Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Covid numbers still climbing in Salem

May 20, 2022 at 4:58pm

Salem man charged with beheading cat, two birds

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A Salem man is charged with killing a cat, pigeon and crow found in a business parking lot after police say he beheaded and mutilated the animals.

Micah Smith, 26, was charged Friday with first-degree aggravated animal abuse and five counts of first-degree animal abuse in Marion County Circuit Court, according to court records.

A Salem police officer responded May 12 to a call reporting a pigeon that was dismembered and disemboweled, with “redrum” graffitied near the pigeon, the Salem Police Department said in a Friday news release.

A few days later, a crow was found dead and similarly mutilated with more graffiti added," police said in the release. Another officer on Thursday responded to the same location "when a cat was found."

The cat was beheaded and had other injuries to its body, according to the release.

Salem police identified and arrested Smith Friday, and he was booked into Marion County Jail.

Marion County Circuit Court Judge Pro Tem Natasha Zimmerman set Smith's bail at $250,000 Monday.

He remained in custody as of Friday afternoon, the jail's roster showed.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

May 20, 2022 at 12:40pm

Catch a flamenco-inspired saxophone performance in Sunday concert

(Salem Symphonic Winds)

If the return of spring weather has you in a dancing mood, Salem Symphonic Winds has a Sunday afternoon concert to help.

The ensemble is putting on "Concertango" by Spanish composer Luis Serrano Alarcón, featuring a solo alto saxophone with a jazz trio. Guest artist Randy Kem on saxophone, Jof Lee on piano, Tim Gilson on bass and Mike Snyder on drums will perform. The piece fuses tango, flamenco and jazz elements.

The show is at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Elsinore Theatre, 170 High St. S.E., with a pre-concert talk by the conductor at 2:15 p.m. Learn more about the show on the wind ensemble's website, or buy tickets online. Tickets are $13 for students and $23 for adult general admission.

Also featured is the U.S. premiere of a new clarinet concerts, "Scent," by composer Saül Gómez Soler.

"Scent explores and musically depicts aromas that influence our lives, including fresh herbs, smoke in the city, a flower garden, and bitter coffee," said a press release from Salem Symphonic Winds.

The concert also features a vocal performance and dance by Mexican composer Arturo Márquez.

-Rachel Alexander

May 20, 2022 at 10:54am

Salem weekly Covid report for May 20: Cases, hospitalizations still climbing

Used masks fill a garbage can at Salem Hospital on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Covid cases remain on the rise in the Salem area and statewide, and local hospitalizations have also increased. State health officials said Wednesday they expect hospitalizations during the current wave to peak in June.


The average number of Covid patients at Salem Hospital is up slightly from last week.

Salem Health stopped publishing weekly reports on Covid inpatients on March 25 as the omicron surge began to wane. As of Friday, May 20, the hospital had 22 inpatients with Covid, none of whom were in the ICU or on a ventilator. 

There were 508 of 494 licensed hospital beds in use.

Michael Gay, Salem Health spokesman, said the number of hospitalized Covid patients over the past week has remained between 20 and 22. Last week, the daily number was between 12 and 17 Covid inpatients.

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 36 people hospitalized with Covid as of May 19, compared with 29 the week prior and 22 two weeks ago.


The number of new Covid cases reported climbed statewide and in Marion and Polk Counties. This data is for the week ending May 18. 

Marion County: 80.6 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 161.5 cases per 100,000 residents.

That’s up from 75.3 average daily cases for the week ending May 11, and 67.6 average daily cases the week ending May 4. 

9.3% of Covid tests this week were positive, up from 6.4% last week.

Polk County: 27.7 new Covid cases per day on average, a rate of 231.5 cases per 100,000 residents. 

That’s up from an average of 20 daily cases the week ending May 11 and 18.4 daily cases the week ending May 4.

10.1% of Covid tests this week were positive, up from 7.6% last week.

Oregon: 1,460.7 new cases per day on average, up from 1,282 average daily cases the week prior; 10.5% of tests positive, compared with 10.1% the week prior.


The Oregon Health Authority switched to a monthly report on breakthrough cases and will release its next report June 7.


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

-Rachel Alexander