Skip Navigation

County News

​​​

  • Student-designed patch selected for East Salem deputies

    Student-designed patch selected for East Salem deputies

    Date: 2/15/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    ​A recent assembly at Adam Stephens Middle School in northeast Salem celebrated the reveal of a new patch for the Marion County Sheriff's Office. The Advanced Art class at Stephens created 23 entries for a patch design contest for the East Salem Service District patrol deputies.

    The entry form for the patch posed the question, "What do you love about your neighborhood?" Students got creative in their designs, which ranged from sunsets, to trees and orchards, to compass arrows, illustrating the beautiful landscape around east Salem.

    Sheriff Jason Myers was excited to see how much creativity the students put into the designs. "It's always interesting to see how youth view their community and what they believe is important. These kids see tremendous value in the landscape around this part of Marion County. I couldn't be more impressed with what they came up with, and I'm proud to have deputies wear a student-designed patch."   

     Stephens Art Teacher Gladys Jacobsen also shares pride in her students' work. "I am so proud that our students at Stephens Middle School have used their talent and hard work to make a lasting contribution to this area. What a wonderful learning opportunity for our students to positively impact the neighborhood in which they live and go to school. I am awed every day at not only the talent that our students possess but the dedication and hard work they show."

    Patch design winner, eighth grader, Jesus Adrian Valdez Ceja, created a patch with evergreen trees as the points of a seven-point Sheriff's star.  A bright red apple reflects area orchards and is centered over a compass that lies in the middle of the star. The words "East Salem" hang just under the star and Marion County is arched above, giving the East Salem Service District a distinct look, yet tying it back to the Sheriff's Office's regular patch. 

    ESSD Deputy Chris Bangs, a long-time east Salem resident and former school resource officer at Stephens, helped coordinate the contest. He will be the first to wear the ESSD patch.  

    Deputies and vehicles assigned to the East Salem Service District will be displaying the winning patch.  Two patrol vehicles have been showcasing all of the patch design entries since November. Community partner, Donofrio's Skyline Ford, donated the cost of the wraps which have generated conversations about the patch project and the addition of 10 deputies dedicated to the East Salem Service District. 

    "These are exciting times," said Sheriff Myers. "We have the opportunity to develop some great relationships with the Hayesville and Four Corners communities and to address some neighborhood concerns in ways we haven't been able to before."

    Read More
  • Marion County welcomes new commissioner

    Marion County welcomes new commissioner

    Date: 2/1/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    By Dick Hughes​

    Marion County's newest commissioner has plunged into his job with gusto.

    The three members of the Board of Commissioners serve approximately 340,000 residents in Marion County, and Colm Willis was quickly immersed in that decision-making after taking office on Jan. 7.

    "I just love this place, and so my passion for this job is to serve the people of Marion County and to make the best decisions I can for this community," he said in a recent interview. "As much as there is a learning curve, I have to get it right, right away."

    He said he has learned a lot through getting to know the different county employees and understanding their jobs on a personal basis.

    Willis, whose first name is pronounced "Col-um," was elected in November to succeed longtime Commissioner Janet Carlson, who retired. He joins Sam Brentano, a commissioner since 2003, and Kevin Cameron, who was re-elected in November and has been a commissioner since 2014.

    County commissioners have broad roles. They work with other elected county officials, including the assessor, sheriff, district attorney, clerk, treasurer and justice of the peace; serve on dozens of local-government and regional boards; and oversee county departments dealing with roads and bridges, land-use planning, health and human services, juvenile services, parks and other programs.

    Willis, 32, is a graduate of Boston College and has a law degree from Willamette University. He and his wife, Joan, live in a 100-year-old house in Stayton with their four young daughters.

    Housing is an important issue for him, and he wants to increase its availability and affordability throughout the county.

    "I know what it's like to have student loans and try to buy a house and to feel that pressure with housing prices going up and up and up. So I'm really interested in working on that," he said.

    "I want young people to be able to afford to buy a home. I think home ownership is something that's been profoundly important to the people of Marion County and to the people of this country. And I'm concerned that's becoming harder and harder for people to achieve."

    He does not have a particular strategy in mind.

    "I think we need to look at all of our options," he said. "Obviously, we live in the heart of agriculture here in Marion County and it's one of our major economic drivers, so I'm not interested in taking good farmland and turning it into urban land. But we have land within the urban growth boundaries that I think we need to look hard at and see if there's a way we can expand the number of houses that exist on that land."

    When not working, he enjoys soccer, playing Irish music with his brother – Willis plays the wooden flute and the bodhran, an Irish drum – and spending time with his family. Reading to his daughters is a nightly ritual.

    As busy as he is, Willis wants county residents to know he makes time for them.

    "I want people to please come and tell me their concerns. I want people to know that they can call me, email me, come visit me in the office. I very much prioritize hearing from constituents. As busy as my calendar is, my most important meetings are meetings with constituents." 

    Read More
  • Local youth turn struggles into award-winning music

    Local youth turn struggles into award-winning music

    Date: 2/1/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​By Dick Hughes 

    A local high school senior has turned his struggles with drugs into an award-winning song and a trip to the Grammy Awards.

    Andrew McMains, 17, co-wrote a rap song with David Bond that won first place in the ninth-annual Teens Make Music Contest.

    The song's message is "using drugs comes with a price," McMains said. "I'm just a normal kid that has been through some hard times in my life."

    Sponsored by the Recording Academy's charity, MusiCares, the national contest is for teen musicians whose original composition "celebrates life above the influence or brings attention to the real-life consequences of substance misuse."

    McMains is close to graduating from Marion County's juvenile STAR Court – Supervised Treatment and Recovery. The intensive program combines substance abuse treatment and other services with ongoing court appearances. It is for youth aged 14 to 17 who are on probation for non-violent offenses and have substance abuse problems.

    Once youth successfully complete the multi-level program, their juvenile court records are expunged. In a celebration of gaining a fresh start, their original court documents are fed into a paper shredder during the graduation ceremony.

    McMains, Bond and Caleb McDonald, who tied for third in the national contest with his song "Demons," participate in Bridgeway Recovery Services' adolescent treatment program and recorded the songs at the IKE Box in downtown Salem. Bridgeway is sending all three, along with their mothers as chaperones, to Los Angeles for the Grammy celebrations.

    Two years ago, Bridgeway used grants from Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School of Management and the city of Salem to buy music and video production equipment.

    Sonny Saltalamachia, Bridgeway's adolescent program supervisor, said the music has spawned a way for youth to journal about the difficulties in their lives. Several teens participate in the music therapy program each week. Saltalamachia creates a rap beat on a sound track, the youth discuss and decide on a topic, and then they write lyrics to the sound track.

    "It becomes a cathartic experience," he said. "Sometimes behind a kid's attitude lies a kind and vulnerable kid who has had a lot of trauma in their lives. Once you get to know them, they're beautiful on the inside."

    McMains and Bond's song, titled "Lost," is about that vulnerability. The verses recount what they encountered by using drugs, with a chorus told from the mother's perspective.

    Joe Kauffman, McMains' probation officer, said there are a lot of misconceptions about juveniles who get into trouble with the law.

    "Most of these kids have a lot of trauma in their lives and then they start acting out," he said.

    McMains hopes to continue making music, as well as pursuing his interest in photography that he developed through high school classes.

    "I'm just so proud of Drew," said his mother, Cassie Ricketts. "He's so talented."

    She said she doesn't know where their family would be without Saltalamachia, Kauffman and STAR Court.

    "They truly, really care about these kids." 

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • County awards economic development grant to Revitalize Downtown Stayton

    County awards economic development grant to Revitalize Downtown Stayton

    Date: 1/30/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​The city of Stayton is hoping to bring more people and businesses to its historic downtown. The area has started to fill with new shops and restaurants and a coalition of business and property owners, local leaders, and city officials has organized to plan events and promotions, as well as help implement design changes. The group is closer to its goal thanks to a Community Projects grant from Marion County. 

    Today, Revitalize Downtown Stayton was awarded $8,500 in economic development funding for design planning and development in preparation for grant applications to complete façade improvements. The project will focus on Third Avenue restoring an historic sense to the area.

    Steve Poisson of Revitalize Downtown Stayton said, "The architectural services we are able to purchase with this grant money is an immensely important first step in the façade improvement work we have set as a priority goal. Not only will it be used for applications to other grants to complete the work, it will also serve as a template for all future work in our focus area."

    This project is similar to façade improvement grants awarded to Mt. Angel and Mill City. Additionally, the city of Donald was able to expand its urban growth boundary to support housing and industrial property needs with the assistance of a planning grant. Commissioner Kevin Cameron, board chair, said, "These are excellent examples of how the county is supporting rural communities to make them great places to live, work, and play. We are fortunate to have great partners in all 20 of Marion County's cities."

    In the current year, Marion County has allocated $60,000 to support community projects grants. Grants provide funding to nonprofits and municipalities for projects that promote economic development by increasing the livability and safety within communities and unincorporated areas of the county. Community projects grants are accepted on an ongoing basis. For more information, contact Economic Development Coordinator Tom Hogue at (503) 589-3277 or thogue@co.marion.or.us.

    Funding for economic development grants is made available through state video lottery proceeds. Annually, the Board of Commissioners directly designates a portion of lottery funding to support infrastructure and organizations that focus on economic development. In the last five years, Marion County has awarded more than $350,000 to 39 community projects throughout the county.  

    Read More
 

Select a department:

  • Feb
    15

    Student-designed patch selected for East Salem deputies

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    ​A recent assembly at Adam Stephens Middle School in northeast Salem celebrated the reveal of a new patch for the Marion County Sheriff's Office. The Advanced Art class at Stephens created 23 entries for a patch design contest for the East Salem Service District patrol deputies.

    The entry form for the patch posed the question, "What do you love about your neighborhood?" Students got creative in their designs, which ranged from sunsets, to trees and orchards, to compass arrows, illustrating the beautiful landscape around east Salem.

    Sheriff Jason Myers was excited to see how much creativity the students put into the designs. "It's always interesting to see how youth view their community and what they believe is important. These kids see tremendous value in the landscape around this part of Marion County. I couldn't be more impressed with what they came up with, and I'm proud to have deputies wear a student-designed patch."   

     Stephens Art Teacher Gladys Jacobsen also shares pride in her students' work. "I am so proud that our students at Stephens Middle School have used their talent and hard work to make a lasting contribution to this area. What a wonderful learning opportunity for our students to positively impact the neighborhood in which they live and go to school. I am awed every day at not only the talent that our students possess but the dedication and hard work they show."

    Patch design winner, eighth grader, Jesus Adrian Valdez Ceja, created a patch with evergreen trees as the points of a seven-point Sheriff's star.  A bright red apple reflects area orchards and is centered over a compass that lies in the middle of the star. The words "East Salem" hang just under the star and Marion County is arched above, giving the East Salem Service District a distinct look, yet tying it back to the Sheriff's Office's regular patch. 

    ESSD Deputy Chris Bangs, a long-time east Salem resident and former school resource officer at Stephens, helped coordinate the contest. He will be the first to wear the ESSD patch.  

    Deputies and vehicles assigned to the East Salem Service District will be displaying the winning patch.  Two patrol vehicles have been showcasing all of the patch design entries since November. Community partner, Donofrio's Skyline Ford, donated the cost of the wraps which have generated conversations about the patch project and the addition of 10 deputies dedicated to the East Salem Service District. 

    "These are exciting times," said Sheriff Myers. "We have the opportunity to develop some great relationships with the Hayesville and Four Corners communities and to address some neighborhood concerns in ways we haven't been able to before."

    Read More
    Student-designed patch selected for East Salem deputies
  • Feb
    5

    DEPUTIES RESPOND TO BANK ROBBERY (JEFFERSON)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: February 5th, 2019 2:07 PM

    Today at 12:45 p.m., deputies were called to a robbery at the Umpqua Bank located at 113 N Main Street in Jefferson. Deputies are working with agents from the FBI to determine what transpired during the robbery. Deputies do not believe there is any immediate danger to the public. The FBI is the lead investigating agency and any additional details will be released by their office.

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503-910-3520
    Email: MCSOPIO@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow


    Read More
    DEPUTIES RESPOND TO BANK ROBBERY (JEFFERSON)
  • Feb
    1

    Marion County welcomes new commissioner

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    By Dick Hughes​

    Marion County's newest commissioner has plunged into his job with gusto.

    The three members of the Board of Commissioners serve approximately 340,000 residents in Marion County, and Colm Willis was quickly immersed in that decision-making after taking office on Jan. 7.

    "I just love this place, and so my passion for this job is to serve the people of Marion County and to make the best decisions I can for this community," he said in a recent interview. "As much as there is a learning curve, I have to get it right, right away."

    He said he has learned a lot through getting to know the different county employees and understanding their jobs on a personal basis.

    Willis, whose first name is pronounced "Col-um," was elected in November to succeed longtime Commissioner Janet Carlson, who retired. He joins Sam Brentano, a commissioner since 2003, and Kevin Cameron, who was re-elected in November and has been a commissioner since 2014.

    County commissioners have broad roles. They work with other elected county officials, including the assessor, sheriff, district attorney, clerk, treasurer and justice of the peace; serve on dozens of local-government and regional boards; and oversee county departments dealing with roads and bridges, land-use planning, health and human services, juvenile services, parks and other programs.

    Willis, 32, is a graduate of Boston College and has a law degree from Willamette University. He and his wife, Joan, live in a 100-year-old house in Stayton with their four young daughters.

    Housing is an important issue for him, and he wants to increase its availability and affordability throughout the county.

    "I know what it's like to have student loans and try to buy a house and to feel that pressure with housing prices going up and up and up. So I'm really interested in working on that," he said.

    "I want young people to be able to afford to buy a home. I think home ownership is something that's been profoundly important to the people of Marion County and to the people of this country. And I'm concerned that's becoming harder and harder for people to achieve."

    He does not have a particular strategy in mind.

    "I think we need to look at all of our options," he said. "Obviously, we live in the heart of agriculture here in Marion County and it's one of our major economic drivers, so I'm not interested in taking good farmland and turning it into urban land. But we have land within the urban growth boundaries that I think we need to look hard at and see if there's a way we can expand the number of houses that exist on that land."

    When not working, he enjoys soccer, playing Irish music with his brother – Willis plays the wooden flute and the bodhran, an Irish drum – and spending time with his family. Reading to his daughters is a nightly ritual.

    As busy as he is, Willis wants county residents to know he makes time for them.

    "I want people to please come and tell me their concerns. I want people to know that they can call me, email me, come visit me in the office. I very much prioritize hearing from constituents. As busy as my calendar is, my most important meetings are meetings with constituents." 

    Read More
    Marion County welcomes new commissioner
  • Feb
    1

    Local youth turn struggles into award-winning music

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​By Dick Hughes 

    A local high school senior has turned his struggles with drugs into an award-winning song and a trip to the Grammy Awards.

    Andrew McMains, 17, co-wrote a rap song with David Bond that won first place in the ninth-annual Teens Make Music Contest.

    The song's message is "using drugs comes with a price," McMains said. "I'm just a normal kid that has been through some hard times in my life."

    Sponsored by the Recording Academy's charity, MusiCares, the national contest is for teen musicians whose original composition "celebrates life above the influence or brings attention to the real-life consequences of substance misuse."

    McMains is close to graduating from Marion County's juvenile STAR Court – Supervised Treatment and Recovery. The intensive program combines substance abuse treatment and other services with ongoing court appearances. It is for youth aged 14 to 17 who are on probation for non-violent offenses and have substance abuse problems.

    Once youth successfully complete the multi-level program, their juvenile court records are expunged. In a celebration of gaining a fresh start, their original court documents are fed into a paper shredder during the graduation ceremony.

    McMains, Bond and Caleb McDonald, who tied for third in the national contest with his song "Demons," participate in Bridgeway Recovery Services' adolescent treatment program and recorded the songs at the IKE Box in downtown Salem. Bridgeway is sending all three, along with their mothers as chaperones, to Los Angeles for the Grammy celebrations.

    Two years ago, Bridgeway used grants from Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School of Management and the city of Salem to buy music and video production equipment.

    Sonny Saltalamachia, Bridgeway's adolescent program supervisor, said the music has spawned a way for youth to journal about the difficulties in their lives. Several teens participate in the music therapy program each week. Saltalamachia creates a rap beat on a sound track, the youth discuss and decide on a topic, and then they write lyrics to the sound track.

    "It becomes a cathartic experience," he said. "Sometimes behind a kid's attitude lies a kind and vulnerable kid who has had a lot of trauma in their lives. Once you get to know them, they're beautiful on the inside."

    McMains and Bond's song, titled "Lost," is about that vulnerability. The verses recount what they encountered by using drugs, with a chorus told from the mother's perspective.

    Joe Kauffman, McMains' probation officer, said there are a lot of misconceptions about juveniles who get into trouble with the law.

    "Most of these kids have a lot of trauma in their lives and then they start acting out," he said.

    McMains hopes to continue making music, as well as pursuing his interest in photography that he developed through high school classes.

    "I'm just so proud of Drew," said his mother, Cassie Ricketts. "He's so talented."

    She said she doesn't know where their family would be without Saltalamachia, Kauffman and STAR Court.

    "They truly, really care about these kids." 

    Read More
    Local youth turn struggles into award-winning music
  • Jan
    30

    County awards economic development grant to Revitalize Downtown Stayton

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​The city of Stayton is hoping to bring more people and businesses to its historic downtown. The area has started to fill with new shops and restaurants and a coalition of business and property owners, local leaders, and city officials has organized to plan events and promotions, as well as help implement design changes. The group is closer to its goal thanks to a Community Projects grant from Marion County. 

    Today, Revitalize Downtown Stayton was awarded $8,500 in economic development funding for design planning and development in preparation for grant applications to complete façade improvements. The project will focus on Third Avenue restoring an historic sense to the area.

    Steve Poisson of Revitalize Downtown Stayton said, "The architectural services we are able to purchase with this grant money is an immensely important first step in the façade improvement work we have set as a priority goal. Not only will it be used for applications to other grants to complete the work, it will also serve as a template for all future work in our focus area."

    This project is similar to façade improvement grants awarded to Mt. Angel and Mill City. Additionally, the city of Donald was able to expand its urban growth boundary to support housing and industrial property needs with the assistance of a planning grant. Commissioner Kevin Cameron, board chair, said, "These are excellent examples of how the county is supporting rural communities to make them great places to live, work, and play. We are fortunate to have great partners in all 20 of Marion County's cities."

    In the current year, Marion County has allocated $60,000 to support community projects grants. Grants provide funding to nonprofits and municipalities for projects that promote economic development by increasing the livability and safety within communities and unincorporated areas of the county. Community projects grants are accepted on an ongoing basis. For more information, contact Economic Development Coordinator Tom Hogue at (503) 589-3277 or thogue@co.marion.or.us.

    Funding for economic development grants is made available through state video lottery proceeds. Annually, the Board of Commissioners directly designates a portion of lottery funding to support infrastructure and organizations that focus on economic development. In the last five years, Marion County has awarded more than $350,000 to 39 community projects throughout the county.  

    Read More
    County awards economic development grant to Revitalize Downtown Stayton
  • Jan
    25

    Commissioners approve Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​The Board of Commissioners recently approved the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018. Grove, Mueller & Swank, P.C. provided an unmodified opinion which is the highest level of assurance for audited financial statements. The audit was completed in accordance with government auditing standards and Oregon standards for local governments.

    The CAFR provides an overview of the county's financial position.

    Marion County Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer said, "Marion County remains in good shape thanks to our knowledgeable and professional finance staff. They keep us on target and ensure our accounting procedures meet financial standards."

    Commissioner Kevin Cameron, board chair, said, "This report illustrates the county's positive financial position. We have been judicious in how and when we borrow and we remain far below our debt limit which helps us keep a favorable bond rating." 

    Marion County received the Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for the annual financial report for the year ended June 30, 2017. This is the 17th consecutive year the county has received this award. The county has submitted the 2018 report for evaluation by GFOA.

    Residents can review the 2018 CAFR, as well as prior reports, on the Marion County website.

    Read More
    Commissioners approve Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • Jan
    10

    Dog shelter introduces new hours and revised fee schedule

    Posted by: Community Services - Dog Services

    ​Beginning Monday, March 10, 2019, the Marion County Dog Shelter is introducing new public hours. The shelter will be open Monday – Friday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Additionally, dog control enforcement will be expanded to provide weekend service.

    "The new hours are in response to community requests for evening shelter hours," said Community Service Director Tamra Goettsch. "By staying open later we'll be more responsive for found dog intake and lost dog returns, reuniting people and their pets that much faster."  The expansion of dog control hours will allow dog control officers to increase dog safety services throughout Marion County. 

    Purchasing of dog licenses and adoption services will be available during the shelter's public hours.

    Dog license and other fees will increase beginning February 1. Dog license and impound fees and fines are part of the shelter's annual operating budget and are used to help cover the cost of shelter operations, including dog control officers who help maintain community safety. This will be the first increase in fees for the dog shelter since 2011 and the first increase to licensing fees since 2002.  

    License fees for will increase from $17 to $20 annually for altered dogs and from $32 to $37 for non-altered dogs. Discounted fees are available for multi-year licenses and for senior dog owners. A full fee schedule is attached.

    Marion County Dog Services Fee Schedule (PDF)

    For more information about Marion Dog Services fees and hours, visit www.mcdogs.net, call (503) 588-5233, or email dog@co.marion.or.us.  

    About Marion County Dog Services:

    Marion County Dog Services operates the county dog shelter whose mission is to provide shelter and care for stray dogs until they are reunited with their families or adopted; enforcing Marion County dog licensing and control ordinances; promoting humane treatment of dogs; and educating residents on quality dog care.  

    Read More
    Dog shelter introduces new hours and revised fee schedule
  • 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. ​

    Read More
    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
    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

    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
​​