Marion County
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News Releases
Local health officials urge public to receive flu vaccine this fall - 10/27/20

Salem, OR – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in Marion County, local health officials are urging the public to be proactive in receiving a flu shot this season. Although it’s too early to say how serious this flu season will be, a bad influenza season has the potential to pose a burden on health care resources with the addition of COVID-19.

Last year, 11,913 cases of flu were reported in Oregon. Six-hundred sixty-nine people were hospitalized, and there were three pediatric deaths. The flu vaccine is effective in reducing transmission of flu throughout the community, and this year it is more important than ever to receive a flu shot.

Marion County Public Health Administrator Katrina Rothenberger hopes community members will be diligent in getting flu vaccines this year: “More than ever, it is critical that residents of Marion County get a flu vaccine in order to protect those who are most vulnerable in our community and to preserve medical resources to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Similar to wearing a face covering, it is a simple step we can all take to protect one another.”

While many often wait to get a flu shot until later in the season, physicians recommend getting the vaccine earlier this year.

“With the public so focused on COVID-19, the importance of annual flu vaccination may be somewhat muted this year,” said Matthew Boles, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Salem Health. “Therefore, it is crucial that we communicate to our residents to get a flu vaccine, while continuing to practice good hand hygiene and masking to control spread of both COVID-19 and influenza.”

Flu vaccines are available from local health care providers and many pharmacies. Community members in need of assistance accessing a flu vaccine may contact Marion County Public Health Clinic by calling 503-588-4342 or visiting immunize.mchealthy.net. 

About Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics: Salem Health offers exceptional care to people in and around Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley. It comprises hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, plus other affiliated services. Visit us at www.salemhealth.org; “Like” us on www.facebook.com/salemhealth; follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at www.youtube.com/salemhealth

About Marion County Health & Human Services Department:
Marion County Health & Human Services Department strives to create a safe and welcoming community where all people can access high quality health and human services, and are supported to achieve their highest level of health. The department is comprised of four divisions offering a range of services from immunizations to mental health crisis services. Learn more at www.MCHealthy.net.

Marion County Weekly Wildfire Recovery Update - Oct. 21, 2020 - 10/20/20

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, the Marion County Board of Commissioners and Public Works Director Brian Nicholas will provide an update on wildfire recovery in the Santiam Canyon and answer questions about recovery efforts. The wildfire update will immediately follow the commissioners’ regular board session, which begins at 9:00 a.m. The wildfire recovery update is expected to begin between 9:45 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.   

The board session and wildfire update will be held in the Senator Hearing Room of Courthouse Square located at 555 Court St. NE, Salem, OR. The wildfire update will also stream live on the Marion County, OR Facebook page (@MarionCountyOR).

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will only be allowing one media representative per outlet. Once the room has reached capacity, no additional media partners will be permitted to enter. Questions may be submitted in advance to PIO2@co.marion.or.us. Questions will also be accepted during the media via Facebook during the wildfire update.

Marion County 2020-21 Property Taxes - 10/19/20

Marion County tax statements will be mailed Monday, October 19, 2020, and should arrive in property owner mailboxes shortly thereafter. Tom Rohlfing, Marion County Assessor, certified the 2020-21 Property Tax Roll on October 13, 2020.

As of the January 1, 2020 valuation date, the aggregate Real Market Value (RMV) of all property countywide increased by 4.87% from last year, to $53.15 billion. Real Market Value is the estimated amount in cash that could reasonably be expected to be paid for a property by an informed buyer to an informed seller.

Escalating values of residences and residential land located in cities and towns contributed to the increase, jumping the total RMV to $24.32 billion or 5.82% increase from 2019. The total value of rural property, including acreage homes, farms, and forest lands, also showed continued growth with a total RMV of $11.77 billion or 4.34% increase from 2019. Commercial and industrial properties have shown a slightly slower growth with a total RMV of $14.42 billion or 2.95% increase from 2019.

Due to Measure 50 benefits, some homeowners will experience much smaller tax increases than the preceding figures suggest. The typical unchanged home will experience only a 3% increase in assessed value no matter where they are located in the county. However, changes in tax rates due to new or expiring bonds will significantly affect owners in selected communities.

Assessed Value countywide grew by 4.21% to $27.62 billion, standing at just 51.96% of total Real Market Value. A big factor in the gap between market and assessed values, of course, is due to the Measure 50 limit of 3% annual growth in the Maximum Assessed Value of unchanged property. However, 13,293 properties receive sharply reduced assessed values and taxes due to farm or forest special assessment, and 17,681 properties receive full or partial tax exemptions. The city of Hubbard will see tax increases of about 9% due to new Hubbard Rural Fire Protection Local Option Levy.   

Primary beneficiaries of Marion County property taxes are schools, the community college, and educational service districts receiving (46.13%) of the total. Other major recipients include cities (22.53%), Marion County government (17.30%), and fire districts (6.22%). Urban renewal districts receive about (3.29%). These percentages are similar to last year. 

For the residents of the Santiam Canyon, please accept our deepest sympathies for the tragedies endured as a result of the Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires. We know many of you have experienced great loss as a result of these fires. Marion County follows state law in tax assessment following damages by fire or Acts of God. Real market value of property affected by the wildfires will be reflected on property tax statements next year. People who have experienced a loss to taxable property will need to submit an Application for Property Tax Proration by June 30, 2021, to potentially get their current year property taxes prorated.

Mr. Rohlfing encourages property owners to promptly review their tax statement for accuracy. This includes checking for correct ownership, mailing, and location addresses. To aid with this, the Assessor’s Office provides a wide array of information on its website, including more detailed information about how each property is assessed.  The property records portion of the Assessor’s Office website allows you to search multiple ways, including a map search tool to help locate properties.

Taxes are due by November 16, 2020, to receive the 3% discount and avoid interest charges. Owners with questions, or who feel changes are needed, should contact the Assessor’s Office at 503-588-5144. Those who disagree with the Real Market Value placed on their property are encouraged to request a review prior to filing an appeal. If the property owner still does not agree with the value once the review is completed, instructions on the back of the tax statement describe how to appeal to the local Board of Property Tax Appeals, comprised of community volunteers.

Marion County Wildfire Debris Cleanup Right of Entry deadline extended to October 23, 2020 - 10/19/20

Salem, OR – Marion County has extended the deadline to submit Right of Entry forms by one week to allow state and federal partners to clean wildfire debris from private properties. Forms should be completed by property owners and turned into Marion County no later than Friday, October 23, 2020. Forms are available at bit.ly/MCRightofEntry.

Teams from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their contractors are arriving in Oregon to begin removal of household hazardous waste (HHW) from properties damaged or destroyed by wildfire. The removal of HHW is the first in a two-step cleanup process, and is funded by FEMA and the State of Oregon with no cost to property owners.

Removal of HHW from properties in Marion County is scheduled be begin by November 2, 2020. However, many property owners have not completed the Right of Entry (ROE) form, which slows efforts to remove the waste.

"Without the ROE form, we will not be able to help people begin the process of rebuilding," says Brian Nicholas, Marion County Emergency Management Director. "If you know anyone that has lost their home in the fires, please ask them to complete the form, which will allow us to include their property in the cleanup effort."

Marion County wants to emphasize that if a property owner completes the ROE, which is recommended, no federal, state, or local agency will attempt to recoup money from insurance allocated for the rebuilding of homes. For insurance policies that include specified coverage for debris removal and a specified debris removal coverage limit, agencies may seek reimbursement for debris cleanup, but only up to the debris removal coverage limit stated in the policy.

The state will not attempt to recoup any money from insurance of property owners who have been given a lump sum payment by their insurance for all cleanup and rebuilding costs and the policy does not include specified debris removal coverage or a specified debris removal coverage limit until after their home is rebuilt. In rare instances, property owners may have funds remaining which FEMA may seek. This is simply because FEMA cannot pay for any cleanup costs that are already covered by insurance.

"The state-wide wildfire debris cleanup effort led by FEMA and the State of Oregon is the best way for property owners to get their sites cleaned up at the lowest cost, and it's the only program available to assist uninsured property owners at no cost to them," says Nicholas. "If you choose to cleanup yourself, you must still comply with DEQ regulations for asbestos and lead disposal and you will have to bear all uninsured costs on your own."

The Right of Entry form and additional information regarding wildfire recovery are available at www.MCWildfireRecovery.net. For answers to Right of Entry questions or help completing the form, call the Marion County Right of Entry helpline at (503) 365-3140.

Marion County commissioners waive building and septic permit fees for wildfire victims - 10/14/20

Salem, OR – The Marion County Board of Commissioners today approved an order to waive Marion County building and septic permit fees for primary residences damaged or destroyed by the Sept. 2020 wildfires.

Commissioner Colm Willis, chair, said, “We want Santiam Canyon residents to know we’re rooting for you. We are with you, we support you, and we want to help you rebuild.”

The value of the waiver, approximately $2,000 dollars per 1,500 square foot home, represents an estimated $1.2 million in permit fees. There are approximately 800 Marion County homes damaged or destroyed by the wildfires; approximately 470 of which are primary homes.

While insurance typically covers permit fees, this waiver will hopefully make more of those insurance funds available to individuals as they rebuild.

Fee waivers will be based on fees for a dwelling of a similar sized footprint as the dwelling being repaired or replaced and apply to Marion County building and septic permit fees. The policy is effective for five years for permits that qualify between Sept. 8, 2020 and Sept. 8, 2025.

For more information on Marion County building and septic permits, contact Marion County Public Works at 503-588-5147 or email uilding@co.marion.or.us">building@co.marion.or.us.

EarthWISE Food Waste Reduction Grant Opportunity - 10/14/20

Salem, OR – EarthWISE, Marion County’s sustainable business network, is pleased to announce the availability of a grant program to support businesses in food waste prevention. Five businesses will be awarded $10,000 plus tools and resources to address food waste using the EPA food recovery hierarchy.

Food waste is the single largest item thrown away in the commercial collection cart and comprises approximately 29% of commercial waste. At a time when 1 in 5 residents seek assistance from Marion Polk Food Share, it is even more important to preserve essential nutrients and calories intended for human consumption. Marion County is committed to working with local and statewide partners to find solutions and innovations for food waste reduction in our community.

Details

EarthWISE Waste Reduction grants are designed to create multiple financial benefits to sites with a built-in long-term resource and network connection. The grants will be awarded to selected recipients in a phased approach as follows:

  • An immediate release of $2,500 will be given to a business to enhance or support the daily operations of the business.
  • As businesses move through assessment and audits, the site will work with EarthWISE to identify materials, renovations, equipment, upgrades, or staff training to decrease food waste. Each site will then have access to $5,000 to address one or more of the identified needs.
  • Lastly, on completing the EarthWISE certification the site will receive an additional $2,500.

How to Apply and Deadline Information

  • Applications will be accepted through Oct. 23, 2020.
  • Applications are available in both the English and Spanish.

More Information

For more information, email us at thwise@co.marion.or.us">Earthwise@co.marion.or.us.

Marion County Wildfire Recovery Update set for Oct. 14 following Board Session - 10/13/20

On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, the Marion County Board of Commissioners and Public Works Director Brian Nicholas will provide an update on wildfire recovery in the Santiam Canyon and answer questions about recovery efforts. The wildfire update will immediately follow the commissioners’ regular board session, which begins at 9:00 a.m. The wildfire recovery update is expected to begin after 10:00 a.m.   

The board session and wildfire update will be held in the Senator Hearing Room of Courthouse Square located at 555 Court St. NE, Salem, OR. The wildfire update will also stream live on the Marion County, OR Facebook page (@MarionCountyOR).

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will only be allowing one media representative per outlet. Once the room has reached capacity, no additional media partners will be permitted to enter. Questions may be submitted in advance to PIO2@co.marion.or.us. Questions will also be accepted during the media via Facebook during the wildfire update.

Marion County Wildfire Recovery Update - Oct. 7, 2020 - 10/06/20

On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, the Marion County Board of Commissioners, Public Works Director Brian Nicholas, and a representative from FEMA will provide an update on wildfire recovery in the Santiam Canyon and answer questions about recovery efforts. The wildfire update will immediately follow the commissioners’ regular board session, which begins at 9:00 a.m. The wildfire recovery update is expected to begin after 9:30 a.m.  

The board session and wildfire update will be held in the Senator Hearing Room of Courthouse Square located at 555 Court St. NE, Salem, OR. The wildfire update will also stream live on the Marion County, OR Facebook page (@MarionCountyOR).

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will only be allowing one media representative per outlet. Once the room has reached capacity, no additional media partners will be permitted to enter. Questions may be submitted until 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 6, 2020, to PIO2@co.marion.or.us. Questions from media partners will also be accepted during the media availability via Facebook.