 20. 

Marion County: 35 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 70.2 cases per 100,000 residents.

That’s up from 21.1 average daily cases for the week ending April 14, and 18 average daily cases the week ending April 6. 

4.7% of Covid tests this week were positive.

Polk County: 12.4 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 103.8 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s up from an average of 5.9 daily cases the week ending April 14 and 4 daily cases the week ending April 6.

7.1% of Covid tests this week were positive.

Oregon: 648 new cases per day on average, up from 417 average daily cases the week prior; 6.3% of tests positive, compared with 5.4% the week prior.

VACCINATION AND BREAKTHROUGH CASES

The Oregon Health Authority said in early April it would reduce the frequency of its breakthrough case reports to monthly. The next report will be published May 5.

MANDATES

Oregon’s mask mandate lifted on March 11 at 11:59 p.m. 

-Rachel Alexander