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  • Feb

    Commissioners present annual State of the County address

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​On February 14, Oregon's 159th birthday, Commissioners Janet Carlson, Kevin Cameron, and Sam Brentano delivered their annual State of the County address to a packed house as part of SEDCOR's monthly economic business forum. The commissioners covered topics ranging from innovation and technology for agriculture, to infrastructure investments, public and mental health, public safety, and homelessness.

    Commissioner Brentano focused his remarks on forest policy and transportation. Affirming Marion County's support for a Third Bridge across the Willamette River, Brentano said, "The roads from Marion and Polk counties are necessary to get people and products to and from Salem and the rest of the world. This bridge has a regional impact and we believe it's necessary for this area to survive and thrive."

    Commissioner Cameron gave several examples of economic development initiatives in the Santiam Canyon, North Marion County, and Salem-Keizer. He also made the case for a dedicated patrol district in East Salem that would add ten deputies, stating, "This will free up deputies to serve our rural communities. Public safety always has to be our priority as elected officials."

    Commissioner Carlson's comments focused on public safety, homelessness, and mental health. As a community priority, Marion County allocates approximately 78 percent of the general fund budget to public safety services. The county is launching Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion to connect certain non-violent offenders with treatment, housing, and health services in lieu of jail, and is working alongside the Mid- Valley Community Action Agency and other community partners to open a shelter for runaway and homeless youth. Other new initiatives include Stepping Up which will divert mentally ill people from the county jail and pre-trial justice which will prioritize jail stays for those awaiting trial by their likelihood of appearing for court and safety risk to the community.

    Commissioner Carlson concluded her portion of the presentation by announcing her retirement at the end of her current term. She said, "This is the best job I've ever had. As a county commissioner, we can see the influence of the work that we do every day."

    The State of the County can be viewed on YouTube at or on the Board of Commissioners Facebook page (@MarionCountyBoard).

    The presentation will be replayed on Comcast channel 21 through February 26 at the following times:
    February 17 at 2:30 p.m.
    February 18 at 8:30 a.m.
    February 20 at 10:00 a.m.
    February 21 at 12:00 p.m.
    February 23 at 4:00 p.m.
    February 25 at 7:00 p.m.
    February 26 at 8:00 a.m.

    The State of the County kicks off the commissioners' annual community tour with town hall meetings throughout the county. The tour begins next week with a community meeting at the Mt. Angel Library on February 21 from noon to 1 p.m. The library is located at 290 E Charles St. in Mt. Angel. See our meetings and events​ list for a complete list of community forums. 

    For more information about State of the County or Marion County's programs and services, visit our website at contact the Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or ​

    Commissioners present annual State of the County address
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