Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Man in custody walks away from state corrections van

June 16, 2022 at 3:01pm

Salem man indicted for transporting explosive

A federal grand jury in Portland Tuesday indicted a Salem man on charges alleging he transported explosives and possessed meth with intent to sell it.

Damien S. Hensley, 42, is charged with possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, possessing a firearm as a felon and unlawful transportation of an explosive.

The charges allege Hensley possessed at least 50 grams of a substance containing meth and transported explosive materials, according to the indictment filed in Portland U.S. District Court.

Keizer police arrested Hensley on June 2. He remained in custody at the Marion County Jail as of Thursday afternoon, the jail's roster showed.

A Marion County grand jury also indicted Hensley June 7 on charges of possessing methamphetamine and possessing a firearm as a felon, but Circuit Judge Jodie Bureta dismissed the case after he was indicted on the federal charges, according to court records.

Hensley pleaded guilty to selling meth in multiple cases between 2003 and 2016 in Marion County Circuit Court, including delivery of methamphetamine in 2016, delivery of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school in 2010, and delivery of a controlled substance in 2007 and 2003, court records showed.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

June 16, 2022 at 10:38am

Public Works Day returns Friday at Riverfront Park

The city of Salem's Public Works Day is a free event where families can learn about the department's work. (Salem Public Works Department)

Salem kids can take a walk inside a giant, inflatable orca or repair a leaking pipe when the city's Public Works Day returns Friday.

Slated for 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Riverfront Park, the event is intended to educate families about the work of Salem's Public Works Department.

Families who attend can watch demonstrations of water pipe repairs as well as sit in public works equipment such as backhoes, plows and dump trucks.

Kids can also walk inside the mouth of Oscar, an inflatable orca, while learning about orcas' behaviors, diet, habitat and threats to their habitat.

There will be a booth to learn about what city staff are doing to protect drinking water in Salem, said Trevor Smith, Salem's public works department spokesman.

Attendance is free, but the city encouraged donations of canned food or cash to Marion-Polk Food Share.

"Public Works services impact all Salem residents by building and maintaining streets and sidewalks, providing clean drinking water, maintaining parks, organizing recreation activities, planning and engineering services, treating our wastewater, and protecting the environment," a city news release said.

Hot dogs will be served at the event. Smith encouraged those attending to dress for rain and bring an umbrella.

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

June 16, 2022 at 5:50am

Man in custody walks away from van Wednesday on drive back to prison, agency says

An Oregon State Police trooper and car (Wikimedia Commons).

A man in custody walked away from a state Department of Corrections van Wednesday while being returned to a Salem prison, according to the agency.

Jordan Stephens, 27, was being taken from a work crew assignment back to Santiam Correctional Institution when the driver of the van stopped at a traffic light between Liberty and High Streets in Salem.

Stephens then opened the van door and fled, the corrections department said in a news release.

He was last seen at approximately 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 15.

The location where the van stopped was about six miles from Santiam Correctional Institution.

Stephens weighs 180 pounds and is 6-foot-3, with hazel eyes and brown hair. He was wearing blue jeans and an orange-blue shirt, according to the release.

Stephens entered corrections department custody on December 14, 2021. His earliest release date is August 24, 2023.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle in Jefferson, Douglas, and Marion counties, court records showed.

Stephens was in custody at Santiam Correctional Institution, a minimum-security prison in Salem that houses around 440 adults in custody within four years of being released. He was working on an Oregon Department of Transportation work crew, according to the release.

The corrections department said anyone with information him should contact the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888, the non-emergency number of their local police department, or the corrections department's Fugitive Apprehension Unit at 503-569-0734.

Jordan Stephens (Oregon Department of Corrections)

-Ardeshir Tabrizian