Freewildfires September 18
Overnight rains bring relief for firefighters and Salem residents
The light rains were enough to give fire crews an edge in efforts to contain the Beachie Creek Fire. Air quality has improved enough for some events to resume.
Freewildfires September 17
Weather forecast could spell relief for firefighting, but recovery will be a long haul
Firefighters are optimistic that the rainy weather forecast will work to their advantage. Residents of communities in the fire-ravaged Santiam Canyon may soon have limited access to their homes. But rebuilding roads will be an ongoing challenge. The feds are offering help to residents.
FreeWILDFIRES September 17
A run for his life: Retired Keizer teacher escapes blaze in swimsuit, T-shirt
Former Keizer teacher Scott Torgeson escapes blaze on foot. Former students pour in donations to cover medical expenses.
FreeOREGON WILDFIRES September 17
Breitenbush Hot Springs loses half its buildings to wildfires, hopes to reopen in 2021
Local firefighters joined with community members to save many structures at the popular resort as the Lionshead and Beachie Creek fires burned through the area.
FreeCORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK September 17
Reported Covid tests, cases down in Marion County as wildfires force evacuations
County health officials say they're working with less data about the spread of the coronavirus as evacuations and hazardous air have led to the state lab's closure and fewer people getting tested.
FreeWILDFIRE September 17
UPDATE: Now a new threat: Possible flash floods in Santiam fire zone
The National Weather Service said systems moving into Oregon Thursday could put up to 1 inch of rain on areas burned by wildfires, triggering flash floods and debris flows.
CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK September 16
Cafe 22 West slapped with $14,000 fine for not following mask, social distancing orders
Clyde Aspinwall, the owner of Cafe 22 West hat has a fruit store next door, said the business complied after a visit from a workplace safety agency. His is among a relative handful of businesses that have faced fines for not following state Covid requirements.
LOCAL SCHOOLS September 16
SURVEY: Salem families split between cautious optimism, frustration as kids head back to school
Parents who responded to Salem Reporter’s survey reported concerns about students’ mental health, widening achievement gaps and the impact on working parents as classes begin online.
Business September 15
BUSINESS ROUNDUP: Chances to network and learn about the economy, extra cash for unemployed, OLCC approves curbside rules and another business to close
The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network will have its last networking event of the season. SEDCOR hosts online talk from economists. Employment Department seeks to smooth additional payment. Waffle maker to close.
FreeWILDFIRES September 15
Two additional victims identified in Beachie Creek Fire
Justin Cook worked at numerous restaurants in the Albany and Corvallis area.
FreeSPECIAL REPORT September 15
SPECIAL REPORT: A night in hell - Santiam Canyon's ordeal
As people turned in for the night in the Santiam Canyon on Labor Day, one wildfire that had been held at bay for three weeks was unleashed and a second started a westward march that proved to be stunningly destructive. Salem Reporter has assembled this account of that night in the canyon from interviews and documents.
LOCAL SCHOOLS September 15
After students wait outside in smoky air, South Salem making changes to back-to-school event
Some South Salem High School students faced lines outdoors in hazardous air as they waited Monday to pick up Chromebooks and needed items for school. After a parent complaint, school leaders said they'd do more to avoid a repeat on Tuesday afternoon.
FreeAROUND OREGON September 15
AROUND OREGON: Inequities in remote learning for marginalized students worry Bend-La Pine educators as school resumes
As schools move back virtual learning, not all Oregon students have the same access to resources. The Bend-La Pine system is trying to overcome barriers.
FreeWildfires September 14
Crews make progress on fire, but Salem expected to see smoke until at least later this week
The Beachie Creek fire has shrunk after fire crews moved to contain the blaze over the weekend. However, 1 million acres of Oregon have been burned by the historic wildfires. Gov. Kate Brown said the state "has been pushed to its limits."
WILDFIRE RELIEF September 14
Keizer church steps up to provide aid, counseling to wildfire evacuees
One donation of wheelbarrows to Keizer Church of Christ came from a Portland area woman who lost her own home in a fire.
OREGON SCHOOLS September 14
Thousands of Oregon families choose new online programs for school
Enrollment is booming at established virtual charter schools and at new district-run programs, including Salem-Keizer's.
FreeWILDFIRES September 14
FIRE UPDATE: Fire largely checked on west side, property owners can have police check canyon homes
The National Weather Service is forecasting another day of a mix of dense smoke and fog in the Salem area on Monday, reducing visibility in some places to a quarter of a mile. Meantime, fire officials say calmer weather has allowed them to carve containment lines along the flanks of the Beachie Creek Fire.
WILDFIRES September 12
State fire marshal resigns hours after being put on leave, but officials are mum on why
Jim Walker, the Oregon state fire marshal, resigned Saturday. His office is a unit of the Oregon State Police and Superintendent Travis Hampton Friday night put him on leave for reasons not publicly disclosed. The deputy state fire marshal, Mariana Ruiz-Temple, has been appointed to succeed Walker
FreeWILDFIRES September 12
FIRE UPDATE: More victims found in Santiam Canyon; evacuation level reduced for some communities Saturday
Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast reported Friday evening that two more victims had been found in the Beachie Creek Fire. Search-and-rescue operations in the Santiam Canyon were continuing.
FreePHOTO GALLERY September 11
PHOTOS: East of Salem, waiting and deciding whether to go or stay as wildfires move
As wildfires burned down out of the Cascades, officials put one community after another on alert. In Silverton and Scotts Mills, it was watch, wait – and protect.
FreeSALEM COMMUNITY September 11
Fire updates: 'We think we’ve turned the corner' on Beachie Creek Fire; FBI discounts arson rumors
At a fire briefing Friday morning, incident commanders said milder weather is allowing them to attack the Beachie Creek Fire directly. Previously, the focus has been on rescuing people.
SALEM ECONOMY September 11
Salem nonprofits, hit by pandemic, adjust services and budgets to get by
The local groups that focus on providing help to the community have needed help themselves to keep operations going. Income is down as fundraising events get scrubbed and other sources dwindle. Being flexible is a key to keep going, interviews show.
FreeLOCAL SCHOOLS September 10
Salem-Keizer delays start of school to Sept. 17 in response to wildfires
Nearly all school districts in Marion County have canceled planned classes or pushed the start of school back after wildfires have forced thousands of local families to evacuate. Though Salem is safe from the fires, about 400 district employees live in areas currently being evacuated.
FreeWILDFIRES September 10
Molalla evacuating as two huge wildfires burn towards each other
Authorities ordered the evacuation Thursday of Molalla, a rural community on the east side of the Willamette Valley, as two large wildfires continued to spread. State officials said Oregon is short about 3,000 firefighters to confront blazes that have chewed through 900,000 acres. The state estimates a half million people have had to evacuate.
FreeWILDFIRES September 10
PHOTOS: Damage from the Beachie Creek Fire shows burned homes, iconic restaurant still standing
The communities of Detroit and Gates were hit hardest by the wildfire with families coming home to assess the damage for the first time Wednesday, 36 hours after the fire ripped through the canyon and led people to flee.
FreeSALEM COMMUNITY September 10
Salem volunteers needed for air quality shelter, shower trailer for evacuees
The ARCHES Project needs volunteers overnight to help shelter people affected by hazardous air. United Way is still collecting donations for evacuees, but no longer needs water or clothing.
FreeWILDFIRES September 10
Charred homes awaited some who returned to assess the damage from Santiam Canyon wildfire
Hundreds of evacuees drove into the canyon on Wednesday to see if their homes were still standing. The fire hit communities in a patchwork, with some families feeling relieved while others saw their homes completely destroyed.
FreeWildfires September 9
Two deaths related to Santiam Fire confirmed by sheriff
Enchanted Forest posted to its Facebook page that the body of Wyatt Tofte, the great great-grandson of found Roger Tofte, had been found earlier. The post also said that his grandmother Peggy Mosso “was also taken.” More grim news is expected as crews continue responding to the growing blaze.
FreeWILDFIRES September 9
Extraordinary video shows devastation in the community of Detroit
Sandi Elwood, a Salem Realtor, recorded videos showing the destruction in the mountain community of Detroit. She chronicled the burning of several businesses and many homes.
WILDFIRES September 9
Oregon facing historic loss of life from wildfires, Gov. Kate Brown says
Wildfires to continue to burn out of control across Oregon on Wednesday, and state authorities said there will be significant losses of life and property. Gov. Kate Brown urged people to obey evacuation orders and her advisers asked callers stop clogging 911 lines with calls about smoke. Video by Salem Reporter shows damage in Gates.