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FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 26
More power, better restrooms and new visitor centers – Oregon parks to get major upgrades
With $50 million from state bonds, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department tackles upgrades next spring.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 25
Panel of judges upholds Oregon congressional maps, dismisses gerrymandering claims
The ruling follows an earlier decision that redrawn legislative maps don’t unfairly favor Democrats.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 24
House Republican leader Christine Drazan will run for governor
Christine Drazan of Canby plans to officially launch her campaign by the end of the year.
FreeSALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Nov. 23
Salem City Council chooses new ward boundaries that plan for future growth in west, south Salem
The new map will shift some Salem residents to new city council wards ahead of the 2022 election, when voters will weigh in on four council seats and the mayor’s race.
FreeSTATE POLITICS Nov. 22
Oregon Supreme Court upholds new state legislative districts
A separate challenge to new congressional districts must be decided by Wednesday.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 18
Environment Commission issues historic mandate for cleaner trucks on Oregon roads
Truck manufacturers, who had opposed the rules, will need to begin to manufacture more electric vehicles and cleaner diesel trucks by 2025.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 18
Oregon economic forecast: Higher wages drive state revenue, workers feel inflation
Portland is lagging the rest of the state in economic recovery as the Covid pandemic’s effects linger.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 17
Oregon aims to bolster mobile mental health crisis units
State agency will use $1 million federal grant to help Oregon expand units responding to mental health crises.
FreeSALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Nov. 16
Mayor Chuck Bennett doesn’t plan to seek fourth term
The 73-year-old is about to enter his sixth year as mayor but said it’s time to step away. In his last year he hopes to push for a bond measure, more police officers and a better relationship with Cherriots leaders.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 16
‘Sense of urgency’ in Oregon should follow passage of infrastructure bill, DeFazio says
The Oregon congressman expects the $1.2 trillion package to help drive up wages for American workers.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 15
Oregon tenants urged to get bid in for state rent help before Dec. 1 cutoff
Gov. Kate Brown said she’s working with legislators on plans for a future special session.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 9
A year after the 2020 election, Oregon county clerks still fighting back fraud allegations
Several legislators have added their voices to the chorus calling to investigate the 2020 election.
Nov. 8
AGENDA: Salem City Council meets Monday to consider new ward boundaries, body camera funding
FreeIN OREGON Nov. 8
Oregon transportation officials already at work planning to spend new billions
Oregon will have about 30% more for its bridge work because of the federal infrastructure bill. Potholes, too, will get more attention.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 7
Democrats in Oregon delegation applaud infrastructure passage, lone Republican silent
The passage of the infrastructure bill on Friday means billions will flow to Oregon for roads, bridges, broadband and more.
FreeSTATE POLITICS Nov. 3
Restaurant tax coming to Cannon Beach, southern Oregon dam gets repair money in Tuesday’s vote
Most school, fire districts with taxing measures on Tuesday’s ballot won approval in the special election. One county considers a move to Idaho.
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 2
Salem Democrat Brian Clem becomes latest Oregon representative to resign
Clem announced Friday evening that he would leave the Legislature to care for his elderly mother.
FreeAROUND OREGON Oct. 29
Calvin Mukumoto selected as new state forester
He would lead the department following the departure of the former state forester over reports of mismanagement.
FreeAROUND OREGON Oct. 27
Governor's race gets more crowded as New York Times columnist jumps in
NIck Kristof, a native of Oregon who long worked as a columnist, on Wednesday made formal what was expected - he's running as a Democrat for Oregon governor.
Oct. 26
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners consider wildfire housing, contracts for storm debris removal
FreeAROUND OREGON Oct. 26
Two lawsuits challenge Oregon’s new legislative boundaries
One suit asks the Supreme Court to get rid of the Legislature’s plan entirely, while the other alleges Democrats punished one of their own.
FreeSTATE POLITICS Oct. 13
OREGON NEWS: Oregon Republicans sue over new congressional districts
Former Secretary of State Bev Clarno and three others allege maps are a Democratic gerrymander.
OREGON POLITICS Oct. 12
State Rep. Bill Post to resign at the end of November
With 15 months left in his current term, District 25 Rep. Bill Post announced Monday night that he would be resigning from his position effective Nov. 30 after moving to Nevada in late September.
FreeAROUND OREGON Oct. 8
OREGON NEWS: With lines still uncertain, congressional hopefuls slow to announce campaigns
OREGON NEWS: Oregon has a new district, but most candidates are waiting for lawsuits over redrawn boundaries.
OREGON POLITICS Oct. 8
State representative from Keizer sells house in district, moves to Nevada
OREGON NEWS: State Rep. Bill Post, who has represented District 25 since 2014, announced Sept. 27 that he had sold his house in Keizer and moved to Nevada. Post plans to continue in his role for now, but hasn't decided yet if he will resign in 2022.
STATE POLITICS Oct. 6
Salem gets new House seat on redrawn congressional district map
Redrawn congressional boundaries put Salem in the newly-created sixth district, Oregon’s only U.S. House seat with no incumbent. Two Portland-area Democrats have expressed interest in the seat, and Salem’s longtime state representative has stayed quiet on his plans.
FreeOREGON NEWS Oct. 6
Dr. Dean Sidelinger: Big-picture team player in Oregon public health
The state epidemiologist’s calm demeanor and untiring public safety message belie the toll of the pandemic
FreeSTATE NEWS Oct. 5
Oregon's rural counties on their own if Covid vaccine mandate causes staff shortages
Cities and counties are declaring emergencies, fearing the state’s vaccination deadline will cause teachers, health care workers and first responders to quit in droves. State officials say they can’t step in to help unless local governments are overwhelmed.
FreeOREGON POLITICS Oct. 5
Oregon governor’s race starting to take shape
Treasurer Tobias Read, House Speaker Tina Kotek and 2016 GOP nominee Bud Pierce are the biggest names in the open race so far.
OREGON POLITICS Sep. 29
Rep. Brian Clem says his “spirit is wounded” about state of politics as he plans to retire
The south Salem Democrat, who’s been in office since 2007, made a surprise announcement on the House floor Monday that he would not seek re-election. Clem, 49, made the decision to focus on being a caregiver for his mother, but said he hopes to re-engage in the city’s civic life in the future.
FEDERAL POLITICS Sep. 24
Rep. Schrader instrumental in shutting down drug cost reform bill
Congressman Schrader voted against a bill that would have allowed the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prescription drug costs. Schrader talked with the Keizertimes about his decision and his own bill that looks to address the issue.
Sep. 9
State Rep. Bill Post of Keizer will retire at end of term in 2022
STATE GOVERNMENT Aug. 12
State workers demand to bargain over Gov. Brown's vaccination mandate
Some 41,000 state employees, many of them working in Salem, are covered under Gov. Kate Brown's order that executive branch workers get a Covid vaccine. About 70% of state workers are already vaccinated, and unions said their members should have a say in the policy.
Jul. 27
Nearman pleads guilty for role in allowing demonstrators into Capitol
OREGON LEGISLATURE Jul. 20
Courtney, once fearing another walkout, said 2021 session helped every corner of Oregon
The veteran legislator from Salem has presided over the Oregon Senate since 2003, navigating increasingly harsh political rhetoric. But in an interview with Salem Reporter, state Sen. Peter Courtney gives high marks to what legislators from both political parties did for Oregonians in the 2021 session.
Jul. 12
AGENDA: Salem City Council to consider fireworks ban, land purchase for stream restoration
Jul. 12
Oregon Capitol reopens to the public, with tours resuming
SALEM LEGISLATORS Jul. 8
Blending ministry with policy, Sen. Deb Patterson finishes 2021 session with wins on health care affordability
New to the Oregon Legislature and to politics, Salem's Sen. Deb Patterson took on an unusual role for a freshman senator - chairing the Senate Committee on Health Care. Despite the challenges of Zoom hearings, she notched several significant legislative accomplishments, including a bill intended to lower prescription drug prices for Oregonians.
Jul. 7
Nearman staffer Anna Scharf will replace ousted representative in Salem
STATE GOVERNMENT Jul. 2
Here's what Salem area lawmakers say they accomplished during the 2021 legislative session
The Salem area will see an infusion of state cash to help with projects concerning homelessness, health care and wildfire recovery. Local lawmakers also touted bills aimed at improving higher education for disadvantaged students, reforming the state's emergency response system and improving access to medicine.
GOVERNMENT Jun. 29
Marion County plans to sign new three-year contract with garbage burner
The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider signing another contract with Covanta, the trash incinerator in Brooks. The new contract will shed some of the county’s costs, but also its revenues.
AROUND OREGON Jun. 28
Malheur Enterprise sues Ontario School Board for records leading to censures
Following a series of denied public records requests, the Malheur Enterprise has filed a lawsuit against the Ontario School Board with the goal of getting documents related to the investigations into board member Eric Evans and former board member Derrick Draper.
STATE HOSPITAL Jun. 22
State hospital authorizes up to $1.2 million to pay National Guard to care for patients
The number of nursing employees on leave because of Covid-related childcare problems has declined, but staffing shortages continue to plague the Oregon State Hospital. Thirty members of the National Guard will help with patient care through the end of July.
Jun. 16
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon legalizes human composting
STATE GOVERNMENT Jun. 14
Mike Nearman has been expelled from the Legislature. Here's what comes next
The Republican Salem area lawmaker was kicked out of the Legislature for letting demonstrators into the Capitol building last year. While residents of his district won't have a state representative for the session, they'll still have someone around to help. A process is already underway to pick his replacement.
Jun. 11
State Rep. Mike Nearman expelled from Legislature over involvement in Capitol riot
ON THE AIR Jun. 10
ON THE AIR: Saphara Harrell discusses where Salem will put 60,000 people
Listen for local news weekday mornings on community radio station KMWV (98.3 FM) with "In Case You Missed It - With Salem Reporter." One of our reporters joins radio station manager Lisa Walz to discuss a story or two of the day.
Jun. 10
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill directing local governments to decriminalize homelessness passes Oregon Legislature
ON THE AIR Jun. 9
ON THE AIR: Jake Thomas explores the saga of state Rep. Mike Nearman
Listen for local news weekday mornings on community radio station KMWV (98.3 FM) with "In Case You Missed It - With Salem Reporter." One of our reporters joins radio station manager Lisa Walz to discuss a story or two of the day.
Jun. 7
Oregon legislative panel convened to consider expulsion of state Rep. Mike Nearman
Jun. 4
Bill would ban "vaccine passports" in Oregon
STATE GOVERNMENT Jun. 3
Demonstrators intentionally let into Capitol by state Rep. Mike Nearman, report finds
A report from an independent investigator hired by the Oregon Legislature to look into the Salem area lawmaker’s role in a Dec. 21 riot at the Capitol reveals new details about the incident. The report reveals how staff felt unsafe as demonstrators attempted to force their way into the Capitol building.
STATE GOVERNMENT May. 28
State hospital shifts managers to nursing work to get through holiday weekend
Oregon State Hospital leaders are relying on managers from other departments to cover nursing duties to get through Memorial Day weekend. They’ve still received no response on deploying the National Guard to aid with a staffing crisis, but the Oregon Office of Emergency Management is seeking civilians to help.
May. 28
Oregon legislative staff vote to unionize
OREGON GOVERNMENT May. 27
With thin staff and others working double shifts, state hospital calls for National Guard help
As a staffing crisis has worsened, Oregon State Hospital has increasingly mandated overtime for the employees caring for about 500 patients on its Salem campus. Since April 1, hospital employees were ordered on 546 occasions to work a total of 2,851 overtime hours.
STATE HOSPITAL May. 27
Oregon State Hospital situation ‘dire,’ National Guard asked to help staffing
The share of nursing staff on Covid-related leave at the state hospital in Salem has grown to an unprecedented 33%, prompting hospital administrators this week to seek help from managers in other state agencies and the National Guard.
May. 26
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill closing vape loophole passes Oregon Legislature
HOMELESSNESS May. 25
Managed camps and new shelter options could be coming online soon as parks camping ends
Salem city officials during a meeting Monday night alluded to several shelter options that councilors will be asked to fund during June 14 meeting. They include managed camps run by Church at the Park and partially funding the purchase of a motel for shelter.
May. 24
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill that would count ballots after Election Day passes Oregon House
HOMELESSNESS May. 24
Camping in Salem parks could end after Monday night city council vote. But questions remain over timeline
The Salem City Council will vote on winding down homeless camping at two city parks during a meeting Monday night. Councilors have expressed concerns that unhoused people will return to living on downtown streets if camping abruptly comes to an end.
STATE GOVERNMENT May. 19
Bill seeks to protect Oregon workers from employer retaliation
While it’s illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who raise safety concerns, labor groups say current protections don’t go far enough. But business groups say the bill could be abused and create unnecessary legal expenses and headaches.
May. 19
Fewer than 1,000 votes separate some school board candidates. Marion County has 12,000 ballots left to count
FreeELECTION 2021 May. 18
Early results show progressive candidates sweeping Salem-Keizer school board, fire district to hire new staff
Several thousand ballots in Marion and Polk counties remain to be counted, but if Tuesday's results hold, Oregon's second largest school district will see a politically divided school board when new members take their seats in July. A Marion County Fire District #1 levy was passing easily.
FreeELECTION 2021 May. 18
UPDATED ELECTION RESULTS: Salem-Keizer school board, Marion County fire district for May 18, 2021
A second round of ballot counting Tuesday night showed the Marion County Fire District levy passing with 64% of the vote and a slate of four progressive candidates leading in Salem-Keizer School Board races. County election workers meet Wednesday to swap ballot that voters returned to the wrong county's drop box. Marion and Polk county election workers said they won't know how many ballots remain to be counted until that swap happens.
May. 18
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider rental assistance, Covid relief money
May. 17
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon lawmakers reestablish residential eviction moratorium
May. 17
Fewer than one in five Marion, Polk voters have turned in ballots for May 18 election
KEIZER CITY HALL May. 17
Internal investigation: Keizer city manager told others he was breaking policy on firearms
Former Keizer city manager Chris Eppley had carried loaded and unloaded firearms into the Keizer Civic Center on numerous occasions prior to discharging one in his office on March 4, according to an internal investigation report.
May. 13
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill seeking accountability for violence targeting LGBTQ+ Oregonians passes Legislature
May. 12
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill aimed at helping Santiam Canyon property owners clears Legislature
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT May. 12
Parks board to weigh in on park usage as permitting resumes in a few weeks
The Salem City Council on Monday voted to have the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board review best practices for parks usage after a controversial event in Riverfront Park on May 1 raised permitting questions. City staff said permits won’t fix those concerns, but the practice should resume at the end of this month.
May. 11
One week left to drop off ballots for May 18 school board, fire district election
May. 11
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners meet to approve contracts, extend east Salem patrols
SALEM COURTS May. 11
PHOTOS: Supporters rally as Nearman arraigned on charges stemming from December attack on Oregon Capitol
A lawyer for state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, appeared in court Monday on the lawmaker's behalf. Nearman faces two criminal misdemeanor charges for opening a door to the Oregon Capitol during a violent December demonstration, allowing protestors inside the building.
May. 7
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: House bill seeks to pave way for more electric vehicles
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT May. 6
Salem Budget Committee recommends funding for mobile unit to respond to crisis calls
All members of the committee agreed they want a unit, but are still uncertain where funding will come from. On Wednesday, the budget committee unanimously voted to set aside a quarter of the project’s anticipated costs for the first 16 months.
May. 5
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: House bill aims to increase diversity on publicly traded corporate boards
AROUND OREGON May. 4
AROUND OREGON: Rep. Bentz slams governor over her increased Covid restrictions
After the governor announced that 15 counties would be moving into the category of "extreme risk" for Covid last Friday, U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz released a statement criticizing the restrictions, which include a shutdown of indoor dining for eight of the 20 counties he represents. Malheur County is still in "moderate risk," with indoor dining allowed.
May. 4
State Rep. Mike Nearman says he has Covid, will fight charges linked to Oregon Capitol riot
STATE GOVERNMENT May. 4
Oregon legislative aides move forward with first-of-its kind union
If legislative aides vote to form a collective bargaining unit later this month, it will be the country’s first-ever legislative union. Getting to this point required clearing multiple legal hurdles. Supporters say it’ll create a better working environment for staff, which will improve how the Legislature functions.
OREGON POLITICS May. 4
Oregon delegation sees greater access, clout with addition of sixth representative
The latest Census tally gives Oregon a new Congressional district. Oregon's current representatives say that will give the state added clout in decision-making on matters of national and state import, and also offers constituents one more place to get help.
FreeSALEM COMMUNITY May. 3
Salem leaders say they’re constrained by the Constitution when handling far-right events
A gun rights rally in Riverfront Park Saturday has riled the community as social media reports of intimidation and assault by Proud Boys have circulated. Salem police and city leaders say they need to protect First and Second Amendment rights and no one has pressed charges following Saturday’s event.
STATE GOVERNMENT Apr. 30
State Rep. Mike Nearman faces charges from December attack on Oregon Capitol
Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson has charged the Republican lawmaker with official misconduct and criminal trespass for allowing a group of violent demonstrators into the Capitol building in December. The charges come a day before Nearman, who has resisted calls to resign, was scheduled to speak at a rally in Salem.
Apr. 30
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon House passes gun safety bill
AROUND OREGON Apr. 30
AROUND OREGON: Klamath irrigators claim state permit allows them to divert water
Reagan Desmond, general counsel for Klamath Drainage D, said KDD obtained the state permit from the Oregon Water Resources Department in the 1970s as a backup for situations when Reclamation would be unable to satisfy the district’s Project right in full.
SALEM SCHOOLS Apr. 30
POLITICS OF EDUCATION: Your briefing on Salem-Keizer School District races as ballots head out
Candidates responded to written questions from Salem Reporter about why they want to be on the Salem-Keizer School Board and their views on key issues.
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Apr. 29
Marion County surveys residents on priorities for housing, development
Marion County is in the process of developing a five-year consolidated plan that will guide federal dollars for housing, community development, and infrastructure. Two surveys and focus groups next week will help inform that process.
SALEM ECONOMY Apr. 28
Legislation seeks to provide Oregon farmers with an alternative to common pesticide
The state of Oregon is phasing out the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that’s come under scrutiny for its toxicity to humans. The pesticide will be banned for most uses by 2023, which could have particular impact to agriculturally rich Marion and Polk counties.
Apr. 28
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon House passes bill allowing over-the-counter sale of some cold medicines
Apr. 28
Our Salem zoning subcommittee meets Friday
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Apr. 28
Salem City Council approves tax exemption for Broadway apartment complex
The developer will get a $300,000 tax break over a 10-year period for meeting “public benefits,” including adding density in the city’s core. The council approved the exemption despite questions over whether it was justified.
Apr. 27
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners meet Wednesday
Apr. 26
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill seeking better outcomes between police and transgender people passes house
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Apr. 26
Union Street would become pedestrian walkway under Salem city councilor’s proposal
Councilor Virginia Stapleton has proposed closing a portion of Union Street to car traffic on Saturdays so walkers and cyclists can get to the Salem Saturday Market.
STATE GOVERNMENT Apr. 26
AROUND OREGON: Identity thieves using Oregon state employee names for fraudulent unemployment claims
The Oregon Employment Department declined to address the scale of the issue, citing the risk of additional fraud, but some state agencies report a large share of their employees have had false jobless claims submitted under their names.
Apr. 23
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill taking aim at anti-competitive pharmaceutical pricing passes Oregon Senate
Apr. 22
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon Senate passes bill targeting 'pink tax'
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS Apr. 22
NAACP calls on school board candidate to end campaign following controversial Facebook comment
Kari Zohner referred to George Floyd, whose murderer was convicted this week, as a criminal in a since-deleted Facebook comment on a post eulogizing Floyd. She has apologized that her "frustration with the divisiveness in our society came out in the wrong way in a Facebook thread."
FreePUBLIC SAFETY Apr. 22
After staffing cuts and increasing call times, fire district again turns to voters
Marion County Fire District 1 is coming to voters with a trimmed-down ask for a tax increase that’ll raise $10 million over the next five years. The district says it's making do with what it has but is approaching a breaking point.
Apr. 21
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon Senate passes 'Domicile Unknown' bill to track homeless deaths