Category: Cover Stories

Salem Hospital contributes $50,000 to fight expanded bus service

Salem Health has come out against a measure designed to expand bus service in Polk and Marion counties.  The measure, up for  public vote this November, would allow weekend bus service, later weeknight hours, youth passes for middle and high school students and holiday service. Supporters of the transit expansion question the hospital’s reasoning. The ballot measure, called 24-388, was created by pro-transit advocates and several members of the Salem-Keizer Transit Board.  A “yes” vote in the November 3 general election would mean that expanded bus service, long desired by locals, would be financed by a small levy on area businesses.  The tax would be 0.21 percent of a business’s annual payroll. Salem Hospital has invested $50,000 in a Political Action Committee (PAC) that opposes the measure,  the Create Jobs PAC, which works through the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. “Salem Health recognizes that access to health care is a major concern in the Mid-Willamette Valley,” says Salem Health’s government relations staff.  “In fact, after conducting extensive focus groups in 2013, medical transportation was identified by our Board of Trustees’ Community Benefits Committee as one of three urgent community needs.” The hospital explains its position against expanded bus service several ways.  One is that, since the majority of the hospital’s patient appointments and services occur on weekdays and during business hours, the addition of busses outside these hours “will...

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Goliath goes down… for now -Neighbors prevail against Salem Hospital

For the neighbors who prevailed against Salem Hospital in a case decided by the Oregon Court of Appeals last week, the surprise was not the victory but the direct and clear language of the prestigious court to the hospital’s attorneys. In the July 15 decision, Presiding Judge Timothy Sercombe, Judge Erika Hadlock and Judge Douglas Tookey of the Court of Appeals of the State of Oregon described Salem Hospital’s legal reasoning as “circular” and said, “we decline to make arguments for the hospital that it has not endeavored to make for itself.” “It is an important decision,” says Roger K. Heusser, neighbor in South Central Association of Neighbors (SCAN), “and a major accomplishment for SCAN.  This hopefully means a turning point, where the hospital has to follow the rules like everyone else.” “I call it a ‘David and Goliath’ win,” says Lorrie Walker, another neighbor “where high-profile lawyers with almost unlimited money lined up against ordinary neighborhood people who just wanted a healthy community.” The dispute originated with community concern for pedestrian and bicycle safety at a congested Mission Street intersection, Salem Health’s intention to cut down 265 to 290 year old Douglas Firs and nine significant Oregon White Oaks and the hospital’s plan to install 264 surface parking spaces on the 8.42 acres that was formerly the Oregon School for the Blind, where the hospital is building a...

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TEDX SALEM -MOXIE SHATTERS EXPECTATIONS

Two impresarios with a lively love for Salem are organizing a significant event here.  Creative partners Carlee Wright and Brian Hart will co-curate the second all-day TEDxSalem on Saturday September 13. This year’s theme is moxie. For those unfamiliar, TEDx is an international cultural phenomenon of idea sharing, in which events are designed around speakers and topics meant to open minds and spark conversation.  A key phrase used by the movement is, “Ideas worth spreading.” “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and “x” represents an independently organized event operated under license from TED, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. In...

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