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News Releases
City of Salem and 2023 GO Bonds Retain Aa2 Rating from Moody's - 01/30/23

Salem, Ore. — Moody’s Investor Service has assigned an Aa2 rating to the City of Salem and the City’s  2023 General Obligation Bonds. 

By approving the $300 million community improvement bond measure in November 2022, residents in Salem have allowed the City to fund a 10-year plan to increase funding for street upgrades, sidewalk construction and repair, construction of bicycle facilities, replacement of old fire engines and equipment, updating information technology and cybersecurity tools, acquiring property for future affordable housing developments, fire stations, and two branch libraries; and complete earthquake safety upgrades to the Civic Center. Projects are planned throughout Salem.

A bond rating can be thought of as a credit score for large organizations such as cities. It helps determine the kinds of interest rates a city can get when it goes to borrow money via a bond. Rating agencies, like Moody’s evaluate city finances based on the strength of the local economy and tax base, financial management, debt, pension obligations and governance.

“We’re very happy that the Moody’s rating reflects Salem’s solid economic growth and outlook, strong property wealth and healthy financial position,” City Manager Keith Stahley said. 

The rating applies to two bond series, 2023A (federally taxable) with an estimated par amount of about $12 million and 2023B (tax exempt) with an estimated par amount of about $88 million. Par value is the amount of money that bond issuers, the City in this case, promise to repay bond holders at the bond’s maturity date.

In addition to economic growth and stability, Moody’s rating notes the City’s strong practices “supported by a good management team and prudent fiscal practices.” One challenge Moody’s noted was the likely need to add to the City’s core revenues, particularly in the General Fund, due to the state laws limiting assessed property valuation growth.  For more on the City’s Five-Year Financial Forecast, watch Salem’s Chief Financial Officer presentation to the Budget Committee in January 2023 and take a turn trying to balance the City’s budget with Balancing Act.

Read the full Moody’s rating. 

Learn more about Moody’s US Cities and Counties Methodology.

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Learn How to Help Monitor Eagle's Nests (Photo) - 01/27/23

Salem, Ore. — Join Salem’s Eagle Monitoring Team! A two-part training will start January 31. 

The first part starts with the technical side of the process on Tuesday, January 31, in Loucks Auditorium from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Volunteers will learn: 

  • Information about bald eagles, their nesting patterns, and nesting timeline. 
  • Learn where our eagle nests are located and the best locations for viewing them. 
  • How to sign up for observation periods, equipment needs, and time commitment.  
  • How to answer the questions in the field questionnaire based on your observations of the nest and eagle activity.
  • How to use Survey123 on your personal cellular device or desktop computer to submit your observations. 

The second part of the training will be on-site at Minto Brown Island Park on Saturday, February 4, from 10 a.m. to noon, starting in Parking Lot 3. Volunteers will visit several observation stations and practice monitoring the Minto Brown Eagle Nest. Bring good walking shoes, a rain jacket, binoculars or a spotting scope, and anything else you need to be comfortable walking and standing outdoors for two hours.

Volunteers will have an opportunity to monitor two nests this year. In addition to the Minto-Brown Eagle Nest, a nest on Audubon property across from Riverfront Park is also included this year.

Monitoring started as a way to learn about the nesting pair at Minto Brown Island Park in order to determine how best to balance the needs of the bald eagle pair with recreation and park management needs. 

“Monitoring provides evidence that the things we’re doing are not impacting the eagles,” City Ranger Mike Zieker explained. “The volunteers sit out there and watch the eagle’s nest and the eagles. They check off boxes on behavior. Are the eagles perched? Working on the nest? Incubating? Feeding their young?” 

They also keep track of the kind of human activities that are occurring in the vicinity of the nest at the same time and noting anything that appears to cause disturbance. 

Eagles mate for life, using the same nest throughout their lifetime, so assuring their nests are undisturbed is particularly important, especially in the first few years. The first year the nest was identified in Minto Brown Island Park, the City worked in consultation with US Fish and Wildlife Service to create a perimeter around the nest tree and close trails on both sides during nesting season. 

On the second year, with a USFWS permit and monitoring program in place, the City opened one of the trails to use, keeping other trails closed. 

This year, which will be the third year since nest establishment, the City will be leaving all trails in the nest buffer open to general recreational use. This is largely due to the volunteer monitoring data collected last year that showed the eagle pair was not disturbed by most activities in their buffer and provided evidence that the pair successfully fledged its chick. 

“Every year the eagles come back, they get more and more comfortable and acclimated,” Mike said. Visitors on the trail are encouraged to stay on the trail and move along. If they want to watch, they should watch from at least 1,000 feet away. 

If you’d like to join the Eagle Monitoring Training, please contact Amanda Sitter, City of Salem Parks Volunteer coordinator, asitter@cityofsalem.net, 503-589-2197.

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Charro attire exhibit on display at Salem Public Library through March 3.
Charro attire exhibit on display at Salem Public Library through March 3.
Charro Attire Exhibit at Salem Public Library (Photo) - 01/11/23

The Salem Public Library has partnered with Comunidad y Herencia Cultural, a nonprofit organization committed to serving the Latinx community, to bring a Charro Attire Exhibit to the Salem community to showcase Latino arts and culture. The Charro Attire Exhibit will feature six mannequins dressed in authentic, handmade Charro Attire which highlights the expression of a custom with a history dating back more than 500 years. “Charrería“ serves as a way of honoring and paying tribute to the way of life of the past.

The Charro Attire Exhibit is designed to highlight the richness of the Latino arts and cultures to build community. Antonio Huerta, Director of Communidad y Herencia Cultural, stated “Practicing charrería in the United States has made me feel connected to my people, my culture, and my homeland. The added benefit of practicing charrería in the United States is the feeling of bringing a part of the Latino cultural history to Mexican Americans, especially to our youth, who might otherwise miss out on learning about this part of their heritage.”

The Charro Attire Exhibit will be on display until March 3. You can view the exhibit by visiting the Salem Public Library at 585 Liberty St SE next to City Hall. The Salem Public Library is open Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. Don’t miss your chance to experience the regalia, tradition, cultural expression, and art of the Charro Attire.

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