Local News That Matters

UPDATES: "Suspicious" package at state corrections headquarters

May 31, 2022 at 4:49pm

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider federal funds for navigation center, other projects

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider approving federal pandemic relief funding, including for a long-awaited navigation center in Salem.


Commissioners will consider designating Juneteenth, a federal and state holiday traditionally celebrated June 19 as the end of slavery in the U.S., as a Marion County holiday.

The board will consider approving federal pandemic relief funding for several projects.

The city of Keizer would have $2 million approved for building two athletic fields at Keizer Rapids Park.

The city of Salem would have $3 million approved for remodeling an excising building it owns for a navigation center, intended to serve as short-term shelter for 35 to 40 people where they can stabilize for two to four months until they get into housing.

The city of Silverton would have $250,000 approved for transitional housing and homeless services.

The Marion Polk Food Share would have $750,000 approved for rebuilding the AWARE Food Bank in downtown Woodburn, which was damaged in a fire in August.

The Hope Pregnancy Clinic would have about $285,400 for Parenting Initiative, a mentoring and education program started in spring 2020 and "equips new mothers for parenthood," the agenda item said.

Commissioners will also consider a memorandum of understanding with Marion County Public Works to realign and Northeast Lebrun Road near Woodburn and replace the existing railroad crossing.

They will consider approving a roughly $1.27 million contract with Bridgeway Recovery Services for addiction treatment, recovery, prevention and gambling services.

The board will consider adding $283,000 to extend a contract with The Pathfinder Network, which helps people impacted by the criminal justice system re-enter their communities, by a year.

They will also consider a $500,000 contract with the city of Salem to provide jail work crews and supervision.

Meeting details: The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. Anyone can sign up to give public comment in-person at the meeting. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

May 31, 2022 at 1:30pm

Dr. Jesse Peters named WOU's next president

Dr. Jesse Peters was announced in late May as Western Oregon University's next president (Courtesy/Western Oregon University)

Dr. Jesse Peters, the dean of a small public liberal arts college in Colorado, will be Western Oregon University's next president.

The college's Board of Trustees plan to appoint Peters to the role at their next meeting on June 8, the university said in a news release Tuesday.

Located in Monmouth, WOU was a teacher training college from its early years and currently serves about 4,000 students, most of them undergraduates. The university has a smaller campus in downtown Salem targeting working adults.

Peters is currently dean of arts and sciences at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and serves as the college's interim provost. He's originally from Georgia and was a first-generation college student, studying English. He has a master's degree and Ph.D from the University of New Mexico, where he studied Native American literature, according to his biography.

"The campus asked for a transformational president to lead us into the future and we found that in Dr. Peters. The Board was impressed with Jesse’(s) track record in student success, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and transparent communication. We are confident he will hit the ground running when he joins us in Oregon,” Betty Komp, board chair for the university, said in a statement. 

Peters was named one of four finalists for the role in April, the Polk County Itemizer-Observer reported. He was selected after another finalist for the role, Sukhwant Jhaj backed out. The Board of Trustees named Jhaj the college's next president in early May. In mid-May, Jhaj told the university he would be unable to take on the job "due to compelling and unforeseen personal reasons," university spokeswoman Paula Baldwin said in an email.

“It is my pleasure to serve Western Oregon University as its next President. The institution is poised for great things, and I will work diligently to lead positive and innovative change, working closely with faculty, staff, and students. We will reaffirm our strengths as we look to a vibrant future, where WOU is a growing and thriving place of opportunity," Peters said in a statement. He said student success and retention will be his priorities while setting goals with the Board of Trustees.

-Rachel Alexander

May 31, 2022 at 11:00am

"Suspicious" package arrives at state corrections department headquarters in Salem

An Oregon State Police car (Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

The state Department of Corrections headquarters building in Salem received a "suspicious" package Tuesday morning addressed to Director Colette Peters, according to the agency.

The package arrived at the building around 8:36. a.m. Tuesday.

"The mailroom area was secured and the building evacuated," a news release said.

Oregon State Police evaluated the package for any hazardous substances or materials but found none, according to the statement.

Around 30 employees were working in the building at the time. None required outside medical attention and they were later allowed back in the building.

"DOC takes any potential risk or threat to the safety and security of employees and adults in custody very seriously," the release said.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian