City of Salem
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City and nonprofit organizations connect homeless to services, coordinate clean-up under the Marion Street Bridge - 01/15/19

Salem, Ore. — On Tuesday, January 15 the City of Salem led a coordinated response to connect people camping under Marion Street Bridge with the social services they need, and clean up under the bridge. Present at the clean-up were local housing, medical, food and other social service organizations, who contacted the roughly 30 individuals living under the bridge.

Onsite social services providers at the clean-up include:

  • Northwest Human Services
  • Mid-Valley Community Action Agency’s ARCHES program
  • Union Gospel Mission
  • Be Bold Ministries
  • Inside Out Ministries

The City of Salem Public Works removed an estimated 16 dump trucks’ worth garbage and waste. Eight people accepted medical and/or mental health services. No arrests were made.

Food distribution will continue in the nearby ARCHES parking lot. The city and its partners remind residents and local organizations to distribute food in a manner that complies with state, county and city requirements. Service groups and individuals are encouraged to work with established organizations such as the Union Gospel Mission and Mid-Valley Community Action Agency to maximize the effectiveness of charitable efforts in the community. 

In a press release issued by the City last week, city manager Steve Powers said. “The City’s chief priority is to keep all members of the community safe, including the homeless. Conditions under the bridge have deteriorated to the point that it is no longer safe for people to be there.”

The City received reports of crime, and illegal activates occurring under the bridge. These behaviors combined with the extremely unsanitary conditions in the area prompted the clean-up. On Tuesday, January 8, 2019, a team, including staff from the Union Gospel Mission, Mid-Valley Community Action Agency's ARCHES program and City Vibe, joined the City in posting a notice before the clean-up began. This was so people could get access to available housing, medical, and food resources, and have time to remove their belongings and leave the area under the Marion Street Bridge adjacent to Marion Square Park. 

Reducing homelessness is a priority for the Salem City Council. Homelessness in Salem is a complex problem that requires long-term, committed partnerships with public and nonprofit agencies and organizations. Salem is taking a collaborative approach and adapting best practices to fit our community.

City of Salem Honors Area's First Inhabitants; Proclamation Commemorates January 22 as Willamette Valley Treaty Day - 01/15/19

Salem, Ore.- The City of Salem took a historic step Monday night to honor the city’s original inhabitants when City of Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett issued a proclamation recognizing January 22, 2019, as Willamette Valley Treaty Commemoration Day. January 22, 2019, is the 169th anniversary of the Willamette Valley Treaty which was signed by the Santiam Band of Kalapuya near Dayton, Oregon on that same day in 1855.

In addition to declaring Willamette Valley Treaty Commemoration Day, the City of Salem’s proclamation recognizes the long-standing friendship between the City of Salem and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde by creating a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties. That agreement expresses an intent by both parties to maintain an open dialogue and work collaboratively on issues of multiple interest. Salem City Council will formally vote on the Memorandum of Understanding at its January 28th meeting.

City of Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett said, “Our relationship with the Grand Ronde Tribe is one built on collaboration and friendship. We are pleased to formalize that relationship and look forward to continuing our years of cooperation.”

The Willamette Valley Treaty was signed by the United States government and tribal leaders from numerous tribes and bands that would later become the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. The Treaty ceded the tribes’ ancestral homelands, which included the entire Willamette Valley from the crest of the Cascade Mountains to the Coastal Mountain Range, to the United States in exchange for certain rights and benefits and moved the areas’ natives to the Grand Ronde Reservation.

“The Willamette Valley Treaty provides the Grand Ronde Tribe and the City of Salem with a shared history,” stated Grand Ronde Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy. “We are grateful to the City of Salem for honoring that history, as well as our years of friendship, through this proclamation.

The signed proclamation was presented by Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George during Monday night’s meeting.

City Helps Campers Under Marion Street Bridge In Coordinated Response with Local Service Providers - 01/09/19

City Helps Campers Under Marion Street Bridge In Coordinated Response with Local Service Providers

Salem, Ore. – Together with local housing providers and social service organizations, the City of Salem is leading a coordinated response to connect people camping under the Marion Street Bridge with help they need and to clean-up under the bridge. 

On Tuesday, January 8, 2019, a team, including staff from the Union Gospel Mission, Mid-Valley Community Action Agency’s ARCHES program and City Vibe, joined the City in posting a notice before the clean-up began, so people could get access to available services, remove their belongings and leave the area under the Marion Street Bridge adjacent to Marion Square Park. 

Salem City Manager Steve Powers said, “The City’s chief priority is to keep all members of the community safe, including the homeless. Conditions under the bridge have deteriorated to the point that it is no longer safe for people to be there.”

The City has received reports of crime, vermin, and activities that violate Salem Revised Code. These behaviors, and the unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the area, confirm last year’s pilot effort to provide a single location for food distribution to the homeless was not successful. The City and its partners remind residents and local organizations who distribute food to do so in a manner that complies with state, county and city requirements. They are also encouraged to donate to established service organizations such as the Union Gospel Mission and the Mid-Valley Community Action Agency’s ARCHES programs located in the blocks adjacent to Marion Square Park. Working together in this way will help maximize the effectiveness of charitable efforts.

Reducing homelessness is a priority for the Salem City Council. Homelessness in Salem is a complex problem that requires long-term, committed partnerships with public and nonprofit agencies and organizations across the City, Marion County, and Polk County. The City of Salem and its nonprofit, private, and government organizations partners are working to lessen the hardships that lead to homelessness of residents and families with children, and to increase access to affordable housing. Salem is taking a collaborative approach and adapting best practices to fit our community. On January 23, the City Council will hold a Work Session on policy priorities for the coming year. The City Council will discuss moving forward with the Downtown Homeless Task Force recommendations, including more public toilets, and more storage space for the personal possessions of those experiencing homelessness. 

Those looking to join the effort to address homelessness in Salem are encouraged to volunteer with local social services organizations such as the Union Gospel Mission and Mid-Valley Community Action Agency.

Salem Mayor to Speak about City Plans for 2019; Public Invited to Attend State of the City Presentation Jan. 23 - 01/08/19

Salem, Ore. – City of Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett will give his 2019 State of the City address on Wed., Jan. 23 at noon. This free event will be held at the Salem Convention Center, Willamette Ballroom, 200 Commercial Street SE. Doors open at 11:15 a.m. The event will be live-streamed on the City of Salem Facebook page and Capitol Community Television’s YouTube Channel, and will also be available for later viewing. Co-hosted by the City of Salem, Salem City Club, Rotary Club of Salem, and the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the annual State of the City is an opportunity for Salem’s Mayor to reflect on the past year, and outline the vision for the City in the year ahead. This will be Mayor Bennett’s third State of the City address.

An optional lunch buffet is available for $20 per person. Lunch tickets can be purchased in advance by contacting the Rotary Club, City Club, or Chamber of Commerce, and will be available at the door. Free seating is available for those who prefer to not buy lunch.

Accommodations are available upon request for those who require sign language interpretation or for languages other than English. To request interpretation services, please call the City of Salem at 503-588-6255 by Jan. 18.

Salem Breaks Ground on New Facility That Turns Waste Into Renewable Energy - 01/04/19

Salem, Ore. — The City of Salem (City),  Energy Trust of Oregon (Energy Trust), and Portland General Electric (PGE) are excited to announce the launch of an innovative project at the Willow Lake Cogeneration Facility, one of only 11 facilities in the state of Oregon that is presently using biogas, a byproduct of wastewater treatment, to produce renewable energy. On Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett, Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark, Peter West, director of Energy Programs at Energy Trust, and Bill Nicholson, senior vice president of Transmission and Distribution for PGE invite the community to participate in the project’s groundbreaking ceremony. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. at the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Facility at 5915 Windsor Island Road North in Keizer, Oregon.

The Willow Lake treatment plant has produced clean, renewable energy from biogas for more than 50 years. Once the construction is complete, the cogeneration facility will supply nearly one half of the total power needs at the wastewater treatment plant. This will keep 5,000 metric tons of pollution-causing gases from being released to our atmosphere. It is expected to save the City more than $300,000 in energy costs each year.

In addition, the cogeneration facility upgrade:

  • Will be able to produce up to 1,200 kW of electricity - about 50 percent of the electricity needed to operate the plant for a year, or enough to power over 900 homes.
  • Was awarded a $3 million grant from PGE’s Renewable Development Fund.
  • Received more than $3 million in cash incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon.

Construction of the facility upgrades will be managed by Slayden Construction Group Inc. of Stayton, Oregon. The cogeneration engine and heat recovery system are being provided by Peterson Power Systems, Inc.  Facility upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of 2019. This City of Salem project was made possible by the support of Energy Trust of Oregon, the Oregon Department of Energy, and customers participating in Portland General Electric’s Green Future Program through the Renewable Development Fund. In all, the grant funds and renewable energy incentives received from these project partners have provided more than half of the $9 million in construction costs.

MEDIA INVITE: City to host Grand Reopening of west Salem Fire Station on January 12 - 01/03/19

Salem, Ore. —Members of the media are invited to join the Salem community and attend the grand reopening of Fire Station 11 in west Salem on January 12, 2019, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at 1970 Orchard Heights Road NW.  The reopening ceremony starts at 10 a.m. Attendees will also be able to tour the facility and meet with Salem fire fighters. In attendance will be Mayor Chuck Bennett and other members of the Salem City Council, Fire Chief Mike Niblock, and City Manager Steve Powers. They will all be available to talk with the media.

Once open, Fire Station 11 will serve more than 24,000 people living in west Salem.

Background:

Fire Station 11 on Orchard Heights Road in west Salem was closed in 2012. Since that time, calls for fire service have increased 24 percent, and fewer calls are answered within the 5½-minute standard. With its reinstatement, response time is expected to decrease, meaning 350 more individuals should be reached within the desired response time when experiencing a critical emergency. This added capacity in west Salem also improves citywide reliability for fire and emergency medical response.

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