Local News That Matters

Frontline workers now eligible for vaccines in Oregon April 5

7 months ago

Rocket captured on video lights up sky Thursday night

A rocket flew over the sky Thursday night. (Courtesy/ Angela Hendrick)

Salem residents who looked to the sky Thursday night around 9 p.m. saw debris from a Falcon 9 rocket that didn’t have a successful deorbit burn, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

In Salem and across the Pacific Northwest, people took to social media posting photos and video of the lights, which many said resembled a meteor shower.

The Salem Police Department tweeted about the rocket Thursday night with photos and video of the rocket moving across the sky.

“Yes, #salemoregon. We saw it too!” the department tweeted. 

-Saphara Harrell

7 months ago

World Beat cancels event that draws thousands for second year in a row

Nupurum Folk Dance showcased dances from the different states of India in brightly colored saris during the World Beat Festival in June, 2019. (Saphara Harrell/ Salem Reporter)

For the second year, World Beat Festival won’t be returning to Riverfront Park with dragon boats, Indian folk dancing, and cuisine from around the globe.

Kathleen Fish, executive director of the Salem Multicultural Institute which puts on the festival, said her team decided at the start of this year it wouldn’t be able to hold one of Salem’s largest events which draws around 30,000 people each year during the last weekend in June.

“We decided back in January it was becoming clear that the pandemic was not going recede as quickly as we had hoped,” she said.

Fish said the event wouldn’t have the volunteers to do social distance monitoring and the event wouldn’t pencil out financially at half capacity. She also doesn’t want to become a “super spreader” event for Covid.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “I feel really bad for our vendors and exhibitors and performers.”

Fish said she considered doing a virtual event, but that the virtual event market is saturated and by the end of June people will prefer to do things outdoors.

“We’re still trying to think of ways we can get some programming out there,” she said. 

-Saphara Harrell

7 months ago

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Oregon Senate passes gun safety bill

Oregon Legislature (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

On Thursday, the Oregon Senate passed a bill that proponents say will make the public safer. But opponents say it will have the opposite effect and will infringe on the right to self-defense. 

THE ISSUE: People with concealed handgun licenses have legal protections to possess a firearm in public buildings, including schools and airports. 

THE BILL: Senate Bill 554

WHAT IT DOES: The bill allows school districts and other local governments to ban firearms from their buildings. Jurisdictions that opt to ban firearms have to post signs outside their buildings signaling that guns aren’t allowed.

WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: Proponents say that allowing local governments to ban firearms will make them safer.


Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas: Excused

Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes

Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons: No

Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem: Yes

Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer: Absent 

WHAT’S NEXT: The bill heads to the Oregon House for consideration. 

CORRECTION: State Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, joined six Republicans in voting against the measure. An earlier version said the measure passed on a party line vote. Salem Reporter apologizes for the error.

-Jake Thomas

7 months ago

Frontline workers in Oregon now eligible for vaccines April 5

Avi Singh draws up a dose of the Pfizer vaccine during a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Thursday, Jan. 28. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Grocery store employees, restaurant workers, people working in manufacturing and other essential workers will become eligible for a Covid vaccine in Oregon on April 5, Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday.

The announcement speeds up the timeline for vaccinating the last group of Oregonians who will become eligible for a shot before everyone 16 and older is eligible on May 1. Previously, essential workers had been scheduled to receive a shot starting April 19.

Most Oregon counties, including Marion and Polk, began vaccinating agricultural and food processing workers and adults 45 and older with underlying health conditions this week. Those groups become eligible for a shot statewide on March 29.

On April 5, that pool will expand to all other essential workers as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's an expansive list which includes college and university employees, bus drivers, mail carriers, wastewater plant workers, gas station attendants and court employees.

Oregonians aged 16 to 44 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk for Covid will also become eligible for a shot April 5, as well as people living in multigenerational housing. More information about vaccine eligibility and scheduling a shot is available on the Oregon Health Authority website.

-Rachel Alexander