Category: news2

Salem Vote by numbers

Voters registration and polling data show that Salem is predominantly progressive. In recent years, however those values have not reflected in city government. But Tuesday May 17th saw a sea change election in Salem, Oregon. For the second consecutive election, the city had a large number of contested races; 3 out of the 4 council seats were competitive, with only incumbent Brad Nanke in Ward 3 unopposed.  Salem also saw its first contested mayoral election since 2010. In the city council races, progressive candidates won all 3 of the contested seats, and all three were younger than council members...

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Minto Bridge, Falling Behind? Reasons and Rhyme

“London Bridge is falling down, falling down…” says the English nursery rhyme. Is Salem’s version to be: “Minto Bridge is falling behind, falling behind…?” Falling behind it is from earlier estimates admits Aaron Kimsey, Senior Project Manager for the City of Salem, but, he adds, there is still time to meet the project’s final completion date of December 31, 2016. Meeting the substantial completion date of September 30th might prove more difficult. The delay is due to difficulties in constructing the curved, lofty arches that will sweep 300 ft over the Willamette Slough and attach to fixed abutments on...

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Waste dumping fees raised to save agency

Last month, after 24 years, the Marion County Board of Commissioners approved of increases in several types of waste disposed in Marion County. Tipping fees are charged to “tip” waste into a dump. The Salem-Keizer Recycling & Transfer Station east of town and the North Marion Transfer Station near Woodburn, will see a $20 increase in the per ton tip fee for franchised garbage haulers. This will mean an increase for the garbage haulers from $67.45 per ton to $87.45 per ton, and at transfer stations from $87.45 per ton to $107.45 per ton. Licensed contractor waste will go up from $75.45/ton to $95.45/ton. At the Browns Island Demolition Landfill, rates for non-friable asbestos will raise from $30 to $75/yard and demolition materials will raise from $10.50 to $13.00/yard. All increases will be effective October 1, 2016. The reason for the hike is that funding for Marion County’s Environmental Services Department had dropped in recent years. Environmental Services, a widely valued county service, manages landfills, promotes recycling and education and provides EarthWISE certification for local businesses. The department’s revenues have been generated for years from tipping fees and from income created at a fourth facility, the Covanta energy-from-waste facility near Brooks. At Covanta, waste is burned to create electricity, and metal is recovered to be sold. But neither electricity nor the facility’s metal is as valuable as it used...

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Hey Marion County, You mailed it too late!

Once again on Election Day, May 17, 2016, Marion County election officials received ballots too late to be counted. If you mailed yours less than a week ahead of time, yours might have been among them. According to Marion County Clerk, Bill Burgess, during the November 2014 gubernatorial election, 715 Marion County ballots were mailed too late and were never counted. Longer mailing times in 2016 result from two changes in US Postal Service policy, Burgess says. First, Salem mail began being routed through Portland the summer of 2012, meaning that a resident who mails a ballot to the...

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Salem safe from inundation!

by Helen Caswell Salem residents concerned about the coming Cascadia subduction earthquake can cross one potential catastrophe off their lists, says the US Army Corps of Engineers. And that is t he disaster of the Detroit Dam falling to pieces and its water engulfing the city. It’s a topic local people wonder about. “I’ve been asked repeatedly about Detroit Dam failure in a Cascadia [earthquake] since I began this job,” says Ed Flick, Marion County Emergency Manager. “The consequences would be catastrophic, but the likelihood is extremely remote.” Completed in 1953, the Detroit Dam is only 45 miles east of Salem and was built before Oregonians knew the risk of earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest . It wasn’t until the 1970s that people began to understand the state had numerous faults both off shore and onshore. In particular, geologists learned the region is subject to massive Cascadia Subduction Zone quakes which occur about once every 300 years. It’s now been 316 years since the last Cascadia , but Matt Craig, Dam Safety Program Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says that though the Detroit Dam was not constructed with seismic concerns in mind, the corps does not anticipate a failure. “We do risk assessments on an ongoing basis,” he says, “in particular of what might happen in a 9.0.” A magnitude-9.0 earthquake is the most intense possible...

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