Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Comment on Salem's Climate Action Plan

12 days ago

Oregon drops outdoor mask mandate; no end in sight for indoor mask rules

A vendor wears a mask at Salem's Saturday Market on April 4, 2020. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Oregonians no longer need to wear masks in crowded outdoor settings, state health officials announced Tuesday.

Oregon Health Authority director Pat Allen said during a Tuesday news conference that the rule is no longer needed as the state has recorded declines in the number of Covid cases and hospitalizations. The rule has been in effect since Aug. 27.

Oregon was the only U.S. state requiring masks routinely outdoors, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Washington, the only other state with any outdoor mask requirements, only applies the rule to gatherings with more than 500 people.

Masks remain required indoors in public places in Oregon, with some exceptions. Allen said the state does not have a target or metric it will use to decide when to lift that rule. He said the delta variant has made it clear that the virus is becoming less predictable.

"We don't want to set a metric that looks good today but a month or two or three or whenever it is from now, all of a sudden turns out to be the wrong metric," Allen said.

He said Oregonians should expect to continue masking indoors into 2022.

Correction: This article originally misstated Allen's observation about the delta variant. He said it's shown the virus is becoming less predictable, not more. Salem Reporter apologizes for the error.

-Rachel Alexander

12 days ago

AGENDA: Marion County commissioners to consider distributing timber revenue to local programs

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday to consider giving out more than $2 million generated from timber sales to the county, education programs, libraries and the Marion County Extension Service.


The commissioners will consider distributing $2,085,585 in revenue from timber sales in the county. The largest amounts will be over $818,600 to Marion County, nearly $644,000 to the Santiam Canyon School District #129 and nearly $424,500 to the County School Fund.

The commissioners will also consider adopting the Marion County Surveyor's Office map standards and plat naming policy to meet county code requirements.

The board will consider approving deeds for Marion County to sell six foreclosed properties in Woodburn to the highest bidders.

Meeting details: The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Senator Hearing Room at 555 Court Street N.E. The meeting is streamed live on YouTube

-Ardeshir Tabrizian

12 days ago

View, comment on the final draft of Salem's Climate Action Plan

High water in Glenn Creek at Orchard Heights Park on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The final draft of Salem’s Climate Action Plan has been posted online and there’s still time to comment.


A public comment period on the plan will remain open until it goes to the Salem City Council for final approval. That date has not yet been set.

The plan will guide how Salem will adapt to a changing climate through efforts like increased public transit and renewable energy use.

There’s also a summary of changes to the draft document based on public comments and new information.

The city task force leading the Climate Action Plan received hundreds of comments on the draft plan. “Many specifically about the natural gas reduction strategies and home energy scoring strategies,” according to an announcement from the climate group.

The strategy list got longer due to the additional ideas.

There will be an informational report at the Salem City Council meeting on Dec. 6. That will include recommended strategies for implementing the plan, which include hiring a full-time coordinator.

If you would like to provide a comment, email SalemCAP@cityofsalem.net. Comments can also be mailed to Salem Climate Action Plan Comments, 555 Liberty St SE, Suite 325, Salem, Oregon, 97301-3515. 

Previous coverage:

Downtown parking fees, support for energy efficiency among possible Salem climate strategies

More people riding the bus, all renewable power needed for Salem to meet climate goals

-Saphara Harrell