Author: Helen Caswell

Controversy continues over government notice

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has extended its deadline for public comment about impacts that a 3rd Bridge would have on three local natural areas, until August 11. However, the controversy surrounding the public notice itself continues. The stated purpose of the most recent public notice published on July 26, is for ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to learn what citizens feel about how the proposed “3rd Bridge” or Salem River Crossing would impact the three natural resources that are, Wallace Marine Park, Wallace Natural Area and the Willamette River Water Trail. Although the notice extends...

Read More

FHWA and ODOT Public notices incomplete, misleading, critics say

In notices published on June 28 and July 12, the Federal Highway Administration and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) requested citizen feedback on potential impacts the proposed 3rd Bridge across the Willamette River would have on local natural areas. Critics describe the notices as “very flawed” and say they gravely misrepresent and under represent effects of the proposed Salem River Crossing (SRC) on the community’s natural environment. The second notice gave no detail on potential impacts at all; except for an accommodation for Spanish-speakers it provided no link to any resource that would provide citizens with even nominal understanding....

Read More

LUBA case advances towards decision

Two lawsuits filed by citizens protesting a Salem City Council vote that would allow expansion of Salem’s urban growth boundary (UGB) to accommodate a 3rd bridge across the Willamette, are one step closer to resolution. On July 13, Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals heard oral arguments on petitions filed after Salem City Council voted 5-2 last December to approve an Ordinance that would modify the city’s UGB, amend the city’s transportation system plan and comprehensive plan and make exceptions to a Statewide Planning Goal written to protect the Willamette River Greenway from development. At the hearing, petitioners and...

Read More

Tales from the ER

When Kelly Williams Brown was driven to Salem Hospital Emergency Room one cold night in January 2017, she expected to find relief from excruciating pain. The New York Times bestselling author and former Statesman Journal columnist was visiting Salem, and had woken up disoriented and confused, and with intense pain radiating from her arm. She had had a seizure, dislocated her shoulder and cracked her humerus nearly in half. But the emergency department staff at Salem Health only ordered an elbow x-ray and an ultrasound, and discharged her with a prescription for 600mg of Ibuprofen. They suggested she follow...

Read More

They won’t get the lead out

On March 2, his first full day in office, Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed an action taken by the Obama administration to phase out the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on national wildlife refuges by 2022. Zinke said hunters were being discouraged from experiencing national outdoors sites and that his move was to “expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard.” Oregon has 18 national wildlife refuges and all 18 allow hunting. Lead is a neurotoxin; lead ammunition has been shown to be a significant source of toxic exposure in...

Read More

Are the kids alright?

Those that have followed the historic lawsuit, Juliana v. United States – in which 21 plaintiffs who range in age from 9 to 21 years old, say that the United States government has violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by supporting greenhouse-gas emissions and fossil fuel industries – got big news on May 26. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), industry and trade associations, made the motions to withdraw. Whether or not they will be allowed to do so will be decided in...

Read More

Politics on KMUZ: diverse and nuanced

KMUZ, the community radio station of Salem and its environs, is continually expanding both its range and its programming. Five years old this last December, the all-volunteer station heard at 100.7 and 88.5 FM offers shows on gardening, events, art, history, music, senior care and more. But what about politics? “I like to use the term ‘public affairs,’ says Melanie Zermer, founding board member and President in 2015 and 2016. “It seems less loaded and broader in scope.” KMUZ has a number of public affairs shows, but one airs five times a week, with different hosts each day.  That’s Willamette Wake Up (WWU), which is heard Monday through Friday from 8-9am. Most days the show starts with a nationally syndicated news segment called Democracy Now! Headline News – just to get a flavor of what’s happening nationally. The rest of the show is dedicated to local news maker interviews and announcements about community events – from a kids’ program happening at a library to a public hearing on a school district budget. Due to the variety of hosts and their interests, WWU covers diverse topics including Salem city news and local newsmakers and “legislative matters” which covers critical legislation in the state Capitol. There are also programs on local nonprofits, social justice issues, the natural environment, Polk county news, corrections and mental health issues. Zermer notes, “During election season,...

Read More

What statistics say about the special election

On May 16, Salem voters elected three new Salem-Keizer School Board members and approved a $61 million police facility. Marion County Clerk, Bill Burgess, who is well used to running the numbers on elections, has reviewed preliminary figures and notes some differences between this and previous elections. “Overall, we had a good turnout for a district election,” Burgess says, “and a lot of that has to do with bond measures. When there’s money on the ballot, it does tend to move people to vote.” Jefferson voters gave a 41% turnout to reject a $14 million bond to construct and...

Read More

Marion County Commissioner Carlson responds to accusations

Marion County Commissioner Janet Carlson says the task force she helped create was productive and proper and resulted in a road map that will mean significantly better results for regional efforts to address homelessness. Following Salem Weekly’s article about a KMUZ Willamette Wake-Up radio program’s criticisms of the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative task force (MWHI) Carlson agreed to speak with us about the work and procedures of the 1-year+ entity that existed between January 2016 and February 2017. She says that the conduct of those on the task force was appropriate and expresses belief that its work will have a...

Read More

Virginia Woolf cast already treading the boards

A month before the May 26th opening night of Pentacle Theatre’s Leading Ladies, the cast of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the Edward Albee masterpiece that comes to the Pentacle in early July, had already begun to prepare for performance. “Rehearsals began with table work in mid-April,” says the play’s director Ed Schoaps, “progressing to blocking and running scenes.” Schoaps, a popular actor and director at Pentacle since 1976, believes that attention to detail is essential for a work of this stature. “People think they know Edward Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ because they dimly remember seeing or...

Read More

Is the City wrongly attempting to influence police bond vote?

Citizens currently visiting the City of Salem website are greeted with an artist’s rendering of an attractive new police facility and the text, “May 2017 Police Facility Bond Frequently Asked Questions.” There is an invitation to click on a button to learn more. Some locals object to the advocacy they perceive on the site, as well as to the $50,000 the City is spending to educate voters about the bond. “The City should be ashamed of how they have acted in such a brazenly political manner during this election campaign,” says Salem political activist, Alex Kohan. The first image...

Read More

Quick guide to a Salem city council vote against the 3rd bridge

On April 24, Salem city council took a vote considered a victory for community members who oppose efforts to build a 3rd bridge across the Willamette. On that night, council voted 5-4 against approving an interagency agreement between the city and the State of Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) that would have advanced the project. How did it begin? The vote followed a December 5, 2016 decision, when city council approved an ordinance, Bill 14-16, which expanded the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), amended the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan and the Salem Transportation System Plan, and took an...

Read More

Salem city attorney ribs citizen advocates

Citizens who have written an appeal to a Salem city council vote, among others, say a comment made by City Attorney Dan Atchison about their work was unprofessional. Atchison says that his remark was light hearted and not intended to offend anyone. On December 6, 2016, Salem city council voted to enact an ordinance (#14-16) that would expand the city’s urban growth boundary (UGB) by about 35 acres. The vote was made in support of an effort to add another bridge across the Willamette River between Salem and West Salem. In addition to an appeal of the vote by...

Read More

Another Salem Downtown Organization

A private corporation has been formed to promote Salem’s downtown district. The entity, Salem Main Street Association (SMSA) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit that follows a downtown revitalization model called Oregon Main Street. SMSA hosted a public event on April 20 where it shared its vision with local people. “I believe our downtown is the heart of our community and represents who we are and historically who we were,” says Salem’s Hazel Patton, a historic preservationist and spokesperson for the group. SMSA will have no members, meaning that all significant decisions will be made exclusively by its board. The...

Read More

Contributions tell a story

Orestar, the Oregon Secretary of State site that tracks campaign contributions, shows that interest remains high in supporting local elections and, in general, that money does predict a campaign’s success. In the Ward 6 race this spring, progressive Chris Hoy got more votes than his closest competitor, businessman Greggery Peterson, in that contest, Orestar shows that Hoy’s campaign received about $5,350 in small contributions under $100 and about $2,970 from 9 larger donors. Additionally, Hoy received more sizable donations from three sources; $1,200 from the Progressive Salem PAC, $1,000 from activist Brian Hines and $500 from Citizen Action for...

Read More

30 ACRES IN SALEM, PRESERVED FOREVER

This month nearly 30 acres of forested land and streams in the South Salem hills were preserved for all time. The land, owned by noted Oregon artist and Willamette University art instructor Carl Hall and his wife Phyllis, was secured in perpetuity with a conservation easement. A conservation easement means that though the land is still owned by the Hall Family, its unique environmental resources, deemed to have public value, will always be protected even when the property is sold or leased, or its title is otherwise conveyed. “We know that many people love the land they own and...

Read More

SALEM MARCHES FOR SCIENCE

On April 22, approximately 1000 Salem demonstrators joined an international march to support science and reason. The non-partisan event, held on State Capitol steps, was officially presented as an effort to draw attention to the importance of fact-based policy by governments. Many present considered the event a call-to-arms to resist the Trump Administration’s defunding of science-based agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health. Placards on display also decried the denial of the scientific consensus on climate change by Trump and other Republicans, and the imposition of gag rules on some scientific topics in federal...

Read More

HEARTS LIKE FISTS HITS SALEM

Faster than a speeding bullet, the 2013 play, Hearts Like Fists explodes onto the stage this Friday night. With the zany energy of a comic book, the fight-infused comedy promises to delight with savvy, wickedly-funny dialogue and a madcap superhero romance. Directing the show is Jay Gipson-King, a performer in his own right as well as creator of the Salem Theatre Network and educator at both Chemeketa Community College and Willamette University. The production will be presented at the Chemeketa campus by Keizer Homegrown Theatre, a company formed in 2012 with the goal that both audiences and theatre participants...

Read More

Living with dread

As fears of deportation have shot up in undocumented immigrant communities since the Trump inauguration, thousands of local people have begun to take new steps to protect their families. The effects can be seen in the Marion County Clerk’s office where requests for passports for the children of undocumented people are on their way to being twelve times what they were last year. Passports are purchased to allow children born in the United States – who are documented – to travel to the country where an undocumented family member may have been returned. In Marion County, passports are issued...

Read More

HISTORIC SALEM HOME FACES DEMOLITION

A historic queen anne home on a small street north of downtown faces an uncertain future. After housing a series of families since ​about the 1880s, the home at 1950 Water St. NE was purchased by the Salvation Army in 2007. The Army now wants to demolish or move the structure​,​ so ​it can use the land ​it​ sits on to expand ​the agency’s services for homeless populations, already situated on adjacent lots. The historic nature of the home may impede these plans. “We built a beautiful facility at the Kroc Center, and we hope to build a beautiful...

Read More

sw-house-ad-for-web-donatepdffinal

sw-house-ad-for-web-donatepdffinal