A new year has begun and many Resolution lists include greater community involvement.

That’s as it should be; if a community is to truly be “of the people, by the people and for the people,” its citizens are required to defy the urge to procrastinate – and act.

There are many ways to become engaged and ultimately see one’s vision and values more closely reflected in a better community.

The following are some of the many ways to ‘show up’ in Salem.


Register to vote

“Democracy is the worst form of government,” said Winston Churchill, “ except for all those other forms that have been tried.”  The cornerstone of the Democratic system is the right to vote. There is no other act equivalent to it in our country, but if you aren’t registered, you can’t do it.

If you have moved or changed your name, you must re-register with the State of Oregon or you won’t be able to express your views at the ballot box.

It couldn’t be easier to do; just go online to Oregon DMV or drop by a local DMV site.

Last day to register for the next, May 15 election is April 24, 2018.



The most powerful tool people in a democracy can wield is casting an actual ballot.  In our country and around the world, individuals have died for this privilege. The might of the ballot – it is the only reason any entity would try to suppress voters, or discuss dismissing the Electoral College or gerrymander districts or question cast ballots.

Although our government is necessarily imperfect, citizens who do not vote are not full participants. And, it is widely felt that those who do not vote, abdicate their right to complain.

This year in Oregon sees a May 15 Primary election and a November 6 general election.

The last day to mail your May 15 ballot is May 1.


Run for Office

Nine Salem residents serve as City Councilors and make decisions that vitally impact City operation. Eight of those Councilors represent different Wards, or geographical areas, of the city and serve 4 years. One Mayor serves for two years on behalf of everyone. All are volunteer positions.

On May 15, Primary elections will be held for all even-numbered Wards (2,4,6 and 8) and Mayor.

Want to make a difference? You can run for office. Information can be found on the City of Salem website.

The deadline for candidate filings for the May 15, 2018 primary election is March 6, 2018


Apply for a Board, commission or advisory group

Salem people can find it deeply satisfying to serve on one of the many boards and commissions that advise City Council on a wide range of matters. For example, commissioners might guide the city on issues including the Salem Public Library, Redevelopment, Parks and Recreation, wastewater, public transit and the airport.

Frequently these bodies do not have a full slate of the members allowed by city code, which means that fewer people work harder and that there is not a full range of community involvement at City Hall.

All citizen groups are appointed; so interested people need to apply for them. Boards and commissions hold regular meetings and may include the Mayor or councilors. They are supported by staff.

Currently, positions are available on the following:

• Salem Human Rights and Relations Advisory Commission

• Community Police Review Board,

• North Gateway Redevelopment Advisory Board

• Salem Housing Advisory Committee

• Center 50 Advisory Commission


Planning Commission

Special NOTE: Anyone interested in guiding city growth and orderly development might consider a newly vacated position on the Salem Planning Commission. The position is mid-term, and the appointee would serve the remaining term of this seat, which expires December 31, 2020.

If you are interested in this service – act immediately. Visit the City of Salem website right now because applications must be received by January 25, 2018


Take to

the streets

Salem WomXn’s March

Speakers include Senate District 10 candidate Deb Patterson, feminist author Karen Garst and Native activist Hannah Shooting Bear – and more

January 21
Music provided an hour prior to and after the March
Oregon State Capitol steps
900 Court St NE

Building on the momentum of 2017’s popular event with over a thousand attendees, 2018’s Womxn’s March coordinators are striving to bring even more inclusiveness to the celebration. “All are invited,” say organizers Lisa Kendall and LeAnna Thornton, “to the most inclusive March anyone has ever seen.”

Featuring diverse speakers and encouraging blind and disabled activists to participate, this year’s march “is a celebration of who we are and what we have accomplished, showing that women and marginalized womxn (pronounced women-ex,) are valued by our community,” according to organizers.

They add that some from Salem’s underrepresented communities were disappointed that the previous Women’s March did not feel enough care was given to their issues. For this reason, the 2018 group developed a coalition of new and diverse voices “to show our solidarity as one community, one Salem.”

The use of Womxn instead of Women is an effort to include more of the people who make up the city of Salem.

“Wheelchairs, scooters, and ponchos will be provided for the disabled,” says Kendall, and “signs and materials available in many languages.”

January 23
Meeting of Salem Climate Activists
7 p.m.
945 Columbia St. NE, Lobby 101

Salem Climate Activists/350 Salem OR is the local branch of 350.org, an international climate justice movement that supports the science of climate change and is committed to stopping all new coal, oil and gas projects as well as building clean energy for all.

Anyone motivated to working to keep coal trains out of Oregon or pushing back against the offshore drilling proposed by the Trump administration will find this group can focus your efforts in productive ways.

At the January 21 meeting, attendees will learn about the Clean Energy Jobs Bill and how to support its passage in the 2018 Oregon legislature as well as prepare for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters / Renew Oregon Lobby Day at the Capitol on February 12.

January 31
4:30 pm
Ike Box
299 Chemeketa St. NE

Watch the livestream Kick-Off event for 350.org Fossil Free Campaign with 350.org‘sCo-Founder and other climate movement leaders

February 6
Business hours (Exact time TBD)
Red Lion Inn
Market St. NE Salem

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is holding public meetings in US coastal states about Donald Trump’s directive to open more offshore sites for drilling for oil.  350 Salem OR is partnering with Portland Surfriders, 350 PDX and others – to make its opposition known. Attend and join in.

February 10
Dia de Accion del Inmigrante/Immigrant Action Day
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Chemeketa Community College
4000 Lancaster Dr. NE, Bldg 2

Sponsored by Causa Oregon, Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization, this event’s focus is on actions to support the needs of immigrants in our community.

February 14
One Billion Rising rally
Noon – 1 p.m.
Oregon State Capitol steps
900 Court St NE, Salem

One Billion Rising is the largest mass action to end violence against women in human history, organizers say. The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that one in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.

Attend a benefit concert

January 27
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem
5090 Center St NE
6 – 8:30 p.m.
Suggested donation $10

In 2017 the UUCS membership voted to become a sanctuary congregation. Since then, a team has been working on the necessary steps to ready the building for guests such as an undocumented resident seeking sanctuary. In order to finance a renovation of a room at UUCS so that it can meet fire codes, a benefit concert will be presented. It will feature Dr. Atomic Medicine Show with Peter Bergel, local performer Ayala’s Band, local Latino family group the Aztec Dancers, Mark Babson and Company – and more.

Get educated

January 18
Salem Diesel Pollution Awareness
Salem Keizer Coalition for Equality
3850 Portland Rd NE
6 – 8 p.m.

This forum, hosted by Latinos Unidos Siempre and Salem Diesel Pollution Awareness, will educate and empower the public about diesel pollution, a toxic carcinogen that is connected to 460 premature deaths in Oregon every year. Attendees will learn how to learn what the diesel pollution levels in their city are, and what they can do about the issue. Free food and childcare provided.

Feb 6
A Womxn’s/Woman’s Power Community Forum
First Congregational United Church of Christ
700 Marion St. NE
6:15 – 8: 15 p.m.

Join organizers Racial Justice Organizing Committee (RJOC) for a group educational forum with speakers Sandra Hernandez-Lomeli, Shelaswau Crier and Emily Von Gilbert, and moderator Robin Grupper.

The forum will consider questions of gender oppression, the connections between gender oppression and white supremacy and reproductive and gender justice, with plenty of time for audience participation.

February 20
“Chasing Coral”
Salem Progressive Film Series
Grand Theatre
191 High St NE
7 p.m.

In the latest of the successful Salem Progressive Film Series’ line up, “Chasing Coral” studies the vanishing of coral reefs around the world. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out to discover why, and to reveal the underwater mystery of the world.

The Salem Progressive Film Series has been bringing documentaries to Salem since 2007 on diverse topics ranging from fracking to economic issues to modern disposable culture to military policies. The Series screens one documentary every third Tuesday of each month from September – May.

Act from an armchair

The Facebook page for Oregon PeaceWorks contains a “Speak Out” section that allows readers to quickly click on links to share their thoughts on issues as diverse as clean power, holding the NRA accountable and responding to the President’s nuclear provocation.

KMUZ Radio at 100.7 and 88.5 FM broadcasts local news and views listeners can hear nowhere else. Supported by diverse local organizations and its listeners, the station airs 7 days a week, with Willamette Wakeup at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday, Salem History Matters every Thursday at noon, Theatre Talk the first and third Fridays at 9 a.m. – and more.

Thom Hartmann’s syndicated broadcasts from the week previous air weekdays at 11 a.m.