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  • Marion County celebrates 175 years of service

    Marion County celebrates 175 years of service

    Date: 5/1/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Marion County 175

    ​This article appears in the May 2018 edition of the Salem Business Journal. 

    By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Wolves, grizzlies, black bears and cougars were killing livestock. People were fighting over land. A well-to-do man died without a will, so what to do with his cattle and his estate?

    Those issues drove settlers to create the first Oregon, and later Marion County, government. They met May 2, 1843 on a bluff above the Willamette River at a site we now know as Champoeg State Heritage Area. That history-deciding meeting is memorialized in a mural in the House Chamber of the Oregon State Capitol.

    Much has changed in the 175 years since that meeting, but Marion County's place as the heart of Oregon government has remained constant. And regardless of whether residents have held a minimalist or expansive view of government, they have counted on county services.

    Marion County has good reason to celebrate "175 Years of Service" throughout this year, including festivities at the Marion County Fair in July.

    The celebration also could be called "175 Years of Solutions." That first meeting along the Willamette largely dealt with an issue that reigns across Oregon today: wolves.

    Political sentiments were strong in the 19th century, as they are in the 21st century. The Champoeg vote to form a system of self-government was close, perhaps 52-50.

    That Oregon Territory Provisional Government helped create order on the frontier. Land disputes proliferated. Probate – the settling of estates – was a critical concern, crystalized by the 1841 death of former mountain man Ewing Young, a prominent financier and cattle rancher in the Chehalem Valley who died without heirs.

    What would become Marion County was a huge area, stretching east to the Rocky Mountains and south to California and Nevada. One of four districts that made up the Oregon Territory, it was called Champooick, later changed to Champoeg.

    In 1849, Champoeg County's name was changed to honor Revolutionary War Gen. Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion.

    The county gained its present boundaries in 1856 after Wasco, Polk, Linn and other counties were carved from its vast breadth. Marion County is bordered by the Willamette River and Butte Creek on the north, the Santiam River and North Fork of the Santiam on the south, the Willamette on the west and the Cascade Range on the east.

    At 1,194 square miles, Marion is comparatively small in size; relatively large in population, estimated at 341,286 last year by the U.S. Census Bureau; and undeniable in its 175 years of political, economic and educational influence.

    The oldest university in the West, Willamette University, was founded here in 1842. Salem, the county seat, became the territorial capital in 1851 and then the state capital. The Marion County Courthouse in 1857 hosted the Oregon Constitutional Convention, whose foundational charter became the basis for Oregon joining the Union as the 33rd state on Feb. 14, 1859.

    In the 1860s, the county purchased what would become the Oregon State Fairgrounds, deeding the property to the Oregon State Agriculture Society.

    Through the centuries, Marion County has remained one of the world's great agricultural regions. Generations of Native Americans lived off the land. Retired fur trappers settled into farming. Nurseries took hold. County agricultural agents provided advice. And thanks to voters in 2015, that collaboration continues with creation of the Marion County Extension and 4-H Service District.

    The state has taken over the courts, but many of the 19th and early 20th century demands for services remain: roads, ferries, land use, law enforcement, animal regulation, help for the indigent, physical and mental health treatment, veterans care and yes, tax collections to pay for those services.

    The 21st century has brought more demands and more services. But it all started with wolves.

    On May 2, 2018, 175 years after the historic vote at Champoeg, Marion County kicked off its "175 Years of Service" celebration for the remainder of 2018. There will be special festivities as part of the annual Marion County Fair, a self-guided tour of Marion County, 175 things to do in Marion County, and more. Visit www.marioncounty175.com​ for information about upcoming "175" events and activities. ​

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  • Addiction treatment program moving to new location

    Addiction treatment program moving to new location

    Date: 3/15/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Health and Human Services

    ​Marion County Health & Human Services Addiction Treatment program is excited to announce the relocation of services to 2045 Silverton Rd NE, in Salem. The program provides adolescent and adult outpatient addiction treatment services, medication assisted treatment, and mentor services.

    The last day of services at the current building located at 2035 and 2166 Davcor Ct. will be Thursday, March 15. The move out of those buildings will take place over the weekend of March 15-17. The Addiction Treatment Services program will open its doors for business at the new location on Monday, March 19.​

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  • Portion of Champoeg Road to Close for Culvert Repair

    Portion of Champoeg Road to Close for Culvert Repair

    Date: 5/23/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Public Works

    ​Beginning Wednesday, May 30, Champoeg Road will be closed at Skookum Creek to repair the existing culvert at that location. The road closure is expected to last approximately five weeks.

    The project site, which is located on Champoeg Road between OR219 and Riverside Drive NE, will utilize Ray Bell Road NE west of OR219 and east of Riverside Drive as detour routes during this time. Champoeg Road is expected to reopen on June 29.

    During this time motorists are asked to please heed all posted road closure and detour signs.

    For more information, contact Jill Ogden, Engineering Technician Sr., or Steve Preszler, Project Engineer at 503-588-5036, or email capitalprojects@co.marion.or.us.  

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  • Marion County announces that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open

    Marion County announces that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open

    Date: 5/22/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​Marion County parks staff has announced that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open for the season. The park's opening has been delayed due because temporary staff had not been hired for the 2018 season before May 1. Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, said "Bear Creek Park & Campground is one of our most popular parks in the North Fork Corridor and we're happy to be able to open it before Memorial Day Weekend." He added, "Parking fee stations are also open now, so visitors who park in any of the county parks in the North Fork Corridor or along the road on North Fork Road will be required to pay the $5 daily parking fee." Fee stations are located in Bear Creek, North Fork and Salmon Falls parks and along North Fork Road, and $30 annual parking passes are also available to purchase at Marion County Public Works.

    Other Marion County parks along the North Fork of the Santiam River that have already opened for the season include North Fork and Salmon Falls parks.

    Scotts Mills Park is still closed so the parking lot can be repaved, which must be done in warm, dry weather. The park will open for the season once this work is completed.

    For more information, contact Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, at (503) 588-5036 or at rdilley@co.marion.or.us.

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  • Volunteers recognized for service to Marion County

    Volunteers recognized for service to Marion County

    Date: 4/20/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Business Services

    ​More than 131,000 hours with a value of $2.9 million – these are the 2017 contributions of Marion County's almost 3,200 volunteers. The Board of Commissioners celebrated the dedicated efforts of county volunteers on April 18 in honor of National Volunteer Week.

    Please join us in congratulating our 2018 volunteer award recipients: 

    Youth Volunteer – McKenzie Kress

    McKenzie Kress has volunteered in the Law Library since 2017. In addition to everyday duties of shelving, labeling, and sorting books, McKenzie also assisted with updating online catalog records and web page content to help customers access information more efficiently. McKenzie is an honors student and also volunteers at Salem Hospital.

    Advisory Board Volunteer – Don Frederickson, Mark Callier, Pete McCallum, and Ed McKenney    

    All four nominees are longtime citizen members of the Marion County Public Safety Coordinating Council. This 32-member council advises the Board of Commissioners on numerous public safety issues. Public safety policy recommendations made by the council affect all members of the community, from victims of crime to those involved in the criminal justice system. Through their diverse backgrounds and community volunteer experience these four council members have brought vital insights to community public safety issues.

    Program Award – Shirley Williams

    Shirley Williams is a longtime volunteer with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Shirley began her volunteer service with the Sheriff's Office as a reserve deputy – a position she held for 17 years. She continued her volunteer work serving on both the Disabled Parking and Radar Enforcement teams and has since moved to administrative assignments. She currently serves in the parole and probation division.

    Mary Pearmine Outstanding Volunteer Group – Solid Waste Management Advisory Council (SWMAC)

    This award is in honor of the late Mary Pearmine who served as a commissioner from 1991 to 1998.

    The Solid Waste Management Advisory Council is a diverse group of dedicated volunteers, all interested in improving Marion County's solid waste system. The council supports and makes recommendations on the county's goal of prioritizing waste reduction, reuse and recycling, and recovering energy from the material that remains.  Over the last few years, SWMAC volunteers have provided expertise and insight on challenges facing the solid waste industry and have been asked to analyze and understand complex information. There are continuing issues the group will continue to explore in the upcoming year.

    Judge Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year – Charlie Goodman

    This is award is honor of late Rex Hartley who served as a county judge and commissioner from 1951 to 1966.

    When Charlie Goodman retired from the Marion County Juvenile Department, his service to the youth in our community didn't end. Charlie contributed more than 300 hours to the alternative programs last year. He has served in several program areas including providing wood for low income seniors and disabled residents of the county. He has also provided yard maintenance and designs and donates products for the Fresh Start Market. We appreciate his continued commitment to the Juvenile Department and working to continuously improve programs for youth.

    These are just a few of Marion County's volunteers and volunteer opportunities. In addition to these special awards, we appreciate the time and talents each of our volunteers contribute to enhance our programs and services. Volunteer positions are varied; there is something for everyone!

    For a list of current volunteer opportunities or to learn more about Marion County's volunteer program, contact Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Miller at (503) 588-7990, email volunteer@co.marion.or.us or visit the volunteer website​ ​

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  • Jun
    14

    Old Mehama Road to Close for the Alder Creek Culverts Replacement Project

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​STAYTON, OR – On June 20, 2018, Marion County will begin construction for the replacement of the Alder Creek culverts on Old Mehama Road.  Old Mehama Road will be closed immediately west of Siegmund Road.  Access to Siegmund Road will only be available from the east end of Old Mehama Road from the Highway 22 intersection. The culvert replacements will be complete by June 22. 

    During the closure of Old Mehama Road a detour will be in place utilizing Highway 22.  Detour signs will be posted to guide motorists through the detour. Please comply with all posted traffic signs and safety warnings, and be considerate of bicyclists and farm equipment on the road.

    Marion County understands the work will be disruptive and will make every effort to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you have any questions please contact Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician, at 503-588-5036 or jogden@co.marion.or.us or Dave Chamness, Project Engineer, at 503-588-7919 or dchamness@co.marion.or.us.

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    Old Mehama Road to Close for the Alder Creek Culverts Replacement Project
  • Jun
    13

    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to Close for Bridge Replacement

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​JEFFERSON, OR – Beginning Monday, June 18, 2018, Jefferson-Marion Road SE will be closed immediately south of Pletzer Road SE to replace the existing bridge spanning Marion Creek. The road closure is located between Parrish Gap Road and the City of Marion and will last approximately 10 weeks. Access to Pletzer Road will remain open at all times from Jefferson-Marion Road. Jefferson-Marion Road is scheduled to reopen by August 24, 2018.

    During this time a signed detour utilizing Parrish Gap Road SE, Hunsacker Road SE and Marion Road will be in place. Expect increased traffic on signed and unsigned detour routes in the area. Please obey posted road closure and detour signs and be considerate of farm equipment and bicyclist in the area.

    For more information, contact Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician, or Bob Pankratz, Project Engineer, at 503-588-5036 or constructionprojects@co.marion.or.us.

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    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to Close for Bridge Replacement
  • Jun
    12

    DEPUTIES SEARCHING FOR MISSING SALEM MAN (PHOTO)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: June 12th, 2018 8:53 PM

    Deputies have located Mr. Siefarth. A concerned citizen located him near Hayesville Drive NE. When Mr. Siefarth could not guide the man to to his home he called the police. Mr. Siefarth will be taken home shortly .

    ************

    Deputies Searching for Missing Salem Man

    Deputies are currently searching a north east Salem neighborhood for a missing man with dementia. Gerald Siefarth, age 86 walked away from his care home on Trapper Drive NE around 6:30 p.m. this evening. Siefarth is 6’02” tall, 192 lbs and walks with a cane. He was last seen wearing a red long sleeve tee shirt and brown pants.

    If you see Mr. Siefarth please call 911.

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503.930.0579
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
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    DEPUTIES SEARCHING FOR MISSING SALEM MAN (PHOTO)
  • Jun
    11

    3 VEHICLE FATAL CRASH CLOSES MCKAY ROAD (NORTH MARION COUNTY) ***UPDATE*** (PHOTO)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: June 11th, 2018 8:30 AM

    The Marion County Sheriff's Office has learned over the weekend Ronald Wall, age 25 and his passenger Jamie Shennan age 22 have succumbed to their injuries and died. Mr. Shennan and Mr. Wall both received their injuries in a 3 vehicle crash on June 7th in North Marion County.

    The Sheriff's Office would like to send it's thoughts and prayers to the three families affected in this tragic set of events. The Sheriff's Office is continuing with their investigation and no further details are available.

     

    ************************

     

    Deputies have identified the drivers and passengers involved in yesterdays fatal vehicle crash on McKay Road NE near French Prairie Road NE. Investigators have determined that Jose Castilla-Castilla, age 23 of Clackamas was stopped on McKay Road preparing to make a left hand turn. A second vehicle operated by Ronald Wall, age 25 and his two passengers Jamie Shennan age 22 and Timotheus Albers, age 37 were stopped directly behind Mr. Castilla-Castilla.

    A pickup truck, being driven by Paul Leyva, age 27, of Wilsonville struck Mr. Wall’s vehicle from behind causing Mr. Wall’s vehicle to hit Mr. Castilla-Castilla’s vehicle. Mr. Castilla-Castilla and Mr. Leyva were both transported by ambulance to an area hospital for evaluation.

    Mr. Wall and his passenger Jamie Shennan were both transported to OHSU by Life Flight. Tragically Timotheus Albers died at the scene. Mr. Wall and Mr. Shennan both remain at OHSU in critical condition. All three men are employees of a Dutch technology company and arrived in the United States last weekend.

    Specialized investigators with the Sheriff’s Office are still working to determine the events that lead up to yesterday’s crash. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Aurora Fire Department, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Life Flight, Marion County District Attorney’s Office, Marion County Medical Examiner’s Office and Marion County Public Works

    The Sheriff’s Office does not anticipate the release of any additional information at this time.

    **********************************

    Today, (June 7th, 2018) at 2:50 p.m., deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office were called to a three vehicle, rear end crash on McKay Road NE west of French Prairie Road NE. In total 4 people were injured and tragically 1 person was killed when two passenger cars and a truck collided.

    Two of the victims were taken by Life Flight to area hospitals and their conditions are unknown at this time. The remaining 2 victims were transported by ambulance to area hospitals for evaluation. Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety CRASH Team are on scene and investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

    It is very early in this investigation and the roadway will remained closed for the next several hours. No additional details are available at this time.

     

    ********************************

     

    Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are currently on scene of a three vehicle crash on McKay Road NE near French Prairie Road NE. Deputies have confirmed there are at least five people injured in the crash, one of whom is deceased.

    Members with our CRASH Team are enroute and a PIO is headed to the scene. McKay Road is closed and will remain closed for an undetermined amount of time. Additional information will be released as soon as it becomes available.

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503.930.0579
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
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    3 VEHICLE FATAL CRASH CLOSES MCKAY ROAD (NORTH MARION COUNTY) ***UPDATE*** (PHOTO)
  • Jun
    7

    3 VEHICLE FATAL CRASH CLOSES MCKAY ROAD (NORTH MARION COUNTY) (PHOTO)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: June 7th, 2018 5:45 PM
     

    Today, (June 7th, 2018) at 2:50 p.m., deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office were called to a three vehicle, rear end crash on McKay Road NE west of French Prairie Road NE. In total 4 people were injured and tragically 1 person was killed when two passenger cars and a truck collided.

    Two of the victims were taken by Life Flight to area hospitals and their conditions are unknown at this time. The remaining 2 victims were transported by ambulance to area hospitals for evaluation. Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety CRASH Team are on scene and investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

    It is very early in this investigation and the roadway will remained closed for the next several hours. No additional details are available at this time.

    ********************************

    Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are currently on scene of a three vehicle crash on McKay Road NE near French Prairie Road NE. Deputies have confirmed there are at least five people injured in the crash, one of whom is deceased.

    Members with our CRASH Team are enroute and a PIO is headed to the scene. McKay Road is closed and will remain closed for an undetermined amount of time. Additional information will be released as soon as it becomes available.

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503.930.0579
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
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    3 VEHICLE FATAL CRASH CLOSES MCKAY ROAD (NORTH MARION COUNTY) (PHOTO)
  • Jun
    5

    PLANE CRASH KILLS PILOT (EAST OF SALEM) ***UPDATE*** (PHOTO)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: June 5th, 2018 8:56 AM

    Investigators have identified the pilot killed in last night’s plane crash as Norman Newton, age 40 of Salem. Deputies believe that Mr. Norman was flying his Kit Fox 1 plane when for unknown reasons he crashed killing him instantly. This morning representatives of the NTSB arrived on scene and have assumed the investigation. A detective will remain on scene with Federal Investigators as a liaison while the NTSB completes their investigation. The Sheriff’s Office will refer all further inquiries regarding the crash to the NTSB.

    ****************************************

    Deputies have learned that today’s deadly plane crash will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). An investigator with the NTSB will arrive tomorrow morning from Alaska and the investigation will continue. The Sheriff’s Office intends to release the pilots name tomorrow morning any additional statements pertaining to the crash will be made by the NTSB and their investigators. The Sheriff’s Office does not anticipate any additional releases this evening.

    ****************************************

    Plane Crash Kills Pilot (East of Salem)

    Today at 3:56 p.m., the Marion County Sheriff’s Office was called to a plane crash in the 6700 block of Lardon Road NE near Salem. When deputies arrived they found a crashed fixed wing aircraft near a private runway. Sadly, the occupant and presumed pilot was killed in the crash.

    Deputies are working with the Federal Aviation Administration to determine what events led up to today’s crash. It is anticipated investigators will be on scene and working over the next several hours. There are no additional details available at this time. The Sheriff’s Office anticipates releasing additional details as well as the pilot’s identity sometime tomorrow morning.

    Anyone who believes they may have witnessed the crash are asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 503 588 5032.

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503.930.0579
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
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    PLANE CRASH KILLS PILOT (EAST OF SALEM) ***UPDATE*** (PHOTO)
  • Jun
    5

    2ND GRADE SCOTT ELEMENTARY STUDENT STRUCK BY VEHICLE (PHOTO)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: June 5th, 2018 6:37 PM

    At approximately 4:00 pm today, Deputies responded to a report of a 9-year old girl who had been hit by a truck while crossing Hollywood Dr NE near Val Vista Ave NE.

    The 2nd grade Scott Elementary School student got off the bus at her stop just south of Val Vista Ave NE and started to run alongside the bus as it was driving north on Hollywood Dr NE. As the bus passed her she immediately turned and ran into the roadway where she was struck by an oncoming white Dodge Pickup driven by 20-year old Salem resident Lisa DELA CRUZ.

    The bus driver stopped and assisted the arriving deputies on scene. The 9-year old suffered what appeared to be non life threatening injuries and was transported by ambulance to Salem Hospital for further evaluation. During the investigation deputies were told by DELA CRUZ the brakes were failing on the truck and needed to be replaced.

    DELA CRUZ was issued a citation for driving outside her license restrictions and for unsafe vehicle operation.

    As school draws to an end and summer begins todays crash is a reminder to always be aware of our surroundings and drive vigilant. Small children can be unpredictable, so please use caution while driving our Marion County roadways.

     

    No other information is available at this time

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Deputy Ethan Griffith
    Cell Phone: 503.932.7575
    Email: egriffith@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
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    2ND GRADE SCOTT ELEMENTARY STUDENT STRUCK BY VEHICLE (PHOTO)
  • Jun
    4

    MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE STATEMENT (DETROIT ARREST)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: June 4th, 2018 3:55 PM

    Please find the attached ("read more") statement regarding an arrest earlier today.

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503.930.0579
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
    Read More
    MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE STATEMENT (DETROIT ARREST)
  • Jun
    1

    Boones Ferry Road NE and Donald Road NE to close for the Senecal Creek Bridge Repair Project

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​On June 7, 2018, Marion County's contractor, Roy Houck Construction LLC, will begin construction for the repair and resurfacing of the Senecal Creek Bridge on Boones Ferry Road NE.  Boones Ferry Road will be closed to through traffic between Grim Road and Ehlen Road and Donald Road will be closed to through traffic between Grim Road and Boones Ferry Road between June 4 and June 21.  Roy Houck Construction will remove the pavement on the bridge and approaches and Marion County crews will repair the bridge. Once the bridge repairs are completed, the contractor will pave the bridge and approaches. 

    During the closure of Boones Ferry Road and Donald Road a detour will be in place utilizing Grim Road, Highway 99E, Highway 551, and Ehlen Road.  Detour signs will be posted to guide motorists through the detour. Please be aware of increased traffic volumes on the detour route, comply with all posted traffic signs and safety warnings, and be considerate of bicyclists and farm equipment on the road.

    Marion County understands the work will be disruptive and will make every effort to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you have any questions please contact Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician, at 503-588-5036 or jogden@co.marion.or.us or Dave Chamness, Project Engineer, at 503-588-7919 or dchamness@co.marion.or.us.

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    Boones Ferry Road NE and Donald Road NE to close for the Senecal Creek Bridge Repair Project
  • May
    29

    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to close for bridge replacement

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​On June 4, 2018, construction will begin to replace the existing Marion Creek Bridge on Jefferson-Marion Road SE between Parrish Gap Road SE and the City of Marion. Daytime traffic will experience intermittent flagged lane closures from June 4 through June 15 to allow the contractor to perform preparatory work. Beginning June 18, Jefferson-Marion Road will be closed for approximately 10 weeks at Marion Creek to allow the contractor to remove and replace the existing bridge.

    During the road closure, a detour will be in place utilizing Parrish Gap Road, Hunsacker Road SE, and Marion Road SE. Please be aware of increased traffic on the detour route, heed all posted road closure and detour signs, and be considerate of bicyclists and farm equipment on the road. Road work associated with the bridge replacement is expected to be completed by September 6, 2018.

    For more information, contact Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician, or Bob Pankratz, Project Engineer, at 503-588-5036.

    Read More
    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to close for bridge replacement
  • May
    23

    Portion of Champoeg Road to Close for Culvert Repair

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​Beginning Wednesday, May 30, Champoeg Road will be closed at Skookum Creek to repair the existing culvert at that location. The road closure is expected to last approximately five weeks.

    The project site, which is located on Champoeg Road between OR219 and Riverside Drive NE, will utilize Ray Bell Road NE west of OR219 and east of Riverside Drive as detour routes during this time. Champoeg Road is expected to reopen on June 29.

    During this time motorists are asked to please heed all posted road closure and detour signs.

    For more information, contact Jill Ogden, Engineering Technician Sr., or Steve Preszler, Project Engineer at 503-588-5036, or email capitalprojects@co.marion.or.us.  

    Read More
    Portion of Champoeg Road to Close for Culvert Repair
  • May
    22

    Marion County announces that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​Marion County parks staff has announced that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open for the season. The park's opening has been delayed due because temporary staff had not been hired for the 2018 season before May 1. Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, said "Bear Creek Park & Campground is one of our most popular parks in the North Fork Corridor and we're happy to be able to open it before Memorial Day Weekend." He added, "Parking fee stations are also open now, so visitors who park in any of the county parks in the North Fork Corridor or along the road on North Fork Road will be required to pay the $5 daily parking fee." Fee stations are located in Bear Creek, North Fork and Salmon Falls parks and along North Fork Road, and $30 annual parking passes are also available to purchase at Marion County Public Works.

    Other Marion County parks along the North Fork of the Santiam River that have already opened for the season include North Fork and Salmon Falls parks.

    Scotts Mills Park is still closed so the parking lot can be repaved, which must be done in warm, dry weather. The park will open for the season once this work is completed.

    For more information, contact Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, at (503) 588-5036 or at rdilley@co.marion.or.us.

    Read More
    Marion County announces that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open
  • May
    1

    County gives water safety reminders as seasonal parks open

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Even first responders and expert swimmers gasp when they venture into Oregon's snow-fed streams, rivers and lakes at this time of year.

    "The best description everybody says is, 'I jumped in the water and it immediately took my breath away,'" said Marion County Deputy Sheriff Dave Zahn.

    As more Marion County parks open to the public on May 1, first responders are urging Oregonians to be wary around the water.

    "May's water conditions are frigid," said Marion County Sheriff's Sgt. Matt Wilkinson. And when it's hot outside, "Everyone runs to the river to cool off."

    "The water is pure snowmelt. For even the strongest swimmers, it can shock them and cramp their muscles and cause them to drown."

    Deputy Zahn uses this exercise to teach children about the escalating effects of cold water: Put nuts and bolts in a bucket of ice water. Try to put the nuts and bolts together while keeping your hands in the water. Within minutes, the task becomes increasingly harder as your hands lose dexterity and the cold zaps your strength.

    Every year, Marion County experiences one or two drownings and several near-drownings. That is why it's important to always swim with a buddy, use life jackets and make an emergency plan before you start your outing. Being well-prepared makes it less likely that something will go wrong and increases your survival chances if something does.

    Parks open to public

    Among the Marion County parks opening May 1 are ones on the Little North Fork of the Santiam River and on the North Santiam itself: Minto, Niagara, North Fork and Salmon Falls. Bear Creek Park and Campground will open later in May.

    Also opening are Aumsville Ponds on Bates Road SE near Aumsville; Bonesteele Park on Aumsville Highway SE; Spong's Landing on the Willamette River north of Keizer; and Scotts Mills Park.

    Open year-round are Packsaddle Park on the North Santiam; Rogers Wayside near Silverton; and Auburn, Denny, Eola Bend, Joryville, Labish Village and Parkdale parks in the Salem area.

    Cold water even on hot days

    "Spring rivers are cold," said Josh Weathers, recreation manager for the Detroit and Sweet Home ranger districts of the Willamette National Forest. "A lot of people seem to forget that."

    The North Santiam River never warms up, because it's fed by water from the bottom of Detroit Lake. At this time of year, even the Willamette and Columbia rivers are relatively cold.

    Cold water can cause shock in one minute and incapacitate a person within 10 minutes.

    Plan for the unexpected

    On hot days, many popular cooling-off spots are out of cell-phone range, which underscores the importance of having a safety plan. Emergency phones are located on North Fork Road at the entrance of Salmon Falls Park and at the Elkhorn Fire Department, 32788 North Fork Road SE, Lyons.

    Deputy Zahn said to think ahead for how you'll handle a water emergency. If someone is struggling, don't jump in unless you're trained in life saving and an expert swimmer; otherwise, the person could pull you under. Unfortunately, the would-be rescuer often is who drowns.

    Instead, Zahn said, remember to "Reach, Row or Throw." Reach out to the struggling person with a long stick or pole, row to the person if you're in a boat, or throw something – even an empty, closed cooler – that a person can use to stay afloat.

    As for life jackets, think of them like bike helmets. You might think they don't look cool, but they can save your life – and there's never time at the last moment to put them on. Wear them when you're around water, including boating – especially if you're not a strong swimmer and in excellent shape.

    "Last year was one of our deadliest summers," Sgt. Wilkinson said. "Taking these precautions could save a life."​


    WATER SAFETY TIPS

    • Remember that you're in the outdoors. If you were hiking in Oregon, you would never go alone. You would always make an emergency plan, inform friends and family, and follow that plan. Treat water outings the same way, including always swimming with a buddy.
    • Keep a constant eye on children, even if they are a distance from the water.
    • Life jackets are a good idea for everyone and especially for inexperienced, weak or non-swimmers. Wearing a life jacket while in or on the water is as important as wearing a seat belt while driving in a car or wearing a helmet while riding your bike or motorcycle. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning is the leading cause of death in nearly 75 percent of boating related fatalities and 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
    • Choose swimming areas carefully, and heed "No swimming" signs.
    • These are natural creeks and rivers, with constantly changing conditions, which means wading is less exciting but far safer than jumping or diving. Don't jump into water unless you can clearly see the bottom, have measured the depth and have ensured there are no obstacles.
    • Never wade or swim upstream of a waterfall or rapids.
    • River banks, logs and rocks may be slippery at any time of year.
    • Keep an eye upstream for logs and other debris. Swift currents can send rocks tumbling along the river bottom as well.
    • The U.S. Forest Service advises: "If you fall into fast-moving water, do not try to stand up. The force of the water will push you over and hold you under. Most drownings result from getting a leg or ankle caught in an underwater rock ledge, between boulders or snagged in tree limbs or other debris. (Lie) on your back with your feet pointing downstream and toes pointing up toward the surface. Always look downstream and be prepared to fend off rocks with your feet."
    • Stay hydrated and use sunblock.
    • Learn CPR, hope you never have to use it, but be prepared in case you do.

    Parking

    Reminder: Park legally so you can focus on your activities instead of worrying about being cited (or towed).

    There is a $5 daily parking fee along North Fork Road and in Marion County parks accessed from North Fork Road, including North Fork Park, Salmon Falls Park, Bear Creek Park day use parking and Lomker's Bridge day use area. Fee stations are along the road. A $30 North Fork Corridor Annual Parking Pass also can be purchased at a fee station or from Marion County Public Works.

    Sources: Marion County Sheriff's Office, Marion County Public Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, Safe Kids Oregon, Washington State Parks Boating Program

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  • May
    1

    Marion County celebrates 175 years of service

    Posted by: Marion County 175

    ​This article appears in the May 2018 edition of the Salem Business Journal. 

    By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Wolves, grizzlies, black bears and cougars were killing livestock. People were fighting over land. A well-to-do man died without a will, so what to do with his cattle and his estate?

    Those issues drove settlers to create the first Oregon, and later Marion County, government. They met May 2, 1843 on a bluff above the Willamette River at a site we now know as Champoeg State Heritage Area. That history-deciding meeting is memorialized in a mural in the House Chamber of the Oregon State Capitol.

    Much has changed in the 175 years since that meeting, but Marion County's place as the heart of Oregon government has remained constant. And regardless of whether residents have held a minimalist or expansive view of government, they have counted on county services.

    Marion County has good reason to celebrate "175 Years of Service" throughout this year, including festivities at the Marion County Fair in July.

    The celebration also could be called "175 Years of Solutions." That first meeting along the Willamette largely dealt with an issue that reigns across Oregon today: wolves.

    Political sentiments were strong in the 19th century, as they are in the 21st century. The Champoeg vote to form a system of self-government was close, perhaps 52-50.

    That Oregon Territory Provisional Government helped create order on the frontier. Land disputes proliferated. Probate – the settling of estates – was a critical concern, crystalized by the 1841 death of former mountain man Ewing Young, a prominent financier and cattle rancher in the Chehalem Valley who died without heirs.

    What would become Marion County was a huge area, stretching east to the Rocky Mountains and south to California and Nevada. One of four districts that made up the Oregon Territory, it was called Champooick, later changed to Champoeg.

    In 1849, Champoeg County's name was changed to honor Revolutionary War Gen. Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion.

    The county gained its present boundaries in 1856 after Wasco, Polk, Linn and other counties were carved from its vast breadth. Marion County is bordered by the Willamette River and Butte Creek on the north, the Santiam River and North Fork of the Santiam on the south, the Willamette on the west and the Cascade Range on the east.

    At 1,194 square miles, Marion is comparatively small in size; relatively large in population, estimated at 341,286 last year by the U.S. Census Bureau; and undeniable in its 175 years of political, economic and educational influence.

    The oldest university in the West, Willamette University, was founded here in 1842. Salem, the county seat, became the territorial capital in 1851 and then the state capital. The Marion County Courthouse in 1857 hosted the Oregon Constitutional Convention, whose foundational charter became the basis for Oregon joining the Union as the 33rd state on Feb. 14, 1859.

    In the 1860s, the county purchased what would become the Oregon State Fairgrounds, deeding the property to the Oregon State Agriculture Society.

    Through the centuries, Marion County has remained one of the world's great agricultural regions. Generations of Native Americans lived off the land. Retired fur trappers settled into farming. Nurseries took hold. County agricultural agents provided advice. And thanks to voters in 2015, that collaboration continues with creation of the Marion County Extension and 4-H Service District.

    The state has taken over the courts, but many of the 19th and early 20th century demands for services remain: roads, ferries, land use, law enforcement, animal regulation, help for the indigent, physical and mental health treatment, veterans care and yes, tax collections to pay for those services.

    The 21st century has brought more demands and more services. But it all started with wolves.

    On May 2, 2018, 175 years after the historic vote at Champoeg, Marion County kicked off its "175 Years of Service" celebration for the remainder of 2018. There will be special festivities as part of the annual Marion County Fair, a self-guided tour of Marion County, 175 things to do in Marion County, and more. Visit www.marioncounty175.com​ for information about upcoming "175" events and activities. ​

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    Marion County celebrates 175 years of service
  • Apr
    30

    County to hold board session at Champoeg

    Posted by: Marion County 175

    ​In anticipation of the 175th anniversary of the founding of Marion County, the Board of Commissioners will hold its regular board session at the Champoeg Visitor Center on May 2, 2018. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and the public is encouraged to attend. The visitor center is located at 8239 Champoeg Road NE, St. Paul, inside the Champoeg State Heritage Area State Park. 

    The meeting will include historical presentations featuring Champoeg State Visitor Center Park Manager John Mullen; Native American Historian David G. Lewis, Phd; Greg Leo from the Friends of Historic Butteville; and a special appearance by historical interpreter Michael Tieman from the Oregon Society Sons of the American Revolution as Gen. Francis Marion.

    May 2, 2018, marks the 175th anniversary of the historic vote at Champoeg on the formation of Oregon's first provisional government on May 2, 1843. Two months later on July 5, 1843, the Oregon Territory Provisional Government was formally established and divided into four districts including Tuality, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Champooick, which was later renamed Champoeg and finally designated as Marion County in 1849.

    The board session kicks off Marion County's "175 Years of Service" celebration for the remainder of 2018. The county is planning special festivities as part of the annual Marion County Fair, a self-guided tour of Marion County, 175 things to do in Marion County in partnership with Travel Salem, and more.

    For more information, contact Jolene Kelley, Public Information Officer, at (503) 566-3937 or email jkelley@co.marion.or.us. ​

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    County to hold board session at Champoeg
  • Apr
    23

    Marion County Announces Seasonal Park Openings

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    Marion County announces that its seasonal parks, which include Bear Creek Park and Campground, will open on May 1 for the 2018 summer recreational season.

    Parks Coordinator Russ Dilley said, "We're looking forward to another busy summer at Marion County's parks. We've added seasonal staff to keep parks ready for visitors, and we're reminding visitors to be mindful of county park rules including bans on alcohol, smoking and glass containers, as well as the new parking fees along the North Fork corridor."  

    North Fork corridor parks
    Bear Creek Park and Campground will open on May 1. The park is a 15-acre campground located between the Bureau of Land Management's Canyon Creek and Elkhorn Valley parks on North Fork Road. Bear Creek Park also provides day use access to the Little North Fork Santiam River. The park has 15 first-come, first-served camp sites and costs $14 per night with a 14-night maximum stay. Each of the camping sites has picnic tables and fire pits and accommodates one vehicle. A $5 fee applies to each additional vehicle. Campsite check-in is 4 p.m. and check out is 1 p.m. on the day of departure. The day use portion of the park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    North Fork and Salmon Falls parks also open on May 1. Both parks provide access to the Little North Fork Santiam River, include restrooms and picnic facilities, and are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Two emergency phones are now operational in areas where cell phone coverage is either unavailable or unreliable. One phone is located at the entrance to Salmon Falls Park and one phone is located at the Elkhorn Valley Fire Station. Both phones connect directly to 9-1-1.

    In 2017, Marion County instituted a $5 daily parking fee for all vehicles that park on the side of North Fork Road and in county parks accessed from North Fork Road, including North Fork Park, Salmon Falls Park, Bear Creek Park day use parking and Lomker's Bridge day use area. Parking fee stations along North Fork Road and in each park will be available for use in May. Fees can be paid using cash or check. A $30 annual parking pass is also available, which will allow unlimited daily parking for one vehicle along North Fork Road and in Marion County North Fork corridor parks. Annual passes can be purchased at any of the parking fee stations or at Marion County Public Works, Building 1, 5155 Silverton Road NE in Salem.

    Scotts Mills Park
    Scotts Mills Park will not open on May 1 due to scheduled maintenance. The parking lot is being repaved and will open for the season once that work is completed.

    Other Seasonal Parks
    Other seasonal Marion County parks that open to the public on May 1 include:

    • Aumsville Ponds on Bates Road SE near Aumsville;

    • Bonesteele Park on Aumsville Hwy SE;

    • Spong's Landing on the Willamette River north of Keizer; and,

    • Minto and Niagara parks along the Santiam River.

    These parks are open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset.

    The following Marion County parks are open and available for public use year-round:

    • Salem area - Auburn, Denny, Eola Bend, Joryville, Labish Village, and Parkdale;

    • Near Silverton - Rogers Wayside; and

    • Along the North Santiam River – Packsaddle

    St. Louis Fish Ponds, west of Gervais, opened for the season on March 1.

    Marion County has a first-come, first-served policy for all county parks and park amenities. Reservations are not accepted. Parking permits are only required at the county's North Fork corridor parks and for parking along North Fork Road. Parking at all other county parks is free.

    ​Safety
    Marion County reminds park visitors that the following safety rules apply:

    • Alcohol, glass containers and smoking are prohibited in all county parks.

    • Outdoor cooking fires must be in a fireplace, barbecue pit or camp stove, and used safely in designated picnic or cooking areas. During fire season, only portable gas barbecues and camp stoves may be used.

    • Fires must be attended at all times in county parks. Completely extinguish all fires until cold to the touch and comply with all seasonal fire restrictions.

    • Discharge of firearms, ammunition, fireworks and other types of explosives are also prohibited in county parks.

    For more information about county parks, including descriptions, locations and available amenities, visit the Marion County Parks website at www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks or call (503) 588-5036.

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    Marion County Announces Seasonal Park Openings
  • Apr
    20

    Volunteers recognized for service to Marion County

    Posted by: Business Services

    ​More than 131,000 hours with a value of $2.9 million – these are the 2017 contributions of Marion County's almost 3,200 volunteers. The Board of Commissioners celebrated the dedicated efforts of county volunteers on April 18 in honor of National Volunteer Week.

    Please join us in congratulating our 2018 volunteer award recipients: 

    Youth Volunteer – McKenzie Kress

    McKenzie Kress has volunteered in the Law Library since 2017. In addition to everyday duties of shelving, labeling, and sorting books, McKenzie also assisted with updating online catalog records and web page content to help customers access information more efficiently. McKenzie is an honors student and also volunteers at Salem Hospital.

    Advisory Board Volunteer – Don Frederickson, Mark Callier, Pete McCallum, and Ed McKenney    

    All four nominees are longtime citizen members of the Marion County Public Safety Coordinating Council. This 32-member council advises the Board of Commissioners on numerous public safety issues. Public safety policy recommendations made by the council affect all members of the community, from victims of crime to those involved in the criminal justice system. Through their diverse backgrounds and community volunteer experience these four council members have brought vital insights to community public safety issues.

    Program Award – Shirley Williams

    Shirley Williams is a longtime volunteer with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Shirley began her volunteer service with the Sheriff's Office as a reserve deputy – a position she held for 17 years. She continued her volunteer work serving on both the Disabled Parking and Radar Enforcement teams and has since moved to administrative assignments. She currently serves in the parole and probation division.

    Mary Pearmine Outstanding Volunteer Group – Solid Waste Management Advisory Council (SWMAC)

    This award is in honor of the late Mary Pearmine who served as a commissioner from 1991 to 1998.

    The Solid Waste Management Advisory Council is a diverse group of dedicated volunteers, all interested in improving Marion County's solid waste system. The council supports and makes recommendations on the county's goal of prioritizing waste reduction, reuse and recycling, and recovering energy from the material that remains.  Over the last few years, SWMAC volunteers have provided expertise and insight on challenges facing the solid waste industry and have been asked to analyze and understand complex information. There are continuing issues the group will continue to explore in the upcoming year.

    Judge Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year – Charlie Goodman

    This is award is honor of late Rex Hartley who served as a county judge and commissioner from 1951 to 1966.

    When Charlie Goodman retired from the Marion County Juvenile Department, his service to the youth in our community didn't end. Charlie contributed more than 300 hours to the alternative programs last year. He has served in several program areas including providing wood for low income seniors and disabled residents of the county. He has also provided yard maintenance and designs and donates products for the Fresh Start Market. We appreciate his continued commitment to the Juvenile Department and working to continuously improve programs for youth.

    These are just a few of Marion County's volunteers and volunteer opportunities. In addition to these special awards, we appreciate the time and talents each of our volunteers contribute to enhance our programs and services. Volunteer positions are varied; there is something for everyone!

    For a list of current volunteer opportunities or to learn more about Marion County's volunteer program, contact Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Miller at (503) 588-7990, email volunteer@co.marion.or.us or visit the volunteer website​ ​

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    Volunteers recognized for service to Marion County
  • Apr
    2

    Creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    This article appears in the April 2018 edition (page 25) of the Salem Business Journal. ​

    ​By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Don Gay was focused on his tasks, reluctant even to pause for a photograph or quick conversation.

    It was the lunch-hour rush at an Arby's restaurant in Salem. Don was wiping down the tables and chairs, clearing away the trash and keeping the customer area clean.

    "Good job. Makes me happy," Don said.

    Don Gay, 51, is among the more than 2,900 Marion County residents who experience an intellectual or developmental disability – I/DD.

    Like Don, many want to work; to earn a paycheck, even when it's only a few hours a week; and to have the sense of pride, accomplishment and self-worth that comes from having a job.

    "The clients are so happy when they find a job. They just glow," said Betty Fennell, who is part of the Job Development Team for Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette. "It's amazing how much they can do when given a chance."

    Under the state's Employment First policy, Oregon has shifted from employment in sheltered workshops to jobs in the larger community where they can earn the minimum wage or more.

    It can be challenging to find enough employers who recognize why hiring such individuals is good for business. This is one reason why the Marion County Board of Commissioners proclaimed March 2018 as "Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

    More than 300 individuals with I/DD receiving services from Marion County are employed in the community, according to Program Manager Corissa Neufeldt. More would like to.

    "We're hoping people will realize we have an untapped workforce," Neufeldt said. "This is not charity."

    They are stable employees, not looking to move on to the next job. They can find enjoyment in repetitive tasks that other workers find boring, such as copying paperwork in an office, folding towels and napkins or, in Don's case, keeping a restaurant tidy. That frees their co-workers for other tasks.

    People with I/DD don't necessarily fit traditional job descriptions. The key is creating a niche that benefits both the employee and the employer: "Looking at employment in creative ways that meet business needs and also our clients' needs," Neufeldt said. "We've seen many success stories in our community and encourage businesses to consider employing people who experience an intellectual or developmental disability."

    The clients' participation in the workplace often improves workplace morale. In addition, customers see the business as empathetic, which enhances its reputation.

    Betty helped Don find his job, and Goodwill provides his job coach, Tim Kronser.

    Job coaches help the employee and the employer adapt and work through any obstacles that come up. The coaches make sure the employee learns, understands and follows the job tasks.

    "After that, it's letting Don be as independent as he can be," said Tim, whose goal is to gradually fade into the background.

    As with any restaurant employee, Don must follow strict cleanliness and safety standards. Tim worked with Don to obtain his food-handler card, and he is at Arby's for each of Don's two-hour shifts.

    Don, who lives in an adult foster care home in Salem, takes CherryLift to and from work. Wearing his Arby's apron, cap and nametag, he always arrives early so he has time to get ready.

    The staff notices his dependability and timeliness.

    "He just keeps busy. All the tables are beautiful. All the chairs are beautiful. He details the backs of the chairs and everything," Arby's shift manager Bernice Schwartz said. 

    "We all like him."

    For more information about Marion County's Intellectual and Developmental Disability program or to inquire about offering employment opportunities for I/DD individuals, please contact Corissa Neufeldt at (503) 763-5787 or cneufeldt@co.marion.or.us. ​

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    Creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities
  • Mar
    15

    Addiction treatment program moving to new location

    Posted by: Health and Human Services

    ​Marion County Health & Human Services Addiction Treatment program is excited to announce the relocation of services to 2045 Silverton Rd NE, in Salem. The program provides adolescent and adult outpatient addiction treatment services, medication assisted treatment, and mentor services.

    The last day of services at the current building located at 2035 and 2166 Davcor Ct. will be Thursday, March 15. The move out of those buildings will take place over the weekend of March 15-17. The Addiction Treatment Services program will open its doors for business at the new location on Monday, March 19.​

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    Addiction treatment program moving to new location
  • Mar
    15

    Commissioners seek solutions for rural solar farms

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​Proponents and opponents of photovoltaic solar arrays, or solar farms, filled the Senator Hearing Room Wednesday to express opinions on potential changes to the county's Rural Zone Code. Following yesterday's public hearing, staff will work with the Marion County Planning Commission to gather stakeholders from both sides to come up with proposals to regulate solar farms to protect the Willamette Valley's high-value farmland. The commissioners placed a moratorium on solar farm applications until new standards are proposed.

    Marion County began receiving conditional use applications to site photovoltaic solar power facilities in farm zones in 2015. To date, the county has approved 17 sites covering 205 acres. All but one of these sites is composed primarily of high-value farm soils.  People contacted the county with concerns about allowing solar farms on properties that are actively being farmed, particularly farms with higher quality soils. In response, the commissioners are considering additional standards.

    Several people who testified at the hearing requested a work group to revisit the proposed standards. After the ordinance imposing the moratorium is adopted next Wednesday, the county will not accept new solar array applications. The commissioners directed the work group to complete its work before October 1.

    For more information, contact the Marion County Planning Division at (503) 588-5038 or email planning@co.marion.or.us. ​

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    Commissioners seek solutions for rural solar farms
  • Mar
    1

    Recycling Reset - Curbside recycling changes

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​Marion County is hitting the reset button on its popular curbside recycling program.  This means residents won't be able to recycle some plastics and other items after March 5. The reset is due to the global recycling crisis caused by China's crackdown on imported recyclable materials.

    "To put the problem in perspective, it's helpful to understand that China has for many years consumed over half of the world's recyclable materials," said David Lear, Mid-Valley Garbage & Recycling General Manager. "However, a significant amount of the recycled material China was getting was contaminated with food waste, garbage, and other unusable materials."

    As of January 1, 2018, China made good on its promise to significantly limit the amount of material it imports from other countries. The ban created a major disruption in recycling and there is no excess capacity in worldwide recycling markets to absorb the material China no longer accepts. This leaves Marion County recycling processors, as well as other jurisdictions, with a lot of material and few markets.

    Will Posegate, Garten Services Chief Operating Officer, said, "Given that this shakeup in global recycling markets is likely to continue for the near future, we have identified a short list of materials for which we know there are markets, both global and domestic. Our goal is to make sure that collected recyclable material is marketable and will actually be recycled and not end up in a landfill in some other part of the world. If manufacturers aren't buying certain materials, we have no choice but to throw them away."

    Mixed Recycling Roll Cart – Approved items  

    1. Paper

      • Newspaper, including advertisements and paper inserts

      • Corrugated cardboard

      • Magazines and catalogs

      • Junk/Direct mail

      • Boxes — cereal, cracker, cookie and shoe boxes

      • Office paper — copier and printer paper, file folders, note paper, computer paper, brochures

    2. Metal

      • Steel (tin) cans

      • ​Aluminum cans

    3. Plastic – Bottles and Jugs only — clean with lids removed

      • ​​Beverage bottles (soda, water, juice); 12 ounces or larger only

      • ​Other bottles — soap, household cleaning solutions

      • ​​Jugs — milk, juice, detergent

    In our zeal to protect the planet, we've all put something in the mixed recycling roll cart and hoped that it will be recycled.  This "wishful" recycling is a part of the problem. Removing items that are not on this list will play a role in the solution. Cleaning up our recycling is a community issue that not only involves putting the right material in the mixed recycling roll cart, but making sure items are empty, clean and dry – when in doubt, throw it out.

    Marion County Environmental Services, the City of Salem, local garbage haulers and recycling processors recognize that changing the curbside program requires thoughtful re-education about contamination and materials that are no longer considered "recyclable." Customers will soon receive new recycling educational materials.

    "In making these changes to the countywide mixed recycling roll cart program, we hope to enable our customers to recycle items for which there are sustainable, accessible, and affordable markets – now and into the future," said Brian May, Marion County Environmental Services Manager. "Despite the current challenges in the recycling realm, Marion County remains committed to protecting the health and welfare of our residents by providing environmentally sound solid waste management services."

    For more information, contact the Mid-Valley Garbage and Recycling Association at (503) 390-4000 or visit mrtrashrecycles.com or Marion County Environmental Services at www.mcrecycles.net​ or email EnvironmentalServices@co.marion.or.us.  ​

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    Recycling Reset - Curbside recycling changes
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