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  • Marion and Polk County Commissioners to Select SD 10 Replacement

    Marion and Polk County Commissioners to Select SD 10 Replacement

    Date: 6/18/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    The Marion and Polk County Commissioners will interview three nominees to fill the current vacancy for State Senator for Senate District 10. The three nominees will participate in a panel interview on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Interviews will take place in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court Street NE, in Salem. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

    Nominees from the Republican Party include Becky Mitts, Kevin Chambers, and Rep. Denyc Boles. The position must be filled within 30 days of the May 29, 2019, vacancy date and the commissioners are expected to select and appoint a new senator following the panel interview on June 25. 

    The interviews will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 21 in the Salem area and live streamed on YouTube (@cctvsalem) and Marion County's Facebook (@MarionCountyOR) page.   

    Written comments will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Monday, June 24. Comments may be e-mailed to commissioners@co.marion.or.us or atha.ciera@co.polk.or.us. To be included in the record, comments must include the commenter's full name and address or e-mail address.

    For more information, please contact the Marion County Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or e-mail commissioners@co.marion.or.us

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  • Volunteer July 11-14 at the Marion County Fair

    Volunteer July 11-14 at the Marion County Fair

    Date: 6/21/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Community Services - County Fair

    ​Marion County Community Services is recruiting volunteers for the annual County Fair, which will be held Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14, at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

    Volunteers have an opportunity to help with set-up, interacting with visitors to fair exhibits, assisting with competitions, greeting fair-goers and answering their questions, and more. Whatever your interests are, no matter your ability or how much time you can give, there is a way for you to make a difference at this year's fair. "Volunteers are the fuel behind the fair," said Tamra Goettsch, Marion County Community Services Director.  "It is their skills and talents that make the fair fun for the entire community."

    The fair showcases the Local, Social, and Fun facets of Marion County. Public competitions celebrate creativity and innovation from cheesecake to LEGOs, as well as art, photography, quilts, needlework, paper crafting, floral, and more.  Major attractions include two nights of big name entertainment, a rodeo, a petting zoo, a "trashion" show, and carnival.

    "The Marion County Fair has local appeal," said Melinda Hautala, Fair Volunteer Coordinator. "It is a great way for corporate employees to fulfill volunteer service hours and for anyone to feel more connected to our community. Individuals from all backgrounds volunteer at the fair: retirees, students, service clubs, churches—all are welcome, and the fair is open late, so you can even volunteer after work."

    To volunteer at the Marion County Fair, sign up online at http://marioncountyfair.net/volunteer/ . You may also contact Melinda Hautala at fairvolunteers@co.marion.or.us or at 503-589-3276. Volunteers receive free admission to enjoy another day at the fair, as well as a Marion County Fair volunteer t-shirt.

    Marion County Fair Details

    Hours:

    Thursday, July 11, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
    Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    Sunday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

    Location:

    Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. NE, Salem, OR 97303

    For more information about the 2019 Marion County Fair, including pricing and special discount days, visit www.marioncountyfair.net.  

    Read More
  • Commissioners select Joe Kast as next Sheriff

    Commissioners select Joe Kast as next Sheriff

    Date: 6/13/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​The Marion County Board of Commissioners selected Commander Joe Kast of the Marion County Sheriff's Office to fill the vacancy for Sheriff. Two applicants were interviewed in a special board session on June 13 that included Commander Kast and Lt. Josh Brooks with the Oregon State Police.

    Commissioner Kevin Cameron, board chair, said, "We were fortunate to have two strong candidates to choose from. Both are well-qualified and extremely talented individuals." He continued, "Commander Kast has the background and experience with all aspects of the Sheriff's Office from enforcement to the jail and community corrections that made him standout. He has demonstrated his commitment to community engagement and received broad support from local residents."

    Commander Kast will be officially appointed as sheriff at the commissioners June 26, 2019, regular board session. A swearing in ceremony will held Monday, July 1, 2019, in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court St. NE, in Salem. The public is welcome to attend.

    Sheriff Jason Myers announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019. When a vacancy occurs in a county elected office, the Marion County Board of Commissioners appoints a replacement who will hold office until a new sheriff is chosen in the next general election.

    For more information, contact the Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or email commissioners@co.marion.or.us

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  • Commissioners appoint Jan Fritz as chief administrative officer

    Commissioners appoint Jan Fritz as chief administrative officer

    Date: 6/6/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​After 16 years with Marion County and 51 years in public service, Marion County Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019. At its June 12, 2019, regular Board Session the Board of Commissioners appointed Jan Fritz to fill the chief administrative officer and budget officer positions effective July 1, 2019.

    Ms. Fritz has extensive experience in government and business management. She has served Marion County for 25 years, as the county's deputy county administrative officer since 2007, and the county personnel officer since 2008. Her expertise ranges from banking to public administration, budgeting, financial management, and human resource management.

    She has a Bachelor of Science from Portland State University, is a Senior Certified Professional through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP), holds a human resources management certificate from Oregon State University, and is a graduate of the Pacific Program. 

    Ms. Fritz served on the Sublimity City Council for 12 years and as president of the Sublimity Planning Commission for three years. Throughout her career, she has served in a volunteer capacity on numerous community boards and commissions including Oregon's City/County Manager Association, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley Board of Directors, North Santiam Tourism Board, Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Regis High School Foundation, Peer Court Advisory Council, Stayton Library Foundation, and Marion County's Public Safety Coordinating Council and Council of Economic Advisors among others. She has been honored by the Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce as both Woman of the Year and First Citizen.

    Board chair, Commissioner Kevin Cameron, said, "Jan Fritz possesses the experience, knowledge, talent, and skills needed to continue the great work that provides excellent service to the residents of Marion County. Her knowledge of Marion County is a tremendous asset and her history of service speaks for itself. We are fortunate to have someone like Jan to take over from John Lattimer."

    Ms. Fritz said, "It has been my privilege to work side by side with John Lattimer for the last 16 years. He has laid a foundation of collaboration among county departments and community partners, established high standards for financial management, and set expectations of transparency and accountability." She continued, "Marion County has an excellent executive management team in place. I look forward to continuing to work alongside elected officials, department heads, and employees as we deliver exceptional services to Marion County's communities." 

    Read More
  • Marion County Housing Authority: Real Life in Action

    Marion County Housing Authority: Real Life in Action

    Date: 6/3/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    This article appears in the June 2019 issue of the Salem Business Journal. 

    By Dick Hughes, Special to Marion County

    Poverty wears a different face in rural Marion County than in urban areas but one critical issue remains the same: housing.

    The shortage of rural housing is felt by the region's aging population, by agricultural workers, by families and by low-wage earners, according to Candace Jamison, executive director of the Marion County Housing Authority (MCHA). Other challenges accompany that housing shortage, such as helping people find transportation to work, appointments and other activities that often are in larger cities.

    In its work, MCHA helps fulfill the community's obligation to serve the most vulnerable among us – children, seniors and individuals with disabilities.

    "These are our values – these are our morals – in real life in action," Jamison said.

    "I think sometimes homelessness is hard for everyday people to put a finger on," she said. "But the understanding that we need a safety net in our community is much more tangible for people to understand. So many people who live in our housing are one paycheck away from being in the same situation."

    That safety net is tenuous.  About 3,000 names are on MCHA's waiting list for Section 8 vouchers, in which people rent through private landlords. Preference is given to applicants who already live, work or receive services in the community.

    For the 11 properties owned by MCHA, there can be a yearlong wait for an apartment or duplex. Those sites currently serve 118 families with children, 135 households headed by seniors and 43 households headed by a person with a disability.

    Unstable, inconsistent housing can have generational consequences. There are lifelong familial and societal benefits to providing good housing so children growing up throughout Marion County have access to the best schools and the best opportunities, regardless of their economic situation.

    "If we can invest in those children, we can essentially eliminate that generational poverty. If we can put resources into them, if we can allow them to have a stable home so that they can have a place to go to school, that is really important," Jamison said.

    MCHA, which serves all of Marion County outside the Salem-Keizer urban growth boundary, marked its 50th anniversary last year. Jamison has led the agency for a year and has ambitious plans for how it must evolve to meet the "steadily growing and steadily changing" needs.

    Along with developing more MCHA-owned housing, her goals include expanding partnerships. Veterans housing is an example of how that already happens among government and nonprofit agencies.

    "While we have access to the vouchers (for housing), there are others who have access to, for example, security deposits or who are able to help veterans with case management services or to help them get to appointments," Jamison said. "Partnerships are a big part of what we try to do to address homelessness in our community."

    One of the most important partnerships is with private landlords, who accept renters through the Section 8 program.

    The agency strives to break through traditional bureaucratic barriers while also faithfully following government requirements. For example, Marion and Polk counties collaborate so housing vouchers issued in one county can be used in the other.

    There often are misperceptions about residents in subsidized or public housing: No one else will rent to them and they must be criminals, troublemakers or just lazy. That is not the case, according to Jason Icenbice, who supervises the MCHA-owned sites.

    "Ninety-nine percent of the time it's positive," he said of dealing with MCHA clients. "We're always trying to find avenues to keep the tenants in their home – to make sure they're successful tenants."

    Icenbice, who came to affordable-property management from a career in private real estate, said that same philosophy applies to MCHA being seen as a neighborhood asset, "The goal is to really make nice communities, where if a housing unit is built near your house, you're not upset about it, because they're aesthetically appealing and they look nice and they're functional and it's a benefit to the community." 

    Read More
 

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  • Jun
    21

    Volunteer July 11-14 at the Marion County Fair

    Posted by: Community Services - County Fair

    ​Marion County Community Services is recruiting volunteers for the annual County Fair, which will be held Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14, at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

    Volunteers have an opportunity to help with set-up, interacting with visitors to fair exhibits, assisting with competitions, greeting fair-goers and answering their questions, and more. Whatever your interests are, no matter your ability or how much time you can give, there is a way for you to make a difference at this year's fair. "Volunteers are the fuel behind the fair," said Tamra Goettsch, Marion County Community Services Director.  "It is their skills and talents that make the fair fun for the entire community."

    The fair showcases the Local, Social, and Fun facets of Marion County. Public competitions celebrate creativity and innovation from cheesecake to LEGOs, as well as art, photography, quilts, needlework, paper crafting, floral, and more.  Major attractions include two nights of big name entertainment, a rodeo, a petting zoo, a "trashion" show, and carnival.

    "The Marion County Fair has local appeal," said Melinda Hautala, Fair Volunteer Coordinator. "It is a great way for corporate employees to fulfill volunteer service hours and for anyone to feel more connected to our community. Individuals from all backgrounds volunteer at the fair: retirees, students, service clubs, churches—all are welcome, and the fair is open late, so you can even volunteer after work."

    To volunteer at the Marion County Fair, sign up online at http://marioncountyfair.net/volunteer/ . You may also contact Melinda Hautala at fairvolunteers@co.marion.or.us or at 503-589-3276. Volunteers receive free admission to enjoy another day at the fair, as well as a Marion County Fair volunteer t-shirt.

    Marion County Fair Details

    Hours:

    Thursday, July 11, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
    Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    Sunday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

    Location:

    Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. NE, Salem, OR 97303

    For more information about the 2019 Marion County Fair, including pricing and special discount days, visit www.marioncountyfair.net.  

    Read More
    Volunteer July 11-14 at the Marion County Fair
  • Jun
    18

    Marion and Polk County Commissioners to Select SD 10 Replacement

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    The Marion and Polk County Commissioners will interview three nominees to fill the current vacancy for State Senator for Senate District 10. The three nominees will participate in a panel interview on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Interviews will take place in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court Street NE, in Salem. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

    Nominees from the Republican Party include Becky Mitts, Kevin Chambers, and Rep. Denyc Boles. The position must be filled within 30 days of the May 29, 2019, vacancy date and the commissioners are expected to select and appoint a new senator following the panel interview on June 25. 

    The interviews will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 21 in the Salem area and live streamed on YouTube (@cctvsalem) and Marion County's Facebook (@MarionCountyOR) page.   

    Written comments will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Monday, June 24. Comments may be e-mailed to commissioners@co.marion.or.us or atha.ciera@co.polk.or.us. To be included in the record, comments must include the commenter's full name and address or e-mail address.

    For more information, please contact the Marion County Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or e-mail commissioners@co.marion.or.us

    Read More
    Marion and Polk County Commissioners to Select SD 10 Replacement
  • Jun
    17

    Marion County announces appointment of new Emergency Manager

    Posted by: Public Works - Emergency Management

    ​Marion County is pleased to announce that Kathleen Silva has been appointed the new Marion County Emergency Manager. Ms. Silva, who previously served as the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Marion County, begins her appointment on June 17, 2019. Ms. Silva also served as the Emergency and Risk Manager for Chemeketa Community College and Emergency Planning Specialist for the State of Nebraska Military Department.

    As County Emergency Manager, Ms. Silva is responsible for the overall management and operations of the county's emergency management program, which includes planning and directing emergency activities and projects; teaming with other agencies in the public, private and non-profit sectors to conduct and coordinate preparedness, response and recovery activities; and updating and maintaining the county's comprehensive emergency operations plan. The Marion County Emergency Management program also oversees volunteer programs, including Amateur Radio teams, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and the Medical Reserve Corps involving more than 400 community volunteers.

    "Successful emergency preparedness and response demands a leader that is able to plan, communicate and build relationships with diverse stakeholders on a region-wide basis," according to Brian Nicholas, Marion County Public Works Director. "Kathleen Silva has all of those qualities with a passion for Emergency Management that can't be beat. She is a tremendous addition to Marion County's leadership team."

    Ms. Silva graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2012, where she earned a Master of Science in Leadership, Disaster Preparedness & Executive Fire Leadership, as well as California State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

    Read More
    Marion County announces appointment of new Emergency Manager
  • Jun
    14

    Safety enhancements installed on Marion County roads

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​Motorists traveling throughout Marion County will benefit from enhancements to several county roads as part of a safety enhancement project. The project was funded almost entirely by the Oregon Department of Transportation's All Roads Transportation Safety (ARTS) Program, which is a state safety program to address needs on public roads throughout Oregon.

    The ARTS-funded project installed a combination of centerline rumble strips, profiled lane striping and other durable pavement markings on the following county roads: McKay Road NE, Yergen Road NE, Ehlen Road NE, Howell Prairie Road, Silverton Road NE, Butteville Road NE, Cascade Highway, Vitae Springs Road South, Orville Road South, Abiqua Road NE, and Cordon Road NE. The county was awarded over $1,000,000 from the state program, which funded 100% of the costs for all roadway enhancements except Cordon Road, which was funded at 92.22%.

    Brian Nicholas, Marion County Public Works Director, said he appreciated the funding opportunity for this important project and the swift installation by the county's contractor, Apply-A-Line. "Lane departure accidents, accidents resulting from vehicles crossing the centerline or running off the road, have increased nation-wide due to a number of factors, including distracted driving from cell phones and other devices. The enhancements installed by this project have been shown to reduce the frequency of lane departure accidents. ODOT has been a great partner in making these funds available to cities and counties." He added, "Marion County also appreciates the efficient, high quality work done by Apply-A-Line for making sure these enhancements were completed before the height of the summer driving season."

    To learn more about Marion County's current and upcoming road construction projects, visit our website at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Engineering/Projects/Pages/default.aspx.

    Read More
    Safety enhancements installed on Marion County roads
  • Jun
    13

    Commissioners select Joe Kast as next Sheriff

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​The Marion County Board of Commissioners selected Commander Joe Kast of the Marion County Sheriff's Office to fill the vacancy for Sheriff. Two applicants were interviewed in a special board session on June 13 that included Commander Kast and Lt. Josh Brooks with the Oregon State Police.

    Commissioner Kevin Cameron, board chair, said, "We were fortunate to have two strong candidates to choose from. Both are well-qualified and extremely talented individuals." He continued, "Commander Kast has the background and experience with all aspects of the Sheriff's Office from enforcement to the jail and community corrections that made him standout. He has demonstrated his commitment to community engagement and received broad support from local residents."

    Commander Kast will be officially appointed as sheriff at the commissioners June 26, 2019, regular board session. A swearing in ceremony will held Monday, July 1, 2019, in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court St. NE, in Salem. The public is welcome to attend.

    Sheriff Jason Myers announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019. When a vacancy occurs in a county elected office, the Marion County Board of Commissioners appoints a replacement who will hold office until a new sheriff is chosen in the next general election.

    For more information, contact the Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or email commissioners@co.marion.or.us

    Read More
    Commissioners select Joe Kast as next Sheriff
  • Jun
    6

    Commissioners appoint Jan Fritz as chief administrative officer

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​After 16 years with Marion County and 51 years in public service, Marion County Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019. At its June 12, 2019, regular Board Session the Board of Commissioners appointed Jan Fritz to fill the chief administrative officer and budget officer positions effective July 1, 2019.

    Ms. Fritz has extensive experience in government and business management. She has served Marion County for 25 years, as the county's deputy county administrative officer since 2007, and the county personnel officer since 2008. Her expertise ranges from banking to public administration, budgeting, financial management, and human resource management.

    She has a Bachelor of Science from Portland State University, is a Senior Certified Professional through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP), holds a human resources management certificate from Oregon State University, and is a graduate of the Pacific Program. 

    Ms. Fritz served on the Sublimity City Council for 12 years and as president of the Sublimity Planning Commission for three years. Throughout her career, she has served in a volunteer capacity on numerous community boards and commissions including Oregon's City/County Manager Association, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley Board of Directors, North Santiam Tourism Board, Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Regis High School Foundation, Peer Court Advisory Council, Stayton Library Foundation, and Marion County's Public Safety Coordinating Council and Council of Economic Advisors among others. She has been honored by the Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce as both Woman of the Year and First Citizen.

    Board chair, Commissioner Kevin Cameron, said, "Jan Fritz possesses the experience, knowledge, talent, and skills needed to continue the great work that provides excellent service to the residents of Marion County. Her knowledge of Marion County is a tremendous asset and her history of service speaks for itself. We are fortunate to have someone like Jan to take over from John Lattimer."

    Ms. Fritz said, "It has been my privilege to work side by side with John Lattimer for the last 16 years. He has laid a foundation of collaboration among county departments and community partners, established high standards for financial management, and set expectations of transparency and accountability." She continued, "Marion County has an excellent executive management team in place. I look forward to continuing to work alongside elected officials, department heads, and employees as we deliver exceptional services to Marion County's communities." 

    Read More
    Commissioners appoint Jan Fritz as chief administrative officer
  • Jun
    6

    Marion County will begin resurfacing various county roads on June 10

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​Marion County's contractor, Roy Houck Construction, will begin paving on various county roads beginning June 10, 2019, with a completion date of September 14, 2019.

    Roads will remain open with flaggers directing traffic through the work area.  Motorists should expect short delays and are advised to use an alternate route.  When traveling through the work zone, be considerate of bicyclists and follow the flagger's directions.

    For a complete list of roads scheduled for paving this summer, visit Marion County's web site at:  http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Engineering/Projects/Pages/Resurf2019.aspx

    For additional information, contact Tina Powell, Department Specialist, or Spencer Hohenshelt, Senior Engineering Technician at 503-588-5036.

    Read More
    Marion County will begin resurfacing various county roads on June 10
  • Jun
    3

    Marion County will install safety features on rural roads beginning June

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​SALEM, OR – Marion County received funding from the Oregon Department of Transportation to install safety features on several rural roads throughout the county. The safety features include centerline rumble strips, thermoplastic striping, and reflectorized pavement markers. These measures have been shown to reduce crashes by providing an audible and vibratory warning to alert drivers when they are leaving their travel lane.

    Completing work they began for Marion County in 2018, the contractor is scheduled to install rumble strips on McKay Road NE starting on the evening of June 3, 2019. Durable striping and reflective pavement markers will then be placed on Cordon Road, McKay Road NE, Yergen Road NE, and Ehlen Road NE.  All work is expected to be complete within ten days.

    The roads will remain open during construction with flaggers directing traffic through the work area.  Motorist should expect minor delays and are advised to use alternative routes when possible. 

    All work is scheduled to take place at night to reduce congestion and help minimize impacts for the traveling public.  The contractor is responsible for the schedule of work, which is subject to change to due to weather and other factors. For more information, visit Marion County's web site at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Engineering/Projects/Pages/Rumbles.aspx.

    Marion County understands the work may be disruptive and will make every effort to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. Please comply with all posted construction signs and traffic control features.

    If you have any questions, please contact Tina Powell at 503-588-5036 or tmpowell@co.marion.or.us or Steve Preszler at 503-588-5036 or spreszler@co.marion.or.us.

    Read More
    Marion County will install safety features on rural roads beginning June
  • Jun
    3

    Marion County Housing Authority: Real Life in Action

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    This article appears in the June 2019 issue of the Salem Business Journal. 

    By Dick Hughes, Special to Marion County

    Poverty wears a different face in rural Marion County than in urban areas but one critical issue remains the same: housing.

    The shortage of rural housing is felt by the region's aging population, by agricultural workers, by families and by low-wage earners, according to Candace Jamison, executive director of the Marion County Housing Authority (MCHA). Other challenges accompany that housing shortage, such as helping people find transportation to work, appointments and other activities that often are in larger cities.

    In its work, MCHA helps fulfill the community's obligation to serve the most vulnerable among us – children, seniors and individuals with disabilities.

    "These are our values – these are our morals – in real life in action," Jamison said.

    "I think sometimes homelessness is hard for everyday people to put a finger on," she said. "But the understanding that we need a safety net in our community is much more tangible for people to understand. So many people who live in our housing are one paycheck away from being in the same situation."

    That safety net is tenuous.  About 3,000 names are on MCHA's waiting list for Section 8 vouchers, in which people rent through private landlords. Preference is given to applicants who already live, work or receive services in the community.

    For the 11 properties owned by MCHA, there can be a yearlong wait for an apartment or duplex. Those sites currently serve 118 families with children, 135 households headed by seniors and 43 households headed by a person with a disability.

    Unstable, inconsistent housing can have generational consequences. There are lifelong familial and societal benefits to providing good housing so children growing up throughout Marion County have access to the best schools and the best opportunities, regardless of their economic situation.

    "If we can invest in those children, we can essentially eliminate that generational poverty. If we can put resources into them, if we can allow them to have a stable home so that they can have a place to go to school, that is really important," Jamison said.

    MCHA, which serves all of Marion County outside the Salem-Keizer urban growth boundary, marked its 50th anniversary last year. Jamison has led the agency for a year and has ambitious plans for how it must evolve to meet the "steadily growing and steadily changing" needs.

    Along with developing more MCHA-owned housing, her goals include expanding partnerships. Veterans housing is an example of how that already happens among government and nonprofit agencies.

    "While we have access to the vouchers (for housing), there are others who have access to, for example, security deposits or who are able to help veterans with case management services or to help them get to appointments," Jamison said. "Partnerships are a big part of what we try to do to address homelessness in our community."

    One of the most important partnerships is with private landlords, who accept renters through the Section 8 program.

    The agency strives to break through traditional bureaucratic barriers while also faithfully following government requirements. For example, Marion and Polk counties collaborate so housing vouchers issued in one county can be used in the other.

    There often are misperceptions about residents in subsidized or public housing: No one else will rent to them and they must be criminals, troublemakers or just lazy. That is not the case, according to Jason Icenbice, who supervises the MCHA-owned sites.

    "Ninety-nine percent of the time it's positive," he said of dealing with MCHA clients. "We're always trying to find avenues to keep the tenants in their home – to make sure they're successful tenants."

    Icenbice, who came to affordable-property management from a career in private real estate, said that same philosophy applies to MCHA being seen as a neighborhood asset, "The goal is to really make nice communities, where if a housing unit is built near your house, you're not upset about it, because they're aesthetically appealing and they look nice and they're functional and it's a benefit to the community." 

    Read More
    Marion County Housing Authority: Real Life in Action
  • May
    29

    Enter The Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest!

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​MILL CITY, OR – In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Historic Railroad Bridge in Mill City, amateur and professional photographers are invited to enter their best images of the bridge in the "Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest" hosted by Marion County Public Works and the Save Our Bridge Committee in Mill City. The contest allows photographers of all skill levels to capture photographs of the bridge through their own unique lens.

    Send in your best photos for a chance to win! One grand prize winner will receive a $500 cash prize and the four category winners will each receive $125 cash prizes, thanks to the generosity of the contest's sponsor Santiam Hospital of Stayton.

    Winning contestants will receive their awards at Mill City's Historic Railroad Bridge Centennial Celebration on Saturday, September 14, 2019, in Mill City where their winning photos will be framed and displayed. Following the celebration, the framed photographs will also be displayed at the City of Mill City and Marion County Public Works offices, and the digital images on the city's and county's websites.

    Contestants may submit up to two photos for each of the following categories: Natural Setting, Architectural Features, Community Life, and Seasonal. Only digital photos will be accepted and although they will remain the property of the contestant, by entering the contest photographers grant Marion County and the City of Mill City the rights to publicly display and reproduce the photo in future publications, websites, and programs. For a full list of contest rules and to enter photos in the contest, visit the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest web page at www.millcitybridge.com.

    Entries must be submitted by 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 14, 2019. Contest entries will be judged on overall quality, creativity and how well the photograph portrays the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge in the four listed categories.  

    Mill City's Historic Railroad Bridge was built in 1888 and moved to Mill City by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1919. The railroad suspended service to Mill City in 1967 and the last train crossed it in 1971. It now serves the community as a well-used bike and pedestrian bridge and is the last remaining Phoenix Column Bridge still in service in Oregon.

    To submit photo entries and learn more about the contest, go to www.millcitybridge.com.

    Read More
    Enter The Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest!
  • Apr
    24

    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 2019 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 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.

    Other Parks
    Spong's Landing Park will also open to the public on May 1 but will be closed on Saturday, May 4 for maintenance. This park is located along the Willamette River north of Keizer and is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.

    Scotts Mills Park will also open to vehicle traffic on May 1.

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

    • Aumsville Ponds on Bates Road SE near Aumsville;

    • Bonesteele Park on Aumsville Hwy SE;

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

    • Near Silverton - Rogers Wayside; and

    • Along the North Santiam River – Minto, Niagara and 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
    23

    Volunteers recognized for outstanding service to Marion County

    Posted by: Business Services

    ​More than 129,000 hours with a value of $3.1 million – these are the 2018 contributions of Marion County's 1,742 volunteers. The Board of Commissioners celebrated the dedicated efforts of county volunteers on April 10 in honor of National Volunteer Week.

     Please join us in congratulating our 2019 volunteer award recipients: 

    Youth Volunteer – Payton Schlag

    The Youth Volunteer Award was developed to recognize volunteer accomplishments of young people 24 years and under in county programs and departments. 

    Eleven-year-old Payton Schlag is already a seasoned volunteer with the Marion County Fair. She first volunteered at only 8 years old. For the last two years she has volunteered at the information booth greeting fairgoers with courtesy and professionalism. In preparing for her duties at the information booth, she walked the areas around the booth making sure she knew where main attractions, restrooms, and other common areas were located so she could easily answer questions. Payton also serves as a peer tutor at her middle school and she is already signed up to volunteer at the 2019 fair.

    Advisory Board Volunteer – Bob Anderson

    The Advisory Board Volunteer of the Year award is to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to a Marion County advisory board. 

    Bob Anderson was recognized for his contributions on the Solid Waste Management Advisory Council. Bob has led the council as chair many times during his 18 years of service. He has provided guidance for county waste reduction and recycling programs, including some of the first commingled recycling collection programs in Oregon.  Bob and SWMAC were instrumental in starting one of the only programs in the nation that offers curbside collection of paint and household batteries among other items. Bob's business, AJ's Automotive Repair, was also recognized in 2013 for its green practices at the Mid-Valley Green Awards.

    Program Award – Monica Melhorn

    The program award is intended for those volunteers who display dedication and exemplary accomplishments within the division or program in which they volunteer.

    Monica Melhorn began as a dog walker at the Marion County Dog Shelter in 2018. She quickly transitioned to the foster program. Monica often fosters difficult to adopt dogs – high energy, herding breeds, young, and smart dogs. She offers insight to shelter staff on the dog's behaviors and needs, as well as helps potential adopters who want to know as much as possible about a dog before adopting. Monica regularly brings foster dogs to outreach events to help them find potential forever homes.

    Mary Pearmine Outstanding Volunteer Group – Lowell Spring and the Salem Audubon Society

    This award is in honor of the late Mary Pearmine who served as commissioner for Marion County from 1991-1998. In addition to being the first woman commissioner, Mary was a champion of volunteers and volunteer groups.

    Lowell Spring has been cleaning the roadside on Buena Vista Rd S and Ankeny Hill Rd S since 1995. Lowell often does most of this work on his own, representing the Salem Audubon Society. The Salem Audubon Society Adopt-A-Road group has been cleaning this roadside for 23 years, not only saving the county time and money, but also encouraging others to clean up and properly dispose of trash to keep the roadside clean. Marion County appreciates the Salem Audubon Society's long term dedication to preserving the beauty of Buena Vista and South Ankeny Hill Roads.  

    Judge Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year – Ulrich Reich  

    The late Rex Hartley served as a county judge and commissioner for Marion County from 1951-1966. Judge Hartley was dedicated to involving citizens in the development of the county.

    Ulrich Reich, also known as Uli, championed establishing a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Woodburn in 2014. Uli's leadership and continued dedication to recruiting, training, and managing this CERT team has resulted in a strong and successful response team that is well integrated into the community and capable of assisting local partners in a variety of tasks. Uli helped develop the Woodburn CERT Firefighter Rehab team. This team responds to local emergencies to provide rehabilitation services to fire and police service personnel. Under Uli's leadership, Woodburn CERT also assists with open houses at the fire department, community preparedness events, and regularly host CPR/AED and CERT classes.

    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 www.co.marion.or.us/BS/VOL.  

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    Volunteers recognized for outstanding service to Marion County
  • Apr
    22

    Marion County parks offer a wealth of recreational opportunities

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County 

    From picnicking to geocaching to hiking, Marion County parks offer a wealth of recreational opportunities for residents and travelers.

    "We have 18 parks that are scattered throughout the county. There are some that are absolutely gorgeous," Parks Coordinator Russ Dilley said.

    "We have all kinds of different recreation. A majority of the parks are on water, so there are a lot of water activities. Some have shelters for group picnics. We have smaller parks that are in the neighborhoods for kids to go play on the playgrounds."

    Most of the parks now stay open year-round. And with the May 1 opening of the remainder, visitors will find improvements throughout the park system.

    Those improvements include a repaved parking lot, new picnic shelters and a larger restroom at Scotts Mills Park; additional picnic tables at North Fork, Bear Creek and Salmon Falls parks; a stairway down to the North Santiam River at Minto Park; and expanded garbage collection and lots of fix-up throughout the 18 parks.

    For years, the county's parks staff consisted of Dilley and a summer employee. Marion County has now invested in a second fulltime employee and eight seasonal staff.

    "For so long, we were playing catchup," Dilley said. "To go from two people in the summertime to 10 people is amazing."

    The results show.

    At Scotts Mills, "on an average hot day, we had a 20-person line waiting" for the single restroom, Dilley said. Visitors using the 13-acre park for swimming, playing ball and other activities will appreciate now having a two-restroom facility.

    During the winter, weather closes the county parks along the Little North Fork of the Santiam River. Come late spring and summer, North Fork, Bear Creek and Salmon Falls parks are so heavily used – for water play, fishing, hiking, picnicking and, at Bear Creek, camping – that the county instituted a parking fee from May 15 through September. The price is $5 per vehicle per day, or $30 annually.

    "The area up there was being loved to death. We're not trying to restrict anyone with the parking pass, instead limit the numbers because of the environmental factors," Dilley said.

    "This has been something that we're working on with the BLM and the Forest Service, trying to just make people aware: Tread lightly."

    North Fork Park drew an estimated 11,800 visitors from last May through September.

    Just north of Salem and Keizer is Spong's Landing Park, where a significant beautification and renovation project has been under way. Rock trails and additional picnic tables have been added, although April's flooding along the Willamette River impeded that work. The 61.6-acre park includes picnic tables and shelters, barbecues, play equipment, horseshoe courts and a ballfield.

    Reservations are not needed for picnic shelters at the county parks.

    The oldest park, dedicated in 1955, is Niagara County Park off Highway 22. "It's an absolutely beautiful park with a great interpretative trail and a beautiful view of the North Santiam River which runs through the park," Dilley said.

    As travelers and local residents enjoy the county parks, Dilley reminds them to use the trash cans or pack out their garbage.

    He adds: "Be safe. Tread lightly. Be respectful. Enjoy."

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    Marion County parks offer a wealth of recreational opportunities
  • 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." 

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    Marion County welcomes new commissioner
  • 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.

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    Commissioners approve Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
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