Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Marion County Commissioners meet Wednesday

June 14, 2022 at 4:57pm

Central Point man indicted in three Salem shootings

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A Marion County Grand Jury on Friday indicted a Central Point man on charges alleging he shot a man May 18 in south Salem.

Salem Police responded to reports of gunfire in the 5700 block of Southeast Woodside Drive, where they found a man in a vehicle with a life-threatening gunshot wound, according to a Tuesday news release.

The victim, 54-year-old Kerry Lynn Johnson, was transported to Salem Hospital where he was still being treated as of Tuesday afternoon.

Kenneth Wayne Felton, 25, has also been indicted on charges for several unrelated shootings that occurred in Salem between December 2021 and January 2022, police said in the release.

In total, Felton was indicted Friday on two counts of second-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault, three counts of second-degree assault, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon and five counts of possessing a firearm as a felon, court records showed.

The charges allege he attempted to kill Dustin Flaten on Dec. 27, 2021, Yaroslav Drofyak on Dec. 30 and Johnson on May 18.

“The work done by the detectives of our Violent Crimes Unit is impressive. Their skills and dedication to apprehend those who threaten the safety of our community is remarkable, and it speaks to our agency’s commitment to address violent crime in our city,” said Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack in the news release.

One of the unrelated shootings occurred at the intersection of Northeast Pine and Broadway Streets on Dec. 30, 2021. The victim was standing outside his vehicle when two men approached him and asked for a ride. When he refused, they shot him, according to a news release.

That came three days after a man was shot at Orchard Park Apartments. 4368 Kacey Circle N.E. Felton is also charged in that shooting.

He was in custody without bail at the Marion County Jail as of Tuesday afternoon, the jail's roster showed.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

June 14, 2022 at 1:47pm

Affordable housing project for veterans to break ground Wednesday in northeast Salem

A rendering of the new affordable housing building for veterans set to break ground Wednesday on the corner of Cottage and Court Streets in Salem (Courtesy/YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties)

The ceremonial dirt will fly, the speeches will go on and Salem will see the launch Wednesday to a project that will one day give local veterans a place to call home.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the corner of Northeast Cottage and Court Streets for a 34-unit housing complex designed for veterans.

The project, years in the making, is being undertaken by the YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties

The YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties and its Y Veterans Housing team.

Contractors will set to work on Monday, June 20, and expect to finish in 14 months.

When they are done, a complex to be called Courtney Place will provide affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments for men and women who are veterans with modest incomes.

But first, dignitaries will celebrate the launch.

After the obligatory shovel-wielding ceremony on the street corner, events shift across the street to the Oregon World War II Memorial.

There at 10 a.m., a local honor guard will be joined by an Oregon National Guard band to open the seated ceremony. A host of speakers is scheduled.

Among them will be Senate President Peter Courtney, whose devotion to the YMCA in Salem is legendary. He helped arrange state appropriations to cover the estimated $9 million cost of the veterans complex. Another $2 million came through federal funding arranged by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Democrats from Oregon.

Chuck Adams, former YMCA president and now executive director of Y Veterans Housing, was in on developing the veterans housing idea.

In an interview Tuesday, he recounted the years when the original YMCA building fell into disrepair and the decision to replace it. That meant also doing away with 18 living units that had been part of the complex “for decades.”

He said he and others were considering what housing to provide in a new arrangement when he took a field trip to the Portland area. There, he saw a veterans housing project in Oregon City that sparked an idea for the YMCA.

The idea developed over years and finally made the turn to reality when Courtney arranged a state infusion.

Adams remembers every detail of the call from Courtney with the news. He was in an Applebee’s and it was 2:15 p.m. when the senator reached him.

“I got it,” Courtney reported.

Adams said the need for veterans housing is significant in Salem. Besides providing affordable homes, Courtney Place will also work with ARCHES to see that veterans get help with employment, health care and other services.

(Courtesy/YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties)

-Les Zaitz

June 14, 2022 at 11:57am

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider federal funds for emergency services, street improvements in Santiam Canyon

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider spendiing federal pandemic money for emergency medical services and street improvements in the Santiam Canyon, as well as buying property for Salem's Psychiatric Crisis Center.


Commissioners will consider authorizing Board Chair Danielle Bethell to sign documents to close the purchase of properties in Mill City to provide temporary housing for people impacted by the 2020 Santiam Canyon wildfires.

The board will consider approving federal Covid relief funding to provide first-aid response and street improvements in the Santiam Canyon through two projects totaling $900,000.

Of that, $300,000 would help create a two-person emergency medical team that would serve the area Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It would also provide first-aid kits and wildfire first-aid training to the Marion County Sheriff's Office. This is intended to prepare first responders to provide first aid while waiting for a medical team to arrive. Wildfire recovery work has brought more traffic and use of heavy equipment to the area, which increases the risk of accidents, the agenda item said.

Another $600,000 would be used to build curbs, gutters, sidewalks, street lighting and storm water facilities in Gates, which was devastated by wildfire.

Commissioners will consider purchasing a $2.4 million property and building at 1234 Commercial St. S.E. for Salem's Psychiatric Crisis Center, a 24-7 center on Salem Hospital's grounds operated by the county's Health and Human Services Department. The center has outgrown its current space, and the new space "allows room for the wrap-around services needed to assist clients," according to the agenda report. The Commercial Street location is currently listed as Physicians' Building Group, a primary and medical care provider.

They will also consider spending $723,300 to replace roofs on a Marion County Public Works building that have leaked for years.

The board will accept final reports for five projects: the purchase of a property in Woodburn for His Place, a new transitional living program that will provide childcare and addiction treatment for fathers with substance abuse disorders; cleaning of the Marion County Courthouse; replacing two roofs on the Marion County Jail; installing fire sprinklers at the jail; and excavation, replacement and water filtration at the jail.

Commissioners will also consider approving a $212,400 contract with the city of Sublimity to provide Marion County Sheriff's Office services in the city through June 2023.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian