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Get Ready for a Party in the Park for Earth Day (Photo) - 04/16/24

Marion County Environmental Services Hosts Free Community Event for Earth Day

KEIZER, OR – Join Marion County Environmental Services on April 26, 2024, from 3-7p.m. for a free community event held at Spong’s Landing Park. This year’s theme “Build a Brighter Future,” will highlight reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair efforts to help protect the environment.

This family-friendly event will include interactive presentations from local agencies, bird house building, guided nature walks, face painting, a baby goat petting zoo, arts and crafts, and more. Free ice cream from On Any Sundae will be served in reusable containers that participants will get to take home as souvenirs. 

For those looking to celebrate Earth Day before April 26, Marion County Environmental Services has launched a Passport to Sustainability program. This digital passport contains 24 activities with tips and actions to help the environment every day. For each completed activity, participants will earn points that they can redeem for sustainable prizes while supplies last. For kids interested in Earth Day activities and earning fun prizes, the Passport to Sustainability for Kids is full of learning opportunities and encouragement to get outside and explore natural spaces.

For more information on this event, including additional resources on how to help the environment in Marion County, check out the event website.

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Tax Reset for Santiam Canyon Wildfire Survivors Signed into Law (Photo) - 04/11/24

SALEM, Ore. — Santiam Canyon wildfire survivors have something to celebrate this month as Senate Bill 1545 was signed into law. 

Senate Bill 1545 addresses the urgent need to reset property tax assessments for Santiam Canyon residents affected by the devastating 2020 Labor Day wildfires. Marion County worked diligently alongside the bill’s sponsors to get it across the finish line this legislative session.

“As a Commissioner, I have witnessed firsthand the immense challenges faced by individuals and families who lost their homes in the fires and subsequently had to rebuild,” said Commissioner Kevin Cameron, Chair. “Senate Bill 1545 offers a lifeline to those struggling to rebuild by mitigating the burden of increased property taxes.”

Under Oregon's current tax laws, property tax assessments are subject to certain limitations, with the maximum assessed value of unchanged properties increasing by no more than 3% each year. However, legal or physical changes to the property, such as rebuilding after a wildfire, are exceptions to this limit, often resulting in significant property tax increases for affected residents.

Senate Bill 1545 provides much-needed relief to fire-impacted residents by allowing them to reset their property taxes to the homestead's real market value for the 2020-2021 tax year, based on the original square footage of their original residence. This measure has the potential to lower property taxes back to pre-fire rates for those who have rebuilt or plan to rebuild their homes on the same lot.

“This bill will be monumental for survivors already struggling to make ends meet after the fires,” said Senator Fred Girod, the bill’s chief sponsor. “Resetting the assessed value of homes rebuilt after being destroyed in the wildfires acknowledges the financial hardship faced by property owners who have already endured the trauma of losing their homes.”

While SB 1545 grants counties the discretion to reset assessed values, it does not mandate it. However, providing counties with this option is a crucial step toward ensuring fairness and equity for fire-affected residents. It is imperative that we support these individuals and families as they work to rebuild their lives and communities in the aftermath of such devastating loss.

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Paint the Town Blue for Child Abuse Prevention Awareness (Photo) - 04/04/24

On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, the Marion County Board of Commissioners proclaimed the month of April to be Child Abuse Prevention Month in Marion County. The proclamation represents Marion County’s continued commitment to raise public awareness of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect and what each of us can do to prevent it.

“We take this work seriously as Commissioners, and we try our best to expand services to other parts of the county and ensure everyone has access to services,” said Commissioner Danielle Bethell. “I’m excited for the Liberty House ribbon cutting on Friday, and I’m equally happy for a future expansion to come for CASA in Woodburn.

“Kids and families shouldn’t have to leave their communities to seek help.”

There were 10,711 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in Oregon in 2022, and 1,098 of these were victims in Marion County. Of those children, 41.6% were five years old or younger.

As in previous years, there will be a Blue Ribbon Tree serving as a symbol to the campaign's prevention efforts at River Front Park. This tree serves as a sobering reminder to our community why we must stay focused on preventing child abuse and neglect before it starts.

On Friday morning, April 5, 2024, Marion County commissioners will participate in the “Paint the Town Blue” parade from the Oregon State Fairgrounds to the Salem Family YMCA, joining community partners in recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month. Commissioners will then attend the grand opening of the expanded Liberty House facility in Woodburn. Additionally, county buildings will display blue lights for the Month of April.

“Protecting these kids is such a priority for me,” said Commissioner Kevin Cameron, Chair. “The more we can help these young kids and protect them and connect them and their parents with the resources they need to recover, the larger the generational impacts on not only their families, but our entire community.”

Paint the Town Blue Parade 2023Photo: Paint the Town Blue Parade 2023

Marion County appreciates the commitment of organizations such as Family Building Blocks, CASA of Marion County, Liberty House, and many more who work year round to support children and families in our communities.

“There may be people in the county who suffered some abuse as a child, and it may have never been reported or told to anybody,” said Commissioner Colm Willis. “If you’re one of those individuals, I just want you to know how much we care about you and how important you are to us and to the community.”

We all have a role to play in preventing child abuse and neglect. For information about how you can help, please visit: parentforthefuture.org.

Volunteer to Help Restoration and Reopening Efforts in Santiam Canyon Parks - 04/04/24

NORTH FORK CORRIDOR, OR – Marion County Parks, Oregon Parks Forever, Trailkeepers of Oregon, and SOLVE are hosting two volunteer events on May 4 and May 5, 2024, to aid in restoration efforts in the ongoing response to the 2020 Labor Day fires. Volunteers can sign up for a.m./p.m. shifts between 8:30a.m. -12:00p.m. or 12:30p.m. - 3:30p.m. at North Fork Park on May 4th and Minto Park on May 5th

Volunteers will work on light construction tasks, including building trails, assembling picnic tables, installing signs, debris and invasive species removal, and more. Shuttle service will be available from Lyons, OR (ODF parking lot at Hwy 22) to North Fork Park on May 4, 2024, and from Gates, OR (Gates Park and Ride) to Minto Park on May 5, 2024. Event organizers will provide all tools, and there will be an award-winning food truck onsite for volunteers to enjoy from 11:00a.m. to 1:30p.m. each day. These efforts will be instrumental in reopening some of these beloved parks in time for the 2024 recreation season. 

On labor day weekend 2020, the Beachie Creek Fire swept through the Santiam Canyon growing at 2.77 acres per second. Ultimately, it burned 193,565 acres, including 700 residential and 85 commercial properties. This fire left behind a devastated community, decimated habitat for fish and wildlife, and altered the landscape for years to come.

Take this opportunity to be a part of the recovery efforts in the Santiam Canyon before these parks reopen to the public.  There’s plenty of work to be done to get these parks ready for the public, and volunteers must sign up for their preferred task and shift to participate. Sign up to volunteer on May 4 at North Fork or May 5 at Minto now

 

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Exclusive Media Tour of the Little North Fork Corridor and Parks with Marion County Officials - 03/28/24

Salem, Ore. – March 22, 2024 – Join the Marion County Commissioners, County Sheriff, and Members of the Public Works Department for an exclusive media tour of the Little North Fork Corridor and Parks. 

Things in the corridor look significantly different after the 2020 wildfires. Some parks along the Santiam River will be opening May 15, 2024, while others will remain closed as recovery efforts continue. This is an opportunity for all interested media to receive a guided tour, with guided access the parks for photo/video, and to ask questions in-person. 

This is an informational opportunity you won’t want to miss if you plan to cover summer recreation opportunities in the Santiam Canyon. 

When: 

  • April 12, 2024 from 8:00am to 3:00pm

Where: 

  • The Tour will begin at the Oregon Department of Forestry - North Cascade District Office parking lot (22965 N Fork Rd SE, Lyons, OR 97358)
  • Marion County Public Works will provide shuttle service from this location into the North Fork Corridor

RSVP:

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