Salem hits historic employment level as economy recovers
July 23 virtual meeting seeks feedback on post-Covid business recovery
Willamette Valley wines gain protection against imposters
GUEST COLUMN Jul. 14
COLUMN: Employers around Salem likely to face continuing challenges filling jobs
As Salem and the country emerge from the pandemic, employers are ramping up to fill empty jobs. But changes in the labor force mean finding workers may not be as easy as it once was.
Oregon unemployment rate falls slightly in June
STATE GOVERNMENT Jul. 8
Oregon Employment Department misses target for fixing phone wait times, blames worker shortage
Oregon was among the slowest states in the nation for paying unemployment benefits during the pandemic, hobbled by an obsolete computer system. Though wait times have improved, callers in June still spend an average of 34 minutes on hold.
SALEM PEOPLE AND PLACES Jul. 7
Southeast Salem businesses join together to boost local shopping
Business owners are banding together to tackle issues in their southeast Salem neighborhood. The group met recently to consider how to organize.
LIFE IN SALEM Jun. 30
Cautious optimism in Salem as Oregon lifts pandemic restrictions
Salem’s streets didn’t immediately fill with revelry Wednesday as Gov. Kate Brown ended rules mandating masks and limiting capacity at events and businesses. Masks and caution remained present for some, but many business owners breathed a maskless sigh of relief as things returned to (mostly) normal.
Minimum wage workers in Salem and across Oregon to see pay raise
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 30
SALEM ECONOMIC INDEX: Indicators show the Salem area economy is roaring back
Salem Reporter’s monthly feature looks at key indicators to give you a sense of how the Salem area economy is performing. This month’s data shows that demand for housing remains strong, wages are up, fewer people receiving unemployment benefits and more businesses are being created. However, there are fewer video lottery sales and less construction.
WORKPLACE SAFETY Jun. 29
Farmworker dies in Marion County amid historic heat wave
Oregon OSHA is investigating Woodburn-based Brother Farm Labor Contractor and Ernst Nursery and Farms in St. Paul in connection with the death, which occurred Saturday in St. Paul.
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 29
Salem's vacant Nordstrom building will be replaced with apartments
Deacon Development purchased the downtown location of the department store chain intending to turn it into retail space. After the Covid pandemic rearranged the economy, the developer now plans to demolish the building and turn it into a mixed-use apartment building. City leaders are supportive.
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 28
PHOTOS: As Chang Tuh expands, the Salem company keeps cooking up Korean cuisine
The Salem-based company is working on a multimillion-dollar expansion of its facility. But in the meantime, workers at Chang Tuh's current facility keep turning beef, vegetables and other ingredients into soup.
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 28
After operating in Salem for decades, Chang Tuh hopes to make Korean food mainstream
A subsidiary of a South Korean food company, Salem-based Chang Tuh is planning a $17 million expansion of its facility. The expansion will allow it to increase production and put bulgogi, stir-fried pork and kimchi and other traditional Korean dishes on the plates of new consumers.
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 23
With a talent for making dirty cars look new, a Salem teenager makes his vision a reality
At age 17, Edgar Perez started his own Salem-based business detailing cars, trucks, boats and golf carts. While Perez said he's making good money now, starting the business took sacrifice and not everyone shared his vision along the way.
More time for landlords to apply for financial help to cover unpaid rent
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 16
Lights out looming for tens of thousands of Marion County residents
A moratorium prohibiting investor-owned utilities from disconnecting customers is coming to an end July 31. Across the state, hundreds of thousands are behind on payments to their gas and electric companies. But numbers show fewer people are behind on payments and utilities say they have financial aid programs in place.
STATE GOVERNMENT Jun. 15
As gamblers return to video lottery machines, Oregon Lottery faces payment backlog
During the pandemic, the Oregon Lottery closed its payment centers in Salem and Wilsonville and reduced staff. With the economy reopening, the Oregon Lottery now has a backlog of prize claims to process. It says it has a plan to reduce the backlog by the end of the month.
Oregon again sees little movement on unemployment rate
Looking for a job in Salem? Drive-through job fair this Wednesday
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 10
COLUMN: Some reasons for the labor shortage have been decades in the making
As the pandemic wanes and the economy reopens, employers have complained about a lack of workers. However, the Salem area economy has experienced a problem that’s been growing across the country: decline in men’s participation in the labor force. Here’s how we got here, and here’s one way to help.
Oregon construction industry comes roaring back
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bill protecting workers from retaliation heads to governor
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 8
Two Salem businesses have yet to pay hefty fines for pandemic citations, pushing appeals
Last year, the state’s workplace safety agency cited Glamour Salon and Courthouse Club Fitness openly violating pandemic rules intended to protect workers. But because they have appealed their citations neither has had to pay financial penalties as the process unfolds.
Oregon business groups call for incentives to bring laid-off workers back into the workforce
SALEM ECONOMY Jun. 2
Marion County among the highest in the state for back rent, new analysis shows
Recently released figures show that despite signs the pandemic is waning, many Oregonians, particularly low-income workers, are still reckoning with the economic damage caused by the public health crisis. Some 4,661 Marion County households are behind on rent, owing a total of $12.8 million.
STATE GOVERNMENT May. 28
Here are the requests from Salem area lawmakers on how to spend federal stimulus dollars
Following an influx of federal funds, legislative leaders asked lawmakers last month for proposals on which state agencies, local governments or nonprofits to direct the money. Salem area lawmakers responded with funding requests for local infrastructure, money to support businesses and nonprofits, as well as health programs and others.
Workers' comp provider SAIF hires new president
Final round of businesses assistance program opens
SALEM ECONOMY May. 26
SALEM ECONOMIC INDEX: Salem sees housing market reach new highs and signs that hiring is picking up
Salem Reporter’s monthly feature looks at key indicators to give you a sense of how the Salem area economy is performing. This month’s data show that demand for housing remains strong. Video lottery sales, new business registrations and some building permits took a dip.
Salem area unemployment rate remains essentially unchanged
SALEM ECONOMY May. 25
Oregon’s economy expected to come roaring back from pandemic-induced recession
The most recent state economic forecast predicts a speedy recovery from the historic recession brought on by last year’s pandemic. Consumers will have money to spend. Workers will have plenty of jobs. But employers will struggle to fill open positions, inflation is certain and a key industry to the Salem area has taken a hit.
Refunds on the way to Oregonians who paid taxes on unemployment benefits
SALEM ECONOMY May. 20
Employment Department will bring back job-seeking requirements for laid-off Oregonians
With vaccinations increasing and the economy reopening, the Oregon Employment Department announced that people receiving unemployment benefits will be required to start taking steps to reenter the labor force. The department’s director said the requirements will be phased in and will hopefully help laid-off workers with childcare or other barriers.
State economic forecast predicts higher incomes, tax revenues and a recovered labor market
Oregon sees disappointing job numbers for April
Fund created to help immigrant workers in Oregon marks one-year milestone
SALEM ECONOMY May. 14
City adds grant money to help downtown Salem businesses with security
On Monday, the city's Urban Renewal Agency added $100,000 to a program that helps businesses located in downtown with security costs. The city has reported high demand for the program.
PUBLIC SAFETY May. 13
Documents shed new light on crash that left three farmworkers dead and triggered a federal investigation
On the evening Nov. 29, 2019, 16 laborers working on a Christmas tree farm picked up their paychecks and piled into a van to return home. In north Salem, their van collided with a truck, leaving three migrant farmworkers dead and eight injured. Attention to the crash was renewed last month when the U.S. Department of Labor announced penalties against a Salem labor contractor. Documents obtained by Salem Reporter present new details on what happened that night.
AROUND OREGON May. 13
AROUND OREGON: For the first time, Klamath Project will receive no irrigation water from Klamath Lake
“Our people have far too much experience with being cut off from our means of subsistence, and we wish that pain on no one,” said Klamath Tribal Council Member Clay Dumont.
SALEM ECONOMY May. 10
Throughout the pandemic, the Latino Business Alliance in Salem kept its focus on connections
Formed over a decade ago during the last economic downturn, the alliance has been focused on the unique business needs of many Latino-owned businesses. Helping these businesses has meant more than translating from Spanish to English. Now, it’s preparing to bring back Café y Pan Dulce, one of its signature networking events.
SALEM ECONOMY May. 10
COLUMN: Do official numbers really reflect the Salem area's economic recovery?
A recent state report provides a look at how the area's economy has fared a year into the pandemic. While it provides some good news, the numbers used for it might not tell the whole story.
SALEM ECONOMY Apr. 27
TIMELINE: A year of business restrictions and closures in Salem
Salem will again face new Covid restrictions starting Friday as restaurants and bars close indoor dining and gym capacity is slashed. It’s the third time since the pandemic began that Gov. Kate Brown has ordered widespread business closures.
SALEM ECONOMY Apr. 26
Why Salem employers are having a hard time finding workers despite high unemployment
Economists and employers say more generous unemployment benefits, safety concerns about the virus and the lack of childcare are all keeping workers on the sidelines. While there’s optimism the employment mismatch will be resolved later this year clearing the way for full recovery, some economic issues from the pandemic are expected to linger.
FreeSALEM ECONOMY Apr. 21
SALEM ECONOMIC INDEX: Salem’s housing market remains hot, good news on jobs
Salem Reporter’s new monthly feature looks at key indicators to give you a sense of how the Salem area economy is performing. This month’s data show that demand for housing remains strong. Lottery sales, business filings and employment data point to positive trends in the local economy.
Salem area unemployment rate remains virtually unchanged
SALEM ECONOMY Apr. 19
The first round of relief is on its way for Salem businesses and commercial landlords
Oregon's economic development agency is sending out $50 million (including $4 million for Marion County) worth of checks to businesses and commercial landlords with unpaid rent. A state-mandated grace period for unpaid rent recently expired, making the agency's work more urgent.
Oregon added more than 20,000 jobs in March
SALEM ECONOMY Apr. 14
Salem venues hopeful that new federal program will keep them afloat
An April rollout of a federal relief program for theaters and concert halls was marred by website crashes and errors. Venue operators said the relief could be a lifeline, but they still need more indoor capacity to survive.
Cherriots seeking feedback on south Salem transit center
SALEM ECONOMY Apr. 12
Salem needs more housing. But the building industry has its own problems
With low inventory and high demand, housing prices in Salem have been on the rise. But the local building industry faces a shortage of labor, materials and land. The rebuilding of the Santiam Canyon is expected to put further pressure on the industry.
STATE GOVERNMENT Apr. 7
Oregon Legislature considers bill creating right to repair electronics
Proponents of the bill say it would cut down on electronic waste while making computers and other devices more accessible. But industry groups say the bill could harm consumer privacy and there are already ways to get devices repaired.
PBS NewsHour features segment on Enchanted Forest
SALEM ECONOMY Apr. 6
COLUMN: Is a low wage a living wage in Marion County?
Throughout the pandemic, low-wage "essential" workers have largely continued working take care of elderly in nursing homes, stock shelves, ring up groceries, deliver the mail, drive buses and perform other necessities of everyday life. Without some long-term meaningful aid to these workers, it will be a lopsided recovery, just as the recession has been.
STATE GOVERNMENT Apr. 1
Salem professionals support legislation to make telemedicine a more routine part of health care
Health care providers turned to telemedicine as doctor’s offices in Salem were closed to routine visits because of the pandemic. A bill moving through the Oregon Legislature would make telehealth a permanent part of how Oregonians get care. Proponents say it will increase access, particularly around mental health. Insurance companies worry it’ll increase costs.
Help available to finanacially distressed Pacific Power customers in Marion County
Salem's unemployment rate didn't budge in February
SALEM ECONOMY Mar. 30
Salem has large pockets of residents behind on utilities. New programs offer relief
Oregon Public Utility Commission has recently approved programs designed by investor-owned utilities to give customers a break on past-due bills. Documents provided by the commission show two ZIP codes are in particular need of help.
SALEM ECONOMY Mar. 29
With low inventory and high demand, Salem’s housing market tightens
The number of houses for sale in Oregon’s capital city plummeted in recent months as homebuyers with access to cheap money have sought to upgrade their living situation. Salem remains more affordable than other parts of Oregon.
Oregon Employment Department offers initial claims form in Spanish
AROUND OREGON Mar. 25
AROUND OREGON: Criticism from all sides on Bureau of Reclamation's plan for Klamath Basin
Irrigation district managers in the Project received a notice from Reclamation last week that diversions of water from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River will be delayed until April 15 at the earliest.
STATE GOVERNMENT Mar. 24
Oregon Legislature debates extending overtime pay to farmworkers
A bill in the Legislature would require agricultural employers to pay workers extra for working the long days common on farms. Proponents say farmworkers deserve the same overtime pay other jobs get, particularly after working through a pandemic and wildfires. But farmers say it’ll upend the agricultural economy and result in less pay for workers.
AROUND OREGON Mar. 24
AROUND OREGON: Work begins on new Detroit Community Center
A coalition of builders and suppliers are taking on the job of raising a new community center in Detroit, replacing a city hall building destroyed by last fall's wildfires. A ground breaking was held recently to commemorate the launch
AROUND OREGON Mar. 24
AROUND OREGON: Website connects consumers to fresh Oregon-grown food
Oregon Taste, a public service project of nonprofit James Beard Public Market, announced the launch of OregonTaste.com, a searchable online directory of the state’s locally grown fresh food.
SALEM ECONOMY Mar. 19
SALEM ECONOMIC INDEX: Problems in the housing and labor market, but good news elsewhere
Salem Reporter is adding a new monthly feature to look at key indicators to give you a sense of how the Salem area economy is performing. This month’s data show that Salem’s housing market has tightened but lottery sales and business filings offer reasons for optimism.
Oregonians will have more time to get their state and federal tax returns in
City of Salem offers aid to residents behind on utilities
Oregon's unemployment rate declines — but not by much
FreeSALEM ECONOMY Mar. 16
Adapting to pandemic's disruption, Q's Corner Barbershop remains a community hub in Salem
Quandray Robertson's barbershop has been a place for people from all walks of life to get a haircut and share stories. Left with lots of extra space following the pandemic, the shop will soon be a boxing gym — as well as a home to a community radio station and barbecue stand. It could be a busy place this summer.
Oregonians won't have to pay taxes on first $10,200 in 2020 unemployment benefits
OREGON GOVERNMENT Mar. 12
Oregon sees cyber ID theft rise along with unemployment claims
Oregon officials say cyber thieves have capitalized on the big boom in unemployment claims, but they fear releasing details will trigger a tsunami of fraudulent claims.
SALEM ECONOMY Mar. 10
With the clock ticking on an eviction timebomb, the Oregon Legislature considers additional protections for renters
A bill currently being considered by the Oregon Senate would extend the state’s eviction moratorium to February 28, 2022 while offering tenants other protections. Salem renters and tenants rights groups say it's needed to prevent tenants from losing their homes before relief money takes hold. Landlords say it’ll be another burden after losing rent for months and will enable bad behavior by tenants.
Oregon's employment rate barely budged in January
ENVIRONMENT Mar. 9
AROUND OREGON: Oregon’s new carbon cap program takes shape, but much debate remains
Regulated businesses are already raising concerns about the costs of complying with the program. Environmental groups, meanwhile, are concerned that electric utilities and some transportation fuel providers will escape any regulation.
Chemeketa, state motor pool win PGE funding for solar projects in Salem
Community groups launch fund for Oregon's small, immigrant-owned businesses
SALEM ECONOMY Mar. 8
Salem’s economic development agency plants seeds to make the region a hub for agriculture-centered tech
The Strategic Economic Development Corp. has launched a project that aims to create a network of farmers and tech entrepreneurs. While the project is still being developed, proponents say it could make local farms more competitive and profitable.
Oregon Department of Justice settles with Salem hotel over wildfire price gouging
"High risk" counties will have more time to bring Covid cases down before seeing more restrictions
Help available for Oregon businesses and commercial landlords
SALEM ECONOMY Mar. 2
The pandemic exposed shortcomings in Oregon’s labor laws. A bill would let workers take matters into their own hands
A bill currently in the Legislature would allow workers and their allies to enforce labor laws against employers who rip off their employees or expose them to unsafe conditions. Businesses in Salem and elsewhere worry they’ll be buried under litigation.
SALEM ECONOMY Feb. 25
With airlines scrambled by the pandemic, Salem could have a shot at landing commercial flights
Before the pandemic, Fly Salem was formed by local business groups to bring a commercial airline back to Oregon’s capital city. With airline companies rethinking routes, their goal could be within reach in 2022.
Ferry tolls to increase in Marion County
Oregon's economy is rebounding faster than expected, according to forecast
SALEM ECONOMY Feb. 24
Salem restaurants prepare to welcome customers back in from the cold
Indoor dining has been banned in Marion and Polk counties since November as a precaution against the spread of Covid. The area’s beleaguered restaurants are eager to welcome customers back beginning Friday. But not all are ready.
SALEM ECONOMY Feb. 24
Grocery store workers demand their turn for Covid vaccinations
In Salem, a video of maskless shoppers confronting grocery store workers has gone viral, and workers report they’re exposed to hundreds of people daily. As the state rolls out vaccines, grocery workers are still waiting to find out when they’ll be eligible.
SALEM ECONOMY Feb. 22
With small businesses in mind, federal dollars again flow to Salem businesses
Late last year, Congress renewed the Paycheck Protection Program. This time, the popular program has safeguards directing money to smaller companies. While Salem companies say they are benefitting, the program hasn’t solved all their problems.
Keizer Chamber seeks new executive director
COVID IN OREGON Feb. 17
As harvest season looms, agriculture and farmworker groups clash over Covid regulations
The Oregon Farm Bureau is arguing that a state rule aimed at preventing the spread of Covid in farmworker housing has made workers less safe. But Marion County farmworker advocates say the pandemic has made long-standing issues around farmworker housing worse and the rule has kept workers from getting sick.
AROUND OREGON Feb. 17
AROUND OREGON: Holey war: Klamath Falls donut shop sued by restaurant with similar name
The family-owned operation, known until last week as the Holey Donut, will no longer go by that moniker after its owners were sued by The Holy Donut, a Maine bakery located 3,100 miles away.
Help available for low-income Oregonians who've had to toss food because of storm
WEATHER Feb. 16
Despite damage caused by snow storm, Enchanted Forest still aims to open March 19
The iconic park located south of Salem saw many of its rides and attractions tattered or outright crushed by the storm. But much of the park remains unscathed and the money it raised last year means it has a shot at reopening after it removes all the fallen trees.
SALEM BUSINESS Feb. 10
The former location of the oldest European house in the Pacific Northwest will again be housing
A new apartment development at 990 Broadway N.E. is the former location of the Jason Lee Mission house, which served as a base for the Methodist minister. The development required a historical and archeological review, which produced rare finds.
The new year brings more of the same to Oregon businesses, survey finds
SALEM GOVERNMENT Feb. 8
Demand is high for rent help as service agency prepares to hand out second round of funding
The Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency is seeing nearly 2,000 households that say they need help paying rent. That’s after the agency already distributed $6.6 million to 1,400 households in the last round of funding.
OREGON DEMOGRAPHICS Feb. 5
AROUND OREGON: Oregon deaths outnumbered births last year, for the first time ever
Oregon's birth rate had been falling before the pandemic, but an increase in Covid-related deaths finally flipped the state trend.
CHERRIOTS Feb. 4
Cherriots failed to meet minority contracting goals for years
The Salem transit agency has unsuccessfully sought to attract minority and women-owned businesses to share millions in contract work. Now, the agency's leadership is embarking on a sweeping review that’s an early step in making its operations more equitable.
SALEM ECONOMY Feb. 2
COLUMN: National business survey spells good news and bad for Salem's economy
Numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that grant and loan programs have helped businesses that needed it. But workers in some job losses have seen hefty job losses.
Extended unemployment benefits will be cut, but the state will extend another lifeline to those out of work
COVID IN OREGON Jan. 29
A Salem gym openly violated state Covid regulations. Now it's getting a check from the county
Marion County has faced delays in issuing grants intended to help businesses struggling under pandemic restrictions. Among those that qualified for a grant is Courthouse Club Fitness, which has publicly defied pandemic restrictions.