SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Mar. 17
Local governments in Salem area prepare for unexpected $115 million infusion of federal cash
Local officials are just now planning how to use the money so it’s unclear what Salem residents will see as a result. The millions come with some strings attached – but not many.
State of the County address Wednesday will highlight Covid response, wildfires
PUBLIC SAFETY Mar. 15
New Marion County judge wants to give back to the community he’s spent his life in
James Edmonds was appointed to the Marion County Circuit Court in February following the retirement of Judge Mary James. He said patience and respect are important qualities for his new role.
Governor seeks judge applicants for Marion County Justice Court vacancy
STATE GOVERNMENT Mar. 12
Marion DA challenges release of prisoners who fought last year’s wildfires
As a reward for fighting last year’s devastating blazes, Gov. Kate Brown is considering reducing the sentences of prisoners who served on fire crews, including 18 from Marion County. District Attorney Paige Clarkson said the move is unfair to victims and could jeopardize public safety.
PUBLIC SAFETY Mar. 12
Independent audit finds Salem police need to better use data, create a community policing plan
A monthslong audit that looked into the Salem Police Department’s policies, practices and procedures found that the department needs to create a formal plan on how it will police in the community, collaborate with nonprofits and social services agencies more and doesn’t use its calls for service data to direct its resources.
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Mar. 10
Mayor points to city efforts to reduce homelessness in annual address
This year’s State of the City address was held virtually, and while Mayor Chuck Bennett touched on the litany of natural disasters the area has overcome, he also highlighted the city’s efforts to increase affordable housing during the homelessness crisis and millions in upgrades to the city’s water treatment plant.
Watch Salem's State of the City address Wednesday at noon
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider adding funding for motel stays, board appointments
AGENDA: Salem City Council to consider adopting planning vision, strategic plan
Salem could cut its emissions by half if Oregon, energy companies meet their goals
SALEM ECONOMY Mar. 3
Owner of Glamour Salon says she's closing up shop and moving away
Lindsey Graham, the owner of Salem's Glamour Salon, became a magnet for praise and criticism after defying pandemic orders. She's now trying to terminate the lease at her salon and says she'll move to “a deep red land of economic opportunity.”
Salem's police chief to speak at Salem City Club
STATE NEWS Mar. 3
Oregon's child welfare director sees reforms taking hold
Midway through her second year Oregon's child welfare director, Rebecca Jones Gaston says the agency is working hard to bolster training for its workers, improve response times on an abuse hotline, and address difficult issues such as structural racism.
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider liquor licenses, contract amendment
Salem climate action group meets Wednesday
Grocery store workers union blasts governor's new vaccination schedule
STATE GOVERNMENT Mar. 1
With Oregon Capitol closed, lobbyists struggle to lobby without a lobby
Interviews by the Salem Reporter with 10 lobbyists revealed that the hefty virtual workload caused by pandemic restrictions has significantly changed the legislative process. Lobbyists say much of their communication now happens over thousands of text messages and emails while clamoring to get time on legislators’ already packed schedule of Zoom meetings. The dynamics could affect what bills are passed and what's in them.
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Mar. 1
This northeast neighborhood says it has the worst sidewalks in Salem
Homeowners in the Northeast Neighborhood in Salem have complained about buckled sidewalks for years, but the city said funding remains a barrier to fixing the thousands of needed repairs. The city councilor who represents the area wants to create a portal to catalog the complaints.
Legislative deja vu: Oregon GOP senators stage walkout
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider contracts for medical providers, Covid services and HIV
SALEM CITY GOVERNMENT Feb. 23
Library patrons rejoice. Salem City Council approves free parking for the library.
After hearing complaints about library parking for years, the Salem City Council on Monday unanimously voted to allow three hours of free parking at the library parkade on Liberty Street which has been closed while the library undergoes seismic upgrades. Two councilors called it an equity issue.
AGENDA: Salem City Council to consider long range planning, free library parking and legislative priorities Monday
Patriot Prayer supporter involved in Capitol attack allowed to move out of state
Federal top cop for Oregon steps down
PUBLIC SAFETY Feb. 12
As Oregon lawmakers consider reforms to mandatory prison terms, prosecutors push back against proposed changes
There are several bills in the Legislature seeking to remove mandatory minimum sentences for serious crimes other than murder and allow reductions in sentences for those with good behavior. Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson said such reforms would have devastating effects on crime victims and rates.
HOMELESSNESS Feb. 11
PHOTOS: Union Gospel Mission's men's shelter nearing completion
The Union Gospel Mission has a goal of opening its new three-story, 55,000-square-foot facility by late June. Salem Reporter took a look at the construction site Wednesday.
HOMELESSNESS Feb. 10
Salem’s largest homeless shelter plans to open by summer
The Union Gospel Mission’s new men’s shelter across the street from the new Salem police station is doubling the number of beds the mission offers, adding a clinic and expanding education programs. The mission has a goal of opening by late June.
STATE POLITICS Feb. 9
Following 2020 elections, voters walk away from GOP
Voter registration numbers show that there are fewer people in the Republican Party in Marion County and at the state level. The registration drops as the state party faces divisions over its direction.
Zoom panel Wednesday to discuss ways Salem is addressing homelessness
City is accepting applications for federal urban development projects
LOCAL GOVERNMENT Feb. 8
Report finds that prisoners are dying in jails ill-equipped for people with mental illness or other disabilities
A new report from Disability Rights Oregon found deaths in local jails, including in Marion and Polk counties, have increased despite fewer people behind bars because of the pandemic. The report looked at 10 deaths in eight jails, finding that a lack of standards around prisoner health care, restraints, suicide protocols and other factors played a role.
Salem City Council considers traffic study at Monday meeting
Salem asking for donations for managed camp at the state fairgrounds
Wildfires, vaccines, cybersecurity and more is on state's auditing agenda
Vision for Salem's future growth available online
Oregon prisoners now prioritized for Covid vaccine following judge's ruling
Marion County dog licenses now available online
AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider safety corridor for crash-prone stretch of road outside Newberg
Need health insurance? Special enrollment period coming up
Department of Human Services reports historic drop in foster care placements
STATE GOVERNMENT Jan. 28
Why Salem's Mill Creek Correctional Facility will be shuttered by July
Oregon isn't locking up offenders like it used to. With the state looking to save money, the governor is moving forward with closing three prisons.
Oregon House Republicans push back on state party's stance on capitol violence
HOMELESSNESS Jan. 27
As homeless crisis becomes increasingly visible in Salem, volunteers head into the snow for annual count
Salem’s annual point in time count provides a snapshot into homelessness that’s tied directly to federal dollars flowing into the region. With job losses brought on by Covid, and the September wildfires that left many displaced, advocates say there are more unsheltered people than ever.
STATE GOVERNMENT Jan. 26
Here are Salem-area legislators' top priorities for the 2021 session
Lawmakers need to pass a two-year budget, and Democrats, who are in the majority, have set an ambitious agenda including health care and racial equity. Local lawmakers have an eye on issues ranging from civics education to property tax relief for people affected by wildfires.
'Down to earth' Salem agency leader honored
STATE GOVERNMENT Jan. 25
PHOTOS: With elbow bumps and lots of masks, the Oregon State Senate gets down to business
The state Capitol is closed because of pandemic restrictions. But a photographer with Salem Reporter was able to snap some shots as the Senate began its work for the session that's scheduled to last until June.
Progressive groups call for legislators to oust state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence
OREGON LEGISLATURE Jan. 22
PHOTOS: With increased security and doors closed to the public, Oregon Legislature resumes its work
The Oregon Legislature resumed its 2021 session on Thursday, which is
scheduled to run through June. With concerns about repeats of unrest Salem has seen over the last month, lawmakers delayed work after the session officially began on Tuesday. Committee work will remain virtual and the building will remain closed to the public because of the pandemic.
HOMELESSNESS Jan. 22
With space for 100, temporary homeless camp to open at state fairgrounds
After nearly a year of no business, the Oregon State Fairgrounds is allowing a managed camp on its property. City leaders say it’s a step toward ending emergency camping in city parks.