Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Share experiences, opinions about discrimination with city

May 5, 2022 at 3:45pm

Poll: Drazan leads crowded Republican field for Oregon governor

State Rep. Christine Drazan, R-Canby, speaks during a legislative special session on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

The former House Republican leader has moved to the top of a crowded field of GOP candidates for Oregon governor with less than two weeks left before the May 17 primary election, according to a new independent poll.

About 19% of the 514 likely Republican voters who responded to the poll chose Christine Drazan, who represented Canby in the House until this spring. Bob Tiernan, former Oregon Republican Party chair, came in second with 14%, and 2016 nominee Bud Pierce, who led a previous poll, fell to 9.5%. 

Trey Rosser, Drazan’s campaign manager, said in a statement that the poll from Salem-based Nelson Research shows Drazan has established herself as the “clear frontrunner.” 

“While today’s poll results are encouraging, the only poll that matters is the one that arrives at 8 p.m. on May 17,” he said. “We are confident that voters will continue to recognize that Christine is the only candidate with the leadership, experience, and vision to start leading our state in a new direction on Day One.” 

The poll, conducted April 29 to May 2, also found that more than a quarter of Republicans still haven’t decided who to vote for. That’s down from a few weeks ago, when more than two-thirds of voters hadn’t made up their minds in a poll by the same firm.

Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, to return their ballots to a drop box or mail them. For the first time this year, ballots mailed and postmarked by Election Day will be counted. 

So far, more than 70,000 Oregon voters – about 2.5% of those eligible – have returned their ballots. That includes more than 18,000 Republicans eligible to vote in the GOP primary for governor. 

Nineteen Republicans are running for governor, though the poll only asked about 14 of them. The eventual nominee is likely to receive just a fraction of the primary vote because of the size of the field. 

Along with Drazan, Tiernan and Pierce, more than 5% of respondents said they would select Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam, former Alsea School District superintendent Marc Thielman or Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten. West Linn publisher Bridget Barton and Medford businesswoman Jessica Gomez, both of whom have raised enough money to qualify for participation in sponsored debates, were backed by 2.7% and 2.1% of respondents, respectively.

Among Democrats, former House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read are essentially waging a one-on-one primary despite a field of 15 candidates. The eventual Democratic and Republican nominees will likely face a three-way race with Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state senator now running a well-funded independent campaign for governor. As a non-affiliated candidate, Johnson must gather about 24,000 signatures from Oregon voters by Aug. 30 to qualify for the ballot.

-Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle

May 5, 2022 at 3:25pm

Salem man charged with discharging firearm in city limits, court records show

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A Salem man was arrested Wednesday after police responded to a call reporting shots fired in Northeast Salem.

Michael Seufert, 21, was charged Thursday with unlawful use of a weapon and possessing a firearm as a felon, both felonies, in Marion County Circuit Court.

The charges allege Seufert discharged a firearm within Salem city limits "at or in the direction of" a person within range, according to court records.

The Salem Police Department received a call shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday reporting shots fired in the 3300 block of Fairhaven Avenue Northeast, said Angela Hedrick, Salem police spokeswoman.

Seufert was arrested outside his apartment, she said.

He was in custody at the Marion County Jail as of Thursday afternoon, the jail's roster showed.

Seufert previously pleaded guilty in November 2019 to first-degree burglary, two counts of fourth-degree assault, strangulation, and third-degree assault in Marion County Circuit Court related to a domestic violence incident. Other charges of fourth-degree assault, strangulation and interference with making a report were dismissed as part of his plea deal, court records showed. He was sentenced to three years and nine months in state prison in that case.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

May 5, 2022 at 10:11am

City of Salem asks community to share experiences, opinions about discrimination in local survey

(Courtesy/City of Salem)

The city of Salem is asking residents to share their experiences with and opinions related to discrimination in Salem through an online survey.

The 5 to 10-minute survey, conducted by Western Oregon University with the city's Human Rights Commission, is intended to better understand the level of discrimination in the city, according to the survey page.

Those who submit responses by May 14 can enter a random drawing for one of two $50 prepaid Visa cash cards paid for by an anonymous donor.

Individual responses will remain confidential and be "combined with the responses of others for analysis purposes," the survey said.

People can also leave comments at the end of the survey.

The city's 2021 survey found people without housing experience discrimination at a higher rate and frequency than any other group of Salem residents, with nearly 80% rating the city as "poor" or "failing" with a lot of discrimination.

Whites and Latinos were underrepresented in the survey

Whites and Latinos were underrepresented in last year's survey, with 66% and 12% of responses despite making up 81% and 24% of Salem’s population respectively, according to Census data.

Black people were overrepresented in the 2021 survey with 6% of respondents despite making up less than 1% of the city's population.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian