Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem-Keizer School Board meets Tuesday

May 10, 2022 at 3:28pm

Chemeketa offers tractor safety training, certification for teens 14-17

(Courtesy/Chemeketa Community College)

High schoolers teens can get training certification in tractor safety through an upcoming Chemeketa Community College course.

The course, which costs $79, is available to teens ages 14-17 is taught by certified instructors, according to the pre-registration form.

Students will be required to complete 12 hours of coursework at home and another 12 hours of in-person driving instruction on scheduled class days.

They will have to complete all online work as well as pass written and driving tests to get certified, and attendance is required at all sessions.

The form said classes are expected to fill up and those interested should complete the form as soon as possible. Those who do will be emailed their class location, schedule, materials and payment instructions after pre-registration closes Friday.

Classes are scheduled for June 16-18 at St. Paul High School, June 13-15 at Jefferson High School, June 20 and 24-25 at Chemeketa's Salem Campus, June 20-21 and 24 at Cascade High School, and June 27-29 at Silverton High School.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

May 10, 2022 at 12:15pm

With federal investment, seven Oregon highways to get charging stations every 50 miles

An electric school bus in the Salem-Keizer School District plugged in and charging (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

An electric vehicle charging station could soon exist every 50 miles on some of Oregon’s main highways. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation announced Friday it would direct $100 million over the next five years to growing a network of charging stations for cars, trucks and SUVs. Some will charge even medium-duty vehicles such as delivery vans. Electric vehicles built before 2016 have an average range of 100 miles on a single charge and today, get an average of about 250 miles, according to the Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of California, Davis.  

The state Transportation Department itself won’t be in charge of installing or operating the stations, but will contract with private companies to build them, according to a press release. 

The money comes from a mix of federal and state funds, but the bulk of it comes from the 2021 federal infrastructure bill. 

Of the $100 million, about two-thirds will go to building charging stations every 50 miles on seven major corridors. Those include Interstates 5, 84 and 82, U.S. Highway 26, U.S. Highway 101, U.S. Highway 20, and U.S. Highway 97. Each charging station will have at least four ports, and be built so that more can be added over time. 

There aren’t yet estimates for how stations will be built because costs vary depending on the type of charger and where they are installed, according to Matt Noble a public affairs specialist at the state Transportation Department. 

“We’re confident that this $100 million investment will be able to build a backbone network every 50 miles across the seven corridors,” he wrote in an email.

About $36 million will go to building out charging infrastructure in rural areas and cities, especially at apartment complexes. Noble said the department will meet with stakeholder groups during the next two years to figure out what needs are and where the stations would be best located in rural and urban areas. 

The state Transportation Department set a goal in 2021 of tripling the number of electric vehicles in Oregon by the end of 2023, and of expanding the statewide electric vehicle charging network in the state 10% by 2025. There are currently about 2,100 electric vehicle charging stations in Oregon, according to the Oregon Department of Energy.

The Transportation Department will be going after billions of dollars in federal grants for additional charging infrastructure that will work for heavy-duty electric vehicles such as commercial trucks and buses, according to the department’s press release.

-Alex Baumhardt, Oregon Capital Chronicle

May 10, 2022 at 10:54am

Salem-Keizer School Board considers new student rep, support for dual language expansion

The Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday will select its next student representative for the upcoming school year and consider revisions to board policies as the board aims to resume in-person meetings.


Board members will choose between two high school students, Raylin Brennan and Isaac McDonald, who have applied for the one-year volunteer position of student advisor to the school board. The current advisor, McKay High School senior Grace Caldwell, is graduating at the end of the year.

The board will consider adopting new policies governing public comments and practice as they plan to resume in-person meetings. The policies outline situations in which a person may be removed from a public meeting or district property, which include "abusive, threatening, vulgar, or hate speech, including speech articulated on signs and clothing," damaging district property, vandalism, fighting, threatening behavior, and "conduct that is disruptive to the functioning of district meetings/events or business; making unreasonably loud or disturbing noise."

"If a person deviates from behavior expectations articulated ... the meeting chair or individual facilitating the meeting will take corrective action," the policy says. "Repeated attempts may be taken to bring a disruptive participant in a meeting to order. If such attempts are unsuccessful, then the disruptive individual may be asked to leave the meeting, or they may be removed from the meeting space and/or district property. The board chair may pause, recess, or adjourn meetings when safety of the meeting and attendees is compromised. Security or law enforcement may assist." 

The board will consider a resolution in support of expanding the district's dual language programs, something administrators have planned to begin in the upcoming school year.

Board members will also vote on a 10-year property tax exemption for an apartment building scheduled for construction at 420 Center Street N.E. by applicant DD Salem Center Two under the city's multiple unit housing tax incentive program. The board on March 8 approved a five-year exemption. According to the agenda, since that vote, the developer has committed to providing 10 affordable housing units as part of the project and are now seeking the 10-year exemption allowed under the program.

Board members will also have a first reading on a contract amendment to the charter for Valley Inquiry Charter School, which would extend its contract an additional five years to 2031. The high school is expanding to add middle school grades, requiring a loan for infrastructure upgrades, and the lender is requesting assurance the school will still be operating at the end of the loan term, according to the agenda item. The board would vote on the amendment at its June 14 meeting.

To participate: The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 10 and will be held online only. Public comment sign-up closed Monday afternoon; comments will be posted on the district website the day after the meeting. View the meeting live on YouTube using the links below.

English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSUL-lQp_Cs

Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIWtll7TMLU

The meeting will also be broadcast on CC:Media, channel 21.

-Rachel Alexander