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.
Salem residents can go to the gym and resume other indoor activities beginning Friday
Salem area unemployment rate increased in December