Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Salem motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 99E

3 months ago

Polk County Sheriff's Office rescues two tubers stranded near Keizer Rapids Park

Polk County reserve deputy Derrick Angelus explains state regulations concerning life jackets to a group who recently purchased an oversize paddleboard at Wheatland Ferry on the Willamette River on Sunday, July 18. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office rescued two women who had become stranded on a gravel bar north of Keizer Rapids Park Thursday night.

A Polk County Sheriff's Office news release Friday said 20-year-old Jackeline Garcia, of Woodburn, and 19-year-old Shibana Lazaro-Aguirre, of Wilsonville, planned to float in inner tubes around Keizer Rapids Park Thursday evening.

But due to the strong current, the sheriff’s office said they floated past their intended area and got stranded on a gravel bar 500 yards north of the park.

The women called 911 and a Polk County Sheriff’s Office boat rescued them. The sheriff’s office said they weren’t wearing life jackets and advised people recreating on the river to always wear one. 

-Saphara Harrell

3 months ago

Biden says federal employees, including 1,500 in Salem, must get vaccinated or have regular Covid tests

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all federal employees will be asked to prove they’re vaccinated against Covid or be tested one to two times per week for the virus. 

The announcement impacts an estimated 1,500 federal workers in Salem. 

It came on the back of new data that shows the Delta variant of the virus spreads more easily, including among vaccinated individuals; though those who have been vaccinated rarely show serious symptoms of illness.  

“People are dying and will die who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die,” Biden said. 

The new requirement calls for those federal workers who remain unvaccinated to wear a mask and socially distance. Additionally, they will not be permitted to travel for work.

The changes announced Friday will also apply, Biden said, to all federal contractors. 

“If you want to do business with the federal government, get your workers vaccinated,” Biden said.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has so far avoided imposing similar rules on state workers. But on Friday she announced that all employees and visitors inside state agency buildings will be required to wear face coverings, effective immediately. 

The Centers for Disease Control now recommends even vaccinated people wear face coverings in public, indoor places in areas where the spread of cases is high–defined as 50 new Covid cases for every 100,000 people in a week. Both Marion and Polk counties currently meet that threshold.

Statewide, masks are not required for vaccinated individuals in places like grocery stores or shopping malls after Brown dropped the mandate for face coverings July 1. 

Students and teachers returning to schools, however, will be required to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status, Brown said in a statement on Thursday. 

Brown has not yet required vaccinations for state workers. The Oregonian/OregonLive reported on July 28 Brown is considering such a requirement after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on July 26 that all state employees must be vaccinated or tested for Covid-19. 

Correction: This article originally misstated the day of Biden's announcement. It was July 29, not July 30. Salem Reporter regrets the error.

-Caitlyn May

3 months ago

Salem-area cooling centers open for triple digit heat

Kids play at the splash pad at Northgate Park on June 21, 2021 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

It's going to be a hot day in Salem, with temperatures predicted to reach a high of 102 degrees Friday.

The National Weather Service in Portland has placed the region under a heat advisory until 11 a.m. Saturday.

Cooling center locations are listed below. Cherriots is offering free bus rides to people headed to cooling locations.

The ARCHES Project

2475 Center St. N.E.

8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday 

Church at the Park 

2410 Turner Rd. S.E.

8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Sunday

Recovery Outreach Community Center

2555 Silverton Rd. N.E.

Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday to Sunday

-Saphara Harrell

3 months ago

State agency employees must wear masks indoors, Gov. Brown says

Gov. Kate Brown speaks with Woodburn School District acting superintendent Juan Larios in the library on the first day back to in-person learning at Lincoln Elementary School in Woodburn, Ore. on Thursday, April 1, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

State agency employees must again wear masks while working indoors, regardless of whether they're vaccinated against Covid, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Friday.

The policy, effective immediately, also applies to visitors to state agency offices. State employees must also wear masks when traveling in state-owned vehicles unless they are driving alone, the policy said.

"This mask requirement will protect Oregonians, many of whom have been on the frontlines of the pandemic and who continue to provide essential services to Oregonians. We also must protect everyone—both agency employees and community members who visit state agencies for information, services, and resources. This new guidance accomplishes both," Brown said in a prepared statement.

Brown cited the rise of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The announcement comes after Brown on Thursday said K-12 schools across Oregon must require students, employees and visitors to wear masks indoors when school begins in the fall, regardless of whether they've been vaccinated against Covid.

-Rachel Alexander

3 months ago

Salem motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 99E

A Salem motorcyclist died Thursday night after crashing into a car turning left onto Boones Ferry Road from Highway 99E.

Oregon State Police responded to the crash around 10:43 p.m., according to a news release.

OSP said a preliminary investigation found Jose Sandoval Flores, 40, of Woodburn, was driving a Hyundai Sante Fe northbound on Highway 99E when he turned into the path of 64-year-old Jerald Stewart riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Police said Stewart sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead. Flores was not injured, the release said.

 -Saphara Harrell