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  • Marion County confronts suicide

    Marion County confronts suicide

    Date: 9/1/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Health and Human Services

    ​"I really want people to start talking about suicide and mental health and eliminate the stigma for people suffering with sadness, depression and anxiety. I want it to someday be as acceptable as saying 'I have a headache' or 'I broke my leg.' There are a lot of people and kids out there who are suicidal. We just don't know. If we don't talk about it, how will we know?"

    Those are the words of Mary Buzzell, whose son took his life by suicide six years ago. She has experienced first-hand the "collateral damage" – the pain felt by family members, friends, co-workers, therapists and others after a death by suicide.

    More than five times as many people die by suicide in Oregon than by homicide, according to Marion County health officials, where Buzzell is an active volunteer.

    The Marion County Health & Human Services Department has launched an initiative to dramatically reduce the number of suicides. The work includes educating county staff at all levels about suicide and partnering with other organizations to raise community awareness.

    One goal is to make suicide as normal a health topic as cancer, which for generations was called "the C-word" and which was considered a forbidden subject for polite conversation.

    Marion County brought local organizations together in May to identify resources and barriers in dealing with suicide. Seventy people, from a variety of agencies representing perspectives ranging from youth to seniors, participated. In September they'll gather again to identify action steps.

    "The call to action we put out in May was a way to coalesce the community," says Cary Moller, the county's Health & Human Services administrator. "One of the key roles we play in the community is to convene conversations like this."

    Kerryann Bouska, the department's prevention supervisor, says society is much better at suicide intervention than at promoting mental health, preventing suicides and helping people after a loved one has died by suicide. The newly formed coalition of community groups will help strengthen and share those resources.

    The perception of stigma is one of the biggest obstacles.

    "If we have a child who has a cold or a broken arm, we don't hesitate to take them to the doctor or the emergency room," says Phil Blea, the program manager for children's mental health. However, many families are reluctant to seek immediate help for someone experiencing mental health issues.

    There also is a common misperception that talking about suicide will push someone into suicide. Research shows that is not the case.

    "People fear that if they talk about it, bad things will happen. I think that if we don't talk about it, bad things will continue to happen," Moller says. "Suicide is preventable. Our goal is to help people know there are other options. If we think about it as a mental health condition, it's treatable. It's very treatable. And treatment works."

    Moller and others say it's OK to ask people whether they are having suicidal thoughts – and then to listen instead of dismissing or downplaying their concerns. Your asking is a sign of caring support.

    If someone is contemplating suicide, you can help the person contact a mental health professional. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. You also can dial 211 to get a list of local resources.

    Suicide does not discriminate. It affects people of all ages and all walks of life.

    "It impacts everyone," says Cydney Nestor of Marion County Health & Human Services. "I've never met anyone who hasn't been touched."

    September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, the Marion County Psychiatric Crisis Center is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week and can be reached at (503) 585-4949. Youth and Family Crisis Services are also available 7 days per week from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday – Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at (503) 576-4673.  ​

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  • County motion to intervene in Detroit Lake lawsuit granted

    County motion to intervene in Detroit Lake lawsuit granted

    Date: 10/2/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    Salem, OR – On September 25, 2018, a federal magistrate judge approved Marion County's status as an intervenor in the lawsuit between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Northwest Environmental, Wildearth Guardians, and Native Fish Society. In order to maintain a stable economy in the North Santiam Canyon and for the health and welfare of Marion County's residents, including safe and adequate drinking water for the city of Salem, the county filed the motion to intervene in the U.S. District Court of Oregon on September 6, 2018.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed construction of a water mixing tower to control water temperature at Detroit Dam. In order to construct the tower, it is anticipated that Detroit Lake would need to be drained for an extended period of time which could negatively impact agricultural and recreation based industries in the area. 

    Marion County Economic Development Coordinator Tom Hogue estimates that 70 percent of jobs in the Detroit Lake area are recreation based and prolonged low water conditions could lead to an annual $11 million loss to these industries. Additionally, farms and businesses in the southern part of the county that rely on water from the North Santiam River Watershed for irrigation would also be severely impacted by low water conditions at Detroit Lake.

    "With this action, Marion County is seeking to protect the long-term viability of county agricultural and recreational industries," said Commissioner Kevin Cameron. "It is important for Marion County to officially participate in this lawsuit to ensure the concerns of our residents and businesses are considered." ​

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  • More Marion County parks to remain open during seasonal closures

    More Marion County parks to remain open during seasonal closures

    Date: 10/22/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    MARION COUNTY, OR – The arrival of fall typically signals the seasonal closure of several Marion County parks. This year, for the first time, a second parks program employee has been hired which will allow a number of parks that are normally closed for the season to remain open. Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, said, "We receive requests every year to keep some of our seasonal parks open but we've been unable to because we've only had one employee to maintain all the county parks. This year the Marion County Board of Commissioners approved an additional full-time parks employee, which means we'll be able to expand and improve our services."

    On November 1, the following parks will close until May 1, 2019:

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

    • Bear Creek, North Fork, and Salmon Falls parks, which are all in the North Santiam River Basin.

    On November 1, the gate at Scotts Mills Park will be locked for the season, but like St. Louis Fish Ponds which closed for the season on October 1, people will be allowed to walk in. Visitors should be aware that the restroom facilities at both parks are not available.

    The Marion County parks that are now open year-round are:

    • Aumsville Ponds on Bates Road SE near Aumsville;

    • Bonesteele Park on Aumsville Hwy SE;

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

    • Rogers Wayside near Silverton; and,

    • Minto, Niagara, and Packsaddle along the North Santiam River.

    For more information these county parks, including descriptions and locations, visit the Marion County Parks web site at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/ or call (503) 588-5036.

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  • 2018-19 property tax statements in the mail

    2018-19 property tax statements in the mail

    Date: 10/12/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Assessor's Office

    ​Marion County tax statements were mail on Thursday, October 11, and should arrive in property owner mailboxes soon. Tom Rohlfing, Marion County Assessor, certified the 2018-2019 Tax Roll on October 9, 2018.

    As of the January 1, 2018, valuation date, the aggregate Real Market Value of all property countywide increased by 9.91% from last year, to $46.39 billion.  Real Market Value is the estimated amount in cash that could reasonably be expected to be paid for a property by an informed buyer to an informed seller.  This rapid increase in market value stems from such factors as the healthy economy, high employment rates, and national interest in this region.     

    Escalating values of residences and residential land located in cities and towns largely fueled the increase, jumping more than $1.86 billion or 11.72%. The total value of rural property, including acreage homes, farms, and forest lands, also showed continued growth, increasing values by 11.34%. 

    Due to Measure 50 benefits, some homeowners will experience much smaller tax increases than the preceding figures suggest. The typical unchanged home will experience only a 3% increase in assessed value no matter where it is located in the county. However, changes in tax rates due to new or expiring bonds will significantly affect owners in selected communities.

    Salem and Keizer have experienced the largest tax rate increase this year. There will be an 11% tax amount increase for the average homeowner in both Salem and Keizer due to the new Salem-Keizer School District and Salem Public Library Bonds. The East Salem Service District has an additional $10 per month fee for each household, apartment unit, and per acre of commercial property for additional public safety services. Aurora and Hubbard will see tax amount increases of 6% and the city of Donald will see a 5% increase due to the North Marion School Bond. The most significant decrease will be noticed by homeowners in St. Paul, with typical tax bills decreasing approximately 8% due to an expiration of a local option levy.

    Commercial and industrial properties show a 7.46% growth in total value, which is slightly lower than residential, urban homes or rural properties. Trends vary by property type. Industrial facilities, warehouses, and prime retail and office properties continue to experience value increases. Apartment construction added significant new value, while existing apartments continued to show growth.

    Assessed Value county-wide grew by 4.64% to $25.34 billion, standing at just 54.62% of total Real Market Value. A big factor in the gap between market and assessed values is the Measure 50 limit of 3% annual growth in the Maximum Assessed Value of unchanged property. However, 13,350 properties enjoy sharply reduced assessed values and taxes due to farm or forest special assessment and more than 16,000 properties receive full or partial tax exemptions.   

    The value of Marion County property exempt from taxation increased by $319 million to just under $7.01 billion. Exemptions continue to expand due to new legislation and tax court interpretations of existing statutes.

    Primary beneficiaries of Marion County property taxes are schools, the community college, and educational service districts, receiving 46.14% of the total. Other major recipients include cities (22.63%), Marion County government (17.17%), and fire districts (6.4%). Urban renewal districts receive about (3.18%). These percentages are similar to last year. 

    Mr. Rohlfing encourages property owners to promptly review their tax statement for accuracy.  This includes checking for correct ownership, mailing, and location addresses. To aid with this, the Assessor's Office provides a wide array of information on its website, including more detailed information about how each property is assessed than can fit on the mailed tax statement. 

    Taxes are due by November 15, 2018, to receive the 3% discount and avoid interest charges.  Owners with questions, or who feel changes are needed, should contact the Assessor's Office at (503) 588-5144. Those who disagree with the Real Market Value placed on their property are encouraged to request a review prior to filing an appeal. If the property owner still does not agree with the value once the review is completed, instructions on the back of the tax statement describe how to appeal to the local Board of Property Tax Appeals, which is comprised of community volunteers.​

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  • Recycling Reset - Curbside recycling changes

    Recycling Reset - Curbside recycling changes

    Date: 3/1/2018 12:00:00 AM
    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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  • Dec
    8

    VEHICLE CRASH CLOSES LANCASTER (PHOTO)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: December 8th, 2018 12:07 AM
    A single vehicle crash has closed Lancaster Drive SE between State Street and Mahrt Street SE. A vehicle has struck a power pole causing it to fall across Lancaster. No one was injured in the crash and the driver is cooperating with deputies. Power is out to the area affecting some 2600 PGE customers. PGE is on scene and estimates 4 to 5 hours to repair and reopen the roadway.
    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503-910-3520
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
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    VEHICLE CRASH CLOSES LANCASTER (PHOTO)
  • Dec
    8

    21 YEARS OF SHOP WITH A COP MAKE FOR A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: December 8th, 2018 11:16 AM
     

    Today, over 40 law enforcement agencies from all over Marion County and the State of Oregon descended on Wal-Mart on South Commercial in Salem. With smiles on their faces, the occasional Santa hat and an unmatched holiday spirit, deputies, officers, and volunteers served over 600 kids who otherwise may not have had a Christmas present to put under the tree.

    Stories like Ivan age 12 who waited patiently in line clutching the two gifts he selected, and a smile from ear to ear gleefully stated, “I’ve never got this much stuff at one time.” Shop with a Cop is an event that has been in existence over 21 years. The event pairs law enforcement with a child and together they shop! Presented by the Believe In Your Community Foundation, Walmart and countless community donations the event is something the Marion County community looks forward to and can count on to help those in need.

    “We can’t tell you how much this event means to Walmart and our associates. This is my 18th season and an event we look forward to every year. We are thankful we can donate our store to help others have a happy holiday season,” stated, Sarah store manager Walmart store #1920.

    Walt Schulz the President of the Believe Foundation stated, “At Believe our slogan is, believe in your community. The fact we can help create an event that makes the Christmas season possible for those less fortunate is the very basis our foundation was built on.

    You can donate to events like Shop with a Cop at https://www.believeinyourcommunity.org

    ***Images of Shop with a Cop can be found at the link below***

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9zw9b0ahgr50xz1/AACSPO4nvRh2BDcP9CA-v3owa?dl=0

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503-910-3520
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
    Read More
    21 YEARS OF SHOP WITH A COP MAKE FOR A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON
  • Nov
    1

    10-year anniversary for "Giving People a Second Chance" community breakfast

    Posted by: Marion County Reentry Initiative (MCRI)

    By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    "Who would have thought 10 years ago that the Marion County Reentry Initiative would have seen such impressive results?

    "Reductions in recidivism by more than 50 percent.

    "More than 100 employers stepping up to help.

    "And, most importantly, lives changed for the better."

    Those words from Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron set the tone for MCRI's 10th Annual Community Breakfast, which drew several hundred guests to the Salem Convention Center on Oct. 25. They included law enforcement officers, employers, elected officials and others.

    MCRI gives people a second chance while achieving a positive return on the taxpayers' investment. When formerly incarcerated individuals make a successful transition to life outside prison, the community is stronger, the burden on state and local services is less, and the incidence of crime is lower.

    Cameron, then a state legislator, spoke at the first breakfast in 2009.

    "We … were just starting to envision how we might tackle serious barriers facing people who are returning to our communities after paying their debt to society," he recalled. "Barriers like housing, employment, addictions, mental Illness, and lack of family and community support."

    What started small has grown into a national model. As Commissioner Janet Carlson, a leading force behind the initiative, said in opening this year's breakfast, "Did you ever imagine it would be this big?"

    The breakfast featured videos reprising clients' work with MCRI through those years. The common thread was the personal connections that helped them succeed.

    Over those 10 years, MCRI has served more than 14,000 formerly incarcerated individuals. Nearly 6,000 have found assistance at the De Muniz Resource Center, a one-stop reentry center, since it opened in 2011. SOAR (Student Opportunity for Achieving Results) – an intensive program focused on gaining employment and overcoming substance abuse – just graduated its 30th class.

    Statistical analysis verifies that these and other MCRI programs reduce recidivism and increase post-prison employment. But MCRI is about individuals, not abstract statistics, and a number of those success stories were at the breakfast, including:

    • Rudy Montes, who just gained his commercial driver license, had been borrowing his girlfriend's car to get to work. Carlson presented him with the keys to a refurbished Jeep from Wheels and Wishes, the nonprofit arm of AJ's Auto Repair.

    • Jill Shier, who struggled with mental illness along with overcoming her criminal background, and through the MCRI has become Carlson's dear friend. Carlson told the audience that she has learned more about mental health from being part of Shier's life than in all her many years as a government official and public school teacher.

    This was Carlson's final MCRI breakfast before retiring as a county commissioner. She and her husband, Dee, are relocating to be closer to family.

    "My goal when we started this event 10 years ago was to help this community understand on a more personal level what life is like for people returning to our communities from prison and jail," she said. "This is about people who have made serious mistakes, but have paid their debt and are wanting our acceptance."

    The community does understand, donating volunteer time and more than $120,000 to MCRI. Those monies have paid for eyeglasses, ID cards, GED fees and similar items not covered by government funds; and since 2016, a portion of the funds have supported victim assistance through the Center for Hope and Safety.

    A special need this year is $30,000 to continue the work of a second "navigator" at the De Muniz Resource Center who connects clients to housing, jobs, and health insurance.

    Carlson was emotional as she thanked the community for celebrating MCRI's 10th anniversary.​

    She is the one who deserves the community's thanks. The Marion County Reentry Initiative is both a heartwarming and a cost-effective return on investment. ​

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    10-year anniversary for "Giving People a Second Chance" community breakfast
  • Oct
    22

    More Marion County parks to remain open during seasonal closures

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    MARION COUNTY, OR – The arrival of fall typically signals the seasonal closure of several Marion County parks. This year, for the first time, a second parks program employee has been hired which will allow a number of parks that are normally closed for the season to remain open. Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, said, "We receive requests every year to keep some of our seasonal parks open but we've been unable to because we've only had one employee to maintain all the county parks. This year the Marion County Board of Commissioners approved an additional full-time parks employee, which means we'll be able to expand and improve our services."

    On November 1, the following parks will close until May 1, 2019:

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

    • Bear Creek, North Fork, and Salmon Falls parks, which are all in the North Santiam River Basin.

    On November 1, the gate at Scotts Mills Park will be locked for the season, but like St. Louis Fish Ponds which closed for the season on October 1, people will be allowed to walk in. Visitors should be aware that the restroom facilities at both parks are not available.

    The Marion County parks that are now open year-round are:

    • Aumsville Ponds on Bates Road SE near Aumsville;

    • Bonesteele Park on Aumsville Hwy SE;

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

    • Rogers Wayside near Silverton; and,

    • Minto, Niagara, and Packsaddle along the North Santiam River.

    For more information these county parks, including descriptions and locations, visit the Marion County Parks web site at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/ or call (503) 588-5036.

    Read More
    More Marion County parks to remain open during seasonal closures
  • Oct
    12

    2018-19 property tax statements in the mail

    Posted by: Assessor's Office

    ​Marion County tax statements were mail on Thursday, October 11, and should arrive in property owner mailboxes soon. Tom Rohlfing, Marion County Assessor, certified the 2018-2019 Tax Roll on October 9, 2018.

    As of the January 1, 2018, valuation date, the aggregate Real Market Value of all property countywide increased by 9.91% from last year, to $46.39 billion.  Real Market Value is the estimated amount in cash that could reasonably be expected to be paid for a property by an informed buyer to an informed seller.  This rapid increase in market value stems from such factors as the healthy economy, high employment rates, and national interest in this region.     

    Escalating values of residences and residential land located in cities and towns largely fueled the increase, jumping more than $1.86 billion or 11.72%. The total value of rural property, including acreage homes, farms, and forest lands, also showed continued growth, increasing values by 11.34%. 

    Due to Measure 50 benefits, some homeowners will experience much smaller tax increases than the preceding figures suggest. The typical unchanged home will experience only a 3% increase in assessed value no matter where it is located in the county. However, changes in tax rates due to new or expiring bonds will significantly affect owners in selected communities.

    Salem and Keizer have experienced the largest tax rate increase this year. There will be an 11% tax amount increase for the average homeowner in both Salem and Keizer due to the new Salem-Keizer School District and Salem Public Library Bonds. The East Salem Service District has an additional $10 per month fee for each household, apartment unit, and per acre of commercial property for additional public safety services. Aurora and Hubbard will see tax amount increases of 6% and the city of Donald will see a 5% increase due to the North Marion School Bond. The most significant decrease will be noticed by homeowners in St. Paul, with typical tax bills decreasing approximately 8% due to an expiration of a local option levy.

    Commercial and industrial properties show a 7.46% growth in total value, which is slightly lower than residential, urban homes or rural properties. Trends vary by property type. Industrial facilities, warehouses, and prime retail and office properties continue to experience value increases. Apartment construction added significant new value, while existing apartments continued to show growth.

    Assessed Value county-wide grew by 4.64% to $25.34 billion, standing at just 54.62% of total Real Market Value. A big factor in the gap between market and assessed values is the Measure 50 limit of 3% annual growth in the Maximum Assessed Value of unchanged property. However, 13,350 properties enjoy sharply reduced assessed values and taxes due to farm or forest special assessment and more than 16,000 properties receive full or partial tax exemptions.   

    The value of Marion County property exempt from taxation increased by $319 million to just under $7.01 billion. Exemptions continue to expand due to new legislation and tax court interpretations of existing statutes.

    Primary beneficiaries of Marion County property taxes are schools, the community college, and educational service districts, receiving 46.14% of the total. Other major recipients include cities (22.63%), Marion County government (17.17%), and fire districts (6.4%). Urban renewal districts receive about (3.18%). These percentages are similar to last year. 

    Mr. Rohlfing encourages property owners to promptly review their tax statement for accuracy.  This includes checking for correct ownership, mailing, and location addresses. To aid with this, the Assessor's Office provides a wide array of information on its website, including more detailed information about how each property is assessed than can fit on the mailed tax statement. 

    Taxes are due by November 15, 2018, to receive the 3% discount and avoid interest charges.  Owners with questions, or who feel changes are needed, should contact the Assessor's Office at (503) 588-5144. Those who disagree with the Real Market Value placed on their property are encouraged to request a review prior to filing an appeal. If the property owner still does not agree with the value once the review is completed, instructions on the back of the tax statement describe how to appeal to the local Board of Property Tax Appeals, which is comprised of community volunteers.​

    Read More
    2018-19 property tax statements in the mail
  • Oct
    2

    County motion to intervene in Detroit Lake lawsuit granted

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    Salem, OR – On September 25, 2018, a federal magistrate judge approved Marion County's status as an intervenor in the lawsuit between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Northwest Environmental, Wildearth Guardians, and Native Fish Society. In order to maintain a stable economy in the North Santiam Canyon and for the health and welfare of Marion County's residents, including safe and adequate drinking water for the city of Salem, the county filed the motion to intervene in the U.S. District Court of Oregon on September 6, 2018.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed construction of a water mixing tower to control water temperature at Detroit Dam. In order to construct the tower, it is anticipated that Detroit Lake would need to be drained for an extended period of time which could negatively impact agricultural and recreation based industries in the area. 

    Marion County Economic Development Coordinator Tom Hogue estimates that 70 percent of jobs in the Detroit Lake area are recreation based and prolonged low water conditions could lead to an annual $11 million loss to these industries. Additionally, farms and businesses in the southern part of the county that rely on water from the North Santiam River Watershed for irrigation would also be severely impacted by low water conditions at Detroit Lake.

    "With this action, Marion County is seeking to protect the long-term viability of county agricultural and recreational industries," said Commissioner Kevin Cameron. "It is important for Marion County to officially participate in this lawsuit to ensure the concerns of our residents and businesses are considered." ​

    Read More
    County motion to intervene in Detroit Lake lawsuit granted
  • Oct
    1

    Parking fee stations on North Fork Road Corridor closed for the season

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​Marion County has closed all parking fee stations along the North Fork Road Corridor for the season. Visitors to that area will not be required to pay parking fees until the fee stations are reopened on May 15, 2019.

    For further information, please contact Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, at 503-588-5036 or parks@co.marion.or.us.

    Read More
    Parking fee stations on North Fork Road Corridor closed for the season
  • Sep
    17

    St. Louis Fish Ponds to close for the season

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​Marion County Parks announces that the St. Louis Fish Ponds near Gervais will close for the season on October 1, 2018.

    Hunters and fishermen are still allowed to fish, hunt, and train dogs at the park during the off-season but should be aware that they must walk in after parking their vehicles at the gate and that no restroom facilities are available.

    For more information, please call 503-588-5036, email parks@co.marion.or.us, or visit the Marion County Parks web site at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/.

    For more information about fishing and gun use at the park, please contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 503-947-6100.

    Read More
    St. Louis Fish Ponds to close for the season
  • Sep
    17

    Bear Creek Park and Campground closes early for the season

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​Marion County Parks announces that Bear Creek Park and Campground has closed for the season. The seasonal park is typically open until October 31 but this year the camp host departed ahead of schedule and county staff opted to close the park because of safety and security concerns. The park will reopen on May 1, 2019.  

    For more information about this and other Marion County Parks, visit the website at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/, email parks@co.marion.or.us, or call 503-588-5036.

    Read More
    Bear Creek Park and Campground closes early for the season
  • Sep
    1

    Marion County confronts suicide

    Posted by: Health and Human Services

    ​"I really want people to start talking about suicide and mental health and eliminate the stigma for people suffering with sadness, depression and anxiety. I want it to someday be as acceptable as saying 'I have a headache' or 'I broke my leg.' There are a lot of people and kids out there who are suicidal. We just don't know. If we don't talk about it, how will we know?"

    Those are the words of Mary Buzzell, whose son took his life by suicide six years ago. She has experienced first-hand the "collateral damage" – the pain felt by family members, friends, co-workers, therapists and others after a death by suicide.

    More than five times as many people die by suicide in Oregon than by homicide, according to Marion County health officials, where Buzzell is an active volunteer.

    The Marion County Health & Human Services Department has launched an initiative to dramatically reduce the number of suicides. The work includes educating county staff at all levels about suicide and partnering with other organizations to raise community awareness.

    One goal is to make suicide as normal a health topic as cancer, which for generations was called "the C-word" and which was considered a forbidden subject for polite conversation.

    Marion County brought local organizations together in May to identify resources and barriers in dealing with suicide. Seventy people, from a variety of agencies representing perspectives ranging from youth to seniors, participated. In September they'll gather again to identify action steps.

    "The call to action we put out in May was a way to coalesce the community," says Cary Moller, the county's Health & Human Services administrator. "One of the key roles we play in the community is to convene conversations like this."

    Kerryann Bouska, the department's prevention supervisor, says society is much better at suicide intervention than at promoting mental health, preventing suicides and helping people after a loved one has died by suicide. The newly formed coalition of community groups will help strengthen and share those resources.

    The perception of stigma is one of the biggest obstacles.

    "If we have a child who has a cold or a broken arm, we don't hesitate to take them to the doctor or the emergency room," says Phil Blea, the program manager for children's mental health. However, many families are reluctant to seek immediate help for someone experiencing mental health issues.

    There also is a common misperception that talking about suicide will push someone into suicide. Research shows that is not the case.

    "People fear that if they talk about it, bad things will happen. I think that if we don't talk about it, bad things will continue to happen," Moller says. "Suicide is preventable. Our goal is to help people know there are other options. If we think about it as a mental health condition, it's treatable. It's very treatable. And treatment works."

    Moller and others say it's OK to ask people whether they are having suicidal thoughts – and then to listen instead of dismissing or downplaying their concerns. Your asking is a sign of caring support.

    If someone is contemplating suicide, you can help the person contact a mental health professional. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. You also can dial 211 to get a list of local resources.

    Suicide does not discriminate. It affects people of all ages and all walks of life.

    "It impacts everyone," says Cydney Nestor of Marion County Health & Human Services. "I've never met anyone who hasn't been touched."

    September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, the Marion County Psychiatric Crisis Center is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week and can be reached at (503) 585-4949. Youth and Family Crisis Services are also available 7 days per week from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday – Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at (503) 576-4673.  ​

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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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  • 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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