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  • Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to Close for Bridge Replacement

    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to Close for Bridge Replacement

    Date: 6/13/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Public Works

    ​JEFFERSON, OR – Beginning Monday, June 18, 2018, Jefferson-Marion Road SE will be closed immediately south of Pletzer Road SE to replace the existing bridge spanning Marion Creek. The road closure is located between Parrish Gap Road and the City of Marion and will last approximately 10 weeks. Access to Pletzer Road will remain open at all times from Jefferson-Marion Road. Jefferson-Marion Road is scheduled to reopen by August 24, 2018.

    During this time a signed detour utilizing Parrish Gap Road SE, Hunsacker Road SE and Marion Road will be in place. Expect increased traffic on signed and unsigned detour routes in the area. Please obey posted road closure and detour signs and be considerate of farm equipment and bicyclist in the area.

    For more information, contact Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician, or Bob Pankratz, Project Engineer, at 503-588-5036 or constructionprojects@co.marion.or.us.

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  • Scotts Mills Park is now open for the season

    Scotts Mills Park is now open for the season

    Date: 6/25/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    Marion County parks staff has announced that Scotts Mills Park has opened for the season. The park's opening has been delayed while work crews expanded and paved the parking lot. Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, said "Scotts Mills Park is one of our most popular parks and we're happy to be able to open it with enhanced parking for parkgoers."

    Scotts Mills Park is located off Crooked Finger Road along Butte Creek and is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.

    For more information, contact Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, at (503) 588-5036 or at rdilley@co.marion.or.us, or visit our website at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx.    

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  • Campfires and open flames prohibited in Marion County Parks

    Campfires and open flames prohibited in Marion County Parks

    Date: 7/20/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    Marion County Parks is prohibiting all campfires and open flames in all county parks effective July 19, 2018. The ban is in response to Gov. Brown's declaration of a fire emergency. The campfire and open flame ban includes Bear Creek Campground and all county day-use parks, and applies to wood, charcoal, and other flame sources that cannot be turned off with a valve. Gas grills or barbecues that can be turned off with a valve are still permitted, but cannot be left unattended.

    Russ Dilley, Marion County Parks Coordinator, says the ban is meant to avoid any accidental fires at county parks. "We understand this is an inconvenience for some campers and park-goers who might feel this is unnecessary, but the fire danger is extremely high right now and our primary focus is on the protection of both our park property and visitors," said Dilley. "We appreciate the public's cooperation with the ban and assistance in keeping our parks safe."

    It is unclear how long the fire ban is expected to be in place, but will be evaluated based on weather, resource conditions and input from Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and other state and local fire officials.

    Visitors planning a trip to a Marion County park should check for up-to-date information about fire restrictions by going to http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx, emailing parks@co.marion.or.us, or calling 503-588-5036.

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  • FY 2018-19 county budget highlights community investments

    FY 2018-19 county budget highlights community investments

    Date: 6/22/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​Law enforcement. Roads and bridges. Help for the needy.

    Those were budget priorities for Marion County in the 1800s, and they remain so today.

    County commissioners on Wednesday, June 27, approved a 2018-19 budget that increases sheriff's patrols, improves roads and bridges, and reduces homelessness.

    In presenting the budget, Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer showed the county's 1863 budget document. Hand-written on one page, it included money for the county commissioners, sheriff, jail, prosecuting attorney, road supervisor, bridges and "support for paupers."​

    "We've come a long way since then, but we still spend our money on similar things and similar concerns," Lattimer told the county budget committee, which comprises the three county commissioners and three public members.

    The 1863 budget of $12,480.10 was financed by taxes, grocery licenses, probate fees and other income. A photo from later in the 19th century shows 17 county officials.

    Today, Marion County has a population over 341,000, including 20 cities, 37 unincorporated communities and many rural areas.

    The county's proposed new budget, which takes effect July 1, covers more than 600 pages, totals $445.4 million and includes 1,510 employees. It incorporates an increase of nearly $3 million for the Public Employees Retirement System and employee health care. Fringe benefits are 37 percent of personnel costs.

    The county has a new courtroom to handle juvenile cases, a Public Safety Building for the sheriff's office will open in September, and the county will break ground on a new Juvenile Department building.

    Yet the county is able to keep its property tax rate stable. More money is coming in from the state's increased gas tax, federal monies to compensate for reduced timber harvests, and other sources. Only $71.3 million of the budget will come from current property taxes.

    "Our economy is moving ahead and so are our resources," Lattimer said.

    The county strives to be both cost-efficient and creative. For example, Public Works trains new employees by repaving sections of the Oregon State Fairgrounds. In return, the Marion County Fair gets free use of the grounds.

    Times and demands for services have certainly changed since the 19th century. The county no longer runs the public schools. And a significant part of next year's budget is devoted to upgrading the county's computer structure, which – by technological standards – is antiquated.

    Still, 78 percent of the Marion County general fund goes to public safety.

    "We still spend most of our dollars on law enforcement," Lattimer said. "County officials prioritized public safety in the 1800s as we do now."

    Ten sheriff's deputies will be added for patrolling unincorporated East Salem, financed by a fee on housing and property. That 5.5 square-mile urban area, which comprises the Hayesville and Four Corners neighborhoods, has a population as large as Keizer and generates a majority of the calls for Marion County Sheriff's Office services.

    Federal funding will allow the county to restore a deputy for forest patrols in the Santiam Canyon. Federal forests cover more than one-fourth of Marion County.

    Along with increasing sheriff's patrols, the county strives to prevent individuals from falling into crime. "The work we do in public safety is very much a team effort," Sheriff Jason Myers said.

    Marion County is known internationally for its innovative approaches to community policing and reducing recidivism. Transitional housing is a continuing project, because half the inmates released from incarceration have no place to call home. And the new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (LEAD) brings together the sheriff's office and social services to help low-level, repeat offenders get on a straight path and stay on it.

    The Health and Human Services Department has the most employees in the county – about 455. Public Works has the largest budget, $115.1 million.

    "We are caretakers of a $2.5 billion transportation system," Public Works Director Alan Haley said.

    The county maintains 1,118 miles of roads, 147 bridges and 28,000 signs. The department also is responsible for parks, land-use planning, waste and recycling, and other areas.

    "We're ramping up our efforts and we have some really good projects for this year," County Engineer Cindy Schmitt said.

    The same could be said throughout Marion County. ​

    The full budget is available for review on the county website at www.co.marion.or.us/FIN/budget.  

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  • Marion County celebrates 175 years of service

    Marion County celebrates 175 years of service

    Date: 5/1/2018 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Marion County 175

    ​This article appears in the May 2018 edition of the Salem Business Journal. 

    By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Wolves, grizzlies, black bears and cougars were killing livestock. People were fighting over land. A well-to-do man died without a will, so what to do with his cattle and his estate?

    Those issues drove settlers to create the first Oregon, and later Marion County, government. They met May 2, 1843 on a bluff above the Willamette River at a site we now know as Champoeg State Heritage Area. That history-deciding meeting is memorialized in a mural in the House Chamber of the Oregon State Capitol.

    Much has changed in the 175 years since that meeting, but Marion County's place as the heart of Oregon government has remained constant. And regardless of whether residents have held a minimalist or expansive view of government, they have counted on county services.

    Marion County has good reason to celebrate "175 Years of Service" throughout this year, including festivities at the Marion County Fair in July.

    The celebration also could be called "175 Years of Solutions." That first meeting along the Willamette largely dealt with an issue that reigns across Oregon today: wolves.

    Political sentiments were strong in the 19th century, as they are in the 21st century. The Champoeg vote to form a system of self-government was close, perhaps 52-50.

    That Oregon Territory Provisional Government helped create order on the frontier. Land disputes proliferated. Probate – the settling of estates – was a critical concern, crystalized by the 1841 death of former mountain man Ewing Young, a prominent financier and cattle rancher in the Chehalem Valley who died without heirs.

    What would become Marion County was a huge area, stretching east to the Rocky Mountains and south to California and Nevada. One of four districts that made up the Oregon Territory, it was called Champooick, later changed to Champoeg.

    In 1849, Champoeg County's name was changed to honor Revolutionary War Gen. Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion.

    The county gained its present boundaries in 1856 after Wasco, Polk, Linn and other counties were carved from its vast breadth. Marion County is bordered by the Willamette River and Butte Creek on the north, the Santiam River and North Fork of the Santiam on the south, the Willamette on the west and the Cascade Range on the east.

    At 1,194 square miles, Marion is comparatively small in size; relatively large in population, estimated at 341,286 last year by the U.S. Census Bureau; and undeniable in its 175 years of political, economic and educational influence.

    The oldest university in the West, Willamette University, was founded here in 1842. Salem, the county seat, became the territorial capital in 1851 and then the state capital. The Marion County Courthouse in 1857 hosted the Oregon Constitutional Convention, whose foundational charter became the basis for Oregon joining the Union as the 33rd state on Feb. 14, 1859.

    In the 1860s, the county purchased what would become the Oregon State Fairgrounds, deeding the property to the Oregon State Agriculture Society.

    Through the centuries, Marion County has remained one of the world's great agricultural regions. Generations of Native Americans lived off the land. Retired fur trappers settled into farming. Nurseries took hold. County agricultural agents provided advice. And thanks to voters in 2015, that collaboration continues with creation of the Marion County Extension and 4-H Service District.

    The state has taken over the courts, but many of the 19th and early 20th century demands for services remain: roads, ferries, land use, law enforcement, animal regulation, help for the indigent, physical and mental health treatment, veterans care and yes, tax collections to pay for those services.

    The 21st century has brought more demands and more services. But it all started with wolves.

    On May 2, 2018, 175 years after the historic vote at Champoeg, Marion County kicked off its "175 Years of Service" celebration for the remainder of 2018. There will be special festivities as part of the annual Marion County Fair, a self-guided tour of Marion County, 175 things to do in Marion County, and more. Visit www.marioncounty175.com​ for information about upcoming "175" events and activities. ​

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  • Jul
    20

    Campfires and open flames prohibited in Marion County Parks

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    Marion County Parks is prohibiting all campfires and open flames in all county parks effective July 19, 2018. The ban is in response to Gov. Brown's declaration of a fire emergency. The campfire and open flame ban includes Bear Creek Campground and all county day-use parks, and applies to wood, charcoal, and other flame sources that cannot be turned off with a valve. Gas grills or barbecues that can be turned off with a valve are still permitted, but cannot be left unattended.

    Russ Dilley, Marion County Parks Coordinator, says the ban is meant to avoid any accidental fires at county parks. "We understand this is an inconvenience for some campers and park-goers who might feel this is unnecessary, but the fire danger is extremely high right now and our primary focus is on the protection of both our park property and visitors," said Dilley. "We appreciate the public's cooperation with the ban and assistance in keeping our parks safe."

    It is unclear how long the fire ban is expected to be in place, but will be evaluated based on weather, resource conditions and input from Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and other state and local fire officials.

    Visitors planning a trip to a Marion County park should check for up-to-date information about fire restrictions by going to http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx, emailing parks@co.marion.or.us, or calling 503-588-5036.

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    Campfires and open flames prohibited in Marion County Parks
  • Jul
    13

    Low cost vaccinations and dog license clinic offered

    Posted by: Community Services - Dog Services

    ​Marion County Dog Services is partnering with Willamette Humane Society to host a low cost vaccination clinic and dog licensing event on Saturday, July 28, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Willamette Humane Society, 4246 Turner Rd. SE, Salem. Dog Services will waive late fees and other license violations for dog owners who purchase a license at the event.

    Community Services Director Tamra Goettsch said, "Dog licensing is an essential part of animal care in Marion County. In addition to helping return lost dogs back to their families, licensing ensures that dogs' vaccinations are up to date."

    Rabies vaccinations are $10 and DHPP $15. Other services include $10 nail trims and $15 microchips. Veterinarian exam fee will be waived with purchase of a new, renewing, or verification of active license; otherwise the fee is $20.

    Dog Licenses are $17 per year for neutered or spayed dogs and $32 for unaltered dogs. The license fee for spayed or neutered dogs owned by seniors 65 or older is $5 per year. Proof of neutering or spaying must be provided for the reduced license fee and proof of owner's age is needed to receive the senior discount. Multi-year licenses are also available. Dogs must be on leashes or in carriers. This is also an opportunity to verify and update owner contact information and order a replacement tag if needed.

    Please bring cash or check only. 

    All owners and keepers of dogs in Marion County are required by law to purchase a license when a dog reaches six months of age. Licenses are also required within 30 days of becoming a dog owner or moving into Marion County with a dog.

    The Marion County Dog Shelter is located at 3550 Aumsville Hwy. SE, Salem. For hours of operation and information about licensing and other Dog Services programs, visit www.mcdogs.net, call (503) 588-5233, or email dog@co.marion.or.us.  Adoptable dogs are regularly featured on the shelter's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/marioncounty.dogshelter/

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    Low cost vaccinations and dog license clinic offered
  • Jun
    25

    Scotts Mills Park is now open for the season

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    Marion County parks staff has announced that Scotts Mills Park has opened for the season. The park's opening has been delayed while work crews expanded and paved the parking lot. Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, said "Scotts Mills Park is one of our most popular parks and we're happy to be able to open it with enhanced parking for parkgoers."

    Scotts Mills Park is located off Crooked Finger Road along Butte Creek and is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.

    For more information, contact Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, at (503) 588-5036 or at rdilley@co.marion.or.us, or visit our website at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx.    

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    Scotts Mills Park is now open for the season
  • Jun
    23

    DEPUTIES INVESTIGATING SUSPICIOUS DEATH (LYONS) (PHOTO)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    Today at 2:20 p.m., deputies were called to the 20000 block of Fern Ridge Road SE near Lyons after a man was found dead in a pond near his residence. Detectives have been called to the scene to investigate as the circumstances surrounding the man’s death are suspicious.

    It is very early in this investigation and no additional information will be made available until an autopsy can be performed, that time frame is not yet known. The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have been in the area and saw anything suspicious to please call our tip line at 503 540 8079.

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503.930.0579
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
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    DEPUTIES INVESTIGATING SUSPICIOUS DEATH (LYONS) (PHOTO)
  • Jun
    22

    FY 2018-19 county budget highlights community investments

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​Law enforcement. Roads and bridges. Help for the needy.

    Those were budget priorities for Marion County in the 1800s, and they remain so today.

    County commissioners on Wednesday, June 27, approved a 2018-19 budget that increases sheriff's patrols, improves roads and bridges, and reduces homelessness.

    In presenting the budget, Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer showed the county's 1863 budget document. Hand-written on one page, it included money for the county commissioners, sheriff, jail, prosecuting attorney, road supervisor, bridges and "support for paupers."​

    "We've come a long way since then, but we still spend our money on similar things and similar concerns," Lattimer told the county budget committee, which comprises the three county commissioners and three public members.

    The 1863 budget of $12,480.10 was financed by taxes, grocery licenses, probate fees and other income. A photo from later in the 19th century shows 17 county officials.

    Today, Marion County has a population over 341,000, including 20 cities, 37 unincorporated communities and many rural areas.

    The county's proposed new budget, which takes effect July 1, covers more than 600 pages, totals $445.4 million and includes 1,510 employees. It incorporates an increase of nearly $3 million for the Public Employees Retirement System and employee health care. Fringe benefits are 37 percent of personnel costs.

    The county has a new courtroom to handle juvenile cases, a Public Safety Building for the sheriff's office will open in September, and the county will break ground on a new Juvenile Department building.

    Yet the county is able to keep its property tax rate stable. More money is coming in from the state's increased gas tax, federal monies to compensate for reduced timber harvests, and other sources. Only $71.3 million of the budget will come from current property taxes.

    "Our economy is moving ahead and so are our resources," Lattimer said.

    The county strives to be both cost-efficient and creative. For example, Public Works trains new employees by repaving sections of the Oregon State Fairgrounds. In return, the Marion County Fair gets free use of the grounds.

    Times and demands for services have certainly changed since the 19th century. The county no longer runs the public schools. And a significant part of next year's budget is devoted to upgrading the county's computer structure, which – by technological standards – is antiquated.

    Still, 78 percent of the Marion County general fund goes to public safety.

    "We still spend most of our dollars on law enforcement," Lattimer said. "County officials prioritized public safety in the 1800s as we do now."

    Ten sheriff's deputies will be added for patrolling unincorporated East Salem, financed by a fee on housing and property. That 5.5 square-mile urban area, which comprises the Hayesville and Four Corners neighborhoods, has a population as large as Keizer and generates a majority of the calls for Marion County Sheriff's Office services.

    Federal funding will allow the county to restore a deputy for forest patrols in the Santiam Canyon. Federal forests cover more than one-fourth of Marion County.

    Along with increasing sheriff's patrols, the county strives to prevent individuals from falling into crime. "The work we do in public safety is very much a team effort," Sheriff Jason Myers said.

    Marion County is known internationally for its innovative approaches to community policing and reducing recidivism. Transitional housing is a continuing project, because half the inmates released from incarceration have no place to call home. And the new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (LEAD) brings together the sheriff's office and social services to help low-level, repeat offenders get on a straight path and stay on it.

    The Health and Human Services Department has the most employees in the county – about 455. Public Works has the largest budget, $115.1 million.

    "We are caretakers of a $2.5 billion transportation system," Public Works Director Alan Haley said.

    The county maintains 1,118 miles of roads, 147 bridges and 28,000 signs. The department also is responsible for parks, land-use planning, waste and recycling, and other areas.

    "We're ramping up our efforts and we have some really good projects for this year," County Engineer Cindy Schmitt said.

    The same could be said throughout Marion County. ​

    The full budget is available for review on the county website at www.co.marion.or.us/FIN/budget.  

    Read More
    FY 2018-19 county budget highlights community investments
  • Jun
    21

    SEX OFFENDER NOTIFICATION (PHOTO)

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    News Release from Marion Co. Sheriff's Office
    Posted on FlashAlert: June 21st, 2018 2:25 PM

    DATE: 6/15/18

    Marion County Sheriff’s Office is releasing the following information pursuant to ORS181.507, OAR 291-28-30, which authorizes Parole and Probation to inform the public when the release of information will enhance public safety and protection.

    The individual who appears on this notification has been convicted of a sex offense that requires registration with the Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, this person’s criminal history places them in a classification level which reflects the potential to re-offend. This notification is not intended to increase fear; rather, it is our belief that an informed public is a safer public.

    NAME: William Blizzard

    SID#: 11749027

    DOB: 7/22/1977

    CURRENT AGE: 40

    RACE: WHITE SEX: MALE

    HEIGHT: 6’2” WEIGHT: 190 lbs

    HAIR: BROWN EYES: BLU

    RESIDENCE: 2178 State Street #2

    Salem, OR 97301

    William Blizzard is on Post Prison Supervision for the crimes of: SODO I, INCEST, UNLAWFUL USE OF VEHICLE AND MAIL THEFT

    This person was granted supervision on: 2/16/2012

    Supervision expiration date is: 10/10/2023

    Special restrictions include:

    [X] No contact with minors (male/female)

    [X] Sex offender treatment

    [X] Submit to polygraph

    Other: Blizzard’s victim pool includes adult males and females known to him.

    Contact Info:
    Primary PIO Phone: 503. 584. MCSO (6276)
    Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Baldridge
    Cell Phone: 503.930.0579
    Email: cbaldridge@co.marion.or.us
    On Twitter: @MCSOInTheKnow
    www.Facebook.com/MCSOInTheKnow
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    SEX OFFENDER NOTIFICATION (PHOTO)
  • Jun
    19

    Cougar sighting near Salmon Falls Park

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​MEHAMA, OR – Shortly after noon today a Marion County road crew spotted a cougar on North Fork Road approximately one mile west of Salmon Falls Park. The Marion County Sheriff's Office and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) have been notified.

    Parks staff wants to remind everyone who visits Salmon Falls Park or the surrounding area to remain cautious and vigilant.  We recommend extra caution while using parks and trails and refrain from being alone in those areas.  Cougars are typically most active from dusk to dawn, although they sometimes travel and hunt during the day and prey on local species such as deer, rabbits, coyotes, small rodents and occasionally pets and livestock. 

    There are emergency phones located at the entrance of Salmon Falls Park and at Elkhorn Fire Department. Anyone who observes a cougar is urged to call 9-1-1 to report it immediately.

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    Cougar sighting near Salmon Falls Park
  • Jun
    13

    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to Close for Bridge Replacement

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​JEFFERSON, OR – Beginning Monday, June 18, 2018, Jefferson-Marion Road SE will be closed immediately south of Pletzer Road SE to replace the existing bridge spanning Marion Creek. The road closure is located between Parrish Gap Road and the City of Marion and will last approximately 10 weeks. Access to Pletzer Road will remain open at all times from Jefferson-Marion Road. Jefferson-Marion Road is scheduled to reopen by August 24, 2018.

    During this time a signed detour utilizing Parrish Gap Road SE, Hunsacker Road SE and Marion Road will be in place. Expect increased traffic on signed and unsigned detour routes in the area. Please obey posted road closure and detour signs and be considerate of farm equipment and bicyclist in the area.

    For more information, contact Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician, or Bob Pankratz, Project Engineer, at 503-588-5036 or constructionprojects@co.marion.or.us.

    Read More
    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to Close for Bridge Replacement
  • Jun
    1

    Boones Ferry Road NE and Donald Road NE to close for the Senecal Creek Bridge Repair Project

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​On June 7, 2018, Marion County's contractor, Roy Houck Construction LLC, will begin construction for the repair and resurfacing of the Senecal Creek Bridge on Boones Ferry Road NE.  Boones Ferry Road will be closed to through traffic between Grim Road and Ehlen Road and Donald Road will be closed to through traffic between Grim Road and Boones Ferry Road between June 4 and June 21.  Roy Houck Construction will remove the pavement on the bridge and approaches and Marion County crews will repair the bridge. Once the bridge repairs are completed, the contractor will pave the bridge and approaches. 

    During the closure of Boones Ferry Road and Donald Road a detour will be in place utilizing Grim Road, Highway 99E, Highway 551, and Ehlen Road.  Detour signs will be posted to guide motorists through the detour. Please be aware of increased traffic volumes on the detour route, comply with all posted traffic signs and safety warnings, and be considerate of bicyclists and farm equipment on the road.

    Marion County understands the work will be disruptive and will make every effort to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you have any questions please contact Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician, at 503-588-5036 or jogden@co.marion.or.us or Dave Chamness, Project Engineer, at 503-588-7919 or dchamness@co.marion.or.us.

    Read More
    Boones Ferry Road NE and Donald Road NE to close for the Senecal Creek Bridge Repair Project
  • Jun
    1

    Sheriff's Office participates in cross-cultural exchange

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    This article appears in the June 2018 edition of the Salem Business Journal. 

    ​The Marion County Sheriff's Office is helping former Soviet republics modernize their police departments. They have hosted, and visited, professionals from the countries of Georgia and Ukraine as part of a cross-cultural exchange arranged through the American Councils for International Education based in Washington D.C. 

    Participants spend four weeks with the host agency and submit a project to implement in their own country, based on what they learned. The council reviews the projects and selects four to five, out of about 30 submitted, for funding by the U.S. State Department.

    A policymaker from Georgia job-shadowed Commander Sheila Lorance at the MCSO last fall, Lorance visited Georgia in April to make presentations on community policing, and a Ukrainian analyst has been at the sheriff's office for several weeks this spring.

    In Tbilisi, Georgia, Lorance presented at the National Police Academy, Tbilisi State University, and American Corners which is a part of the American Embassy. She said, "They're trying to implement changes in policing to gain public trust and really improve the image of their police force."

    Ukraine and Georgia were part of the Soviet Union, which broke up in the early 1990s. Their law enforcement is highly centralized, with little outside oversight by civilians. At Georgia's national police academy, Lorance encouraged officers to get out of their patrol cars – to engage the public instead of being seen only as enforcers and interrogators. She encouraged them to start with small steps and not expect overnight transformation. 

    For Lorance, this was an opportunity to compare law enforcement among countries. She said she returned from Georgia with an even greater appreciation for the sheriff's office values:  "Our community engagement – including the community we serve. Our transparency – if we make a mistake, we own it. It really reinforced for me that we're headed in the right direction. Even with the sometimes negative press law enforcement receives, our community supports us."

    Lorance indicated her favorite presentation was with the American Corners youth and community members. "You could see they really wanted the change, especially the high school kids. You could see hope in their eyes and it was so encouraging."  She said, "One kid stood up and said, 'Wow, you're doing it right in the United States. That's the way we should be doing it.'"

    Both Teona Surmava, last fall's visiting policymaker from Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Levgen Vorobiov, a national analytical officer with the European Union Advisory Mission, were surprised that Marion County residents elect their sheriff. "It's democracy in action, democracy in law enforcement," Vorobiov said.

    Vorobiov came to Marion County this spring to learn about instilling integrity and civilian oversight in law enforcement. The organization for which he works is helping Ukraine reform its law enforcement and judicial system, which has a history of human-rights violations and public mistrust.

    "It's been a great experience, professionally and personally," said Vorobiov, who on his non-work days has explored Oregon's "stunning" natural beauty.

    At the MCSO, Lorance commands the Operations Division, which provides administrative support for the other divisions and handles community resources, volunteer programs and cadets, as well as courthouse security and other functions.

    After 30 years with the sheriff's office, Lorance will retire July 31 with her Georgia exchange among her career highlights.​

    Read More
    Sheriff's Office participates in cross-cultural exchange
  • May
    29

    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to close for bridge replacement

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​On June 4, 2018, construction will begin to replace the existing Marion Creek Bridge on Jefferson-Marion Road SE between Parrish Gap Road SE and the City of Marion. Daytime traffic will experience intermittent flagged lane closures from June 4 through June 15 to allow the contractor to perform preparatory work. Beginning June 18, Jefferson-Marion Road will be closed for approximately 10 weeks at Marion Creek to allow the contractor to remove and replace the existing bridge.

    During the road closure, a detour will be in place utilizing Parrish Gap Road, Hunsacker Road SE, and Marion Road SE. Please be aware of increased traffic on the detour route, heed all posted road closure and detour signs, and be considerate of bicyclists and farm equipment on the road. Road work associated with the bridge replacement is expected to be completed by September 6, 2018.

    For more information, contact Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician, or Bob Pankratz, Project Engineer, at 503-588-5036.

    Read More
    Portion of Jefferson-Marion Road SE to close for bridge replacement
  • May
    23

    Portion of Champoeg Road to Close for Culvert Repair

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​Beginning Wednesday, May 30, Champoeg Road will be closed at Skookum Creek to repair the existing culvert at that location. The road closure is expected to last approximately five weeks.

    The project site, which is located on Champoeg Road between OR219 and Riverside Drive NE, will utilize Ray Bell Road NE west of OR219 and east of Riverside Drive as detour routes during this time. Champoeg Road is expected to reopen on June 29.

    During this time motorists are asked to please heed all posted road closure and detour signs.

    For more information, contact Jill Ogden, Engineering Technician Sr., or Steve Preszler, Project Engineer at 503-588-5036, or email capitalprojects@co.marion.or.us.  

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    Portion of Champoeg Road to Close for Culvert Repair
  • May
    22

    Marion County announces that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​Marion County parks staff has announced that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open for the season. The park's opening has been delayed due because temporary staff had not been hired for the 2018 season before May 1. Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, said "Bear Creek Park & Campground is one of our most popular parks in the North Fork Corridor and we're happy to be able to open it before Memorial Day Weekend." He added, "Parking fee stations are also open now, so visitors who park in any of the county parks in the North Fork Corridor or along the road on North Fork Road will be required to pay the $5 daily parking fee." Fee stations are located in Bear Creek, North Fork and Salmon Falls parks and along North Fork Road, and $30 annual parking passes are also available to purchase at Marion County Public Works.

    Other Marion County parks along the North Fork of the Santiam River that have already opened for the season include North Fork and Salmon Falls parks.

    Scotts Mills Park is still closed so the parking lot can be repaved, which must be done in warm, dry weather. The park will open for the season once this work is completed.

    For more information, contact Russ Dilley, parks coordinator, at (503) 588-5036 or at rdilley@co.marion.or.us.

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    Marion County announces that Bear Creek Park & Campground is now open
  • May
    1

    County gives water safety reminders as seasonal parks open

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Even first responders and expert swimmers gasp when they venture into Oregon's snow-fed streams, rivers and lakes at this time of year.

    "The best description everybody says is, 'I jumped in the water and it immediately took my breath away,'" said Marion County Deputy Sheriff Dave Zahn.

    As more Marion County parks open to the public on May 1, first responders are urging Oregonians to be wary around the water.

    "May's water conditions are frigid," said Marion County Sheriff's Sgt. Matt Wilkinson. And when it's hot outside, "Everyone runs to the river to cool off."

    "The water is pure snowmelt. For even the strongest swimmers, it can shock them and cramp their muscles and cause them to drown."

    Deputy Zahn uses this exercise to teach children about the escalating effects of cold water: Put nuts and bolts in a bucket of ice water. Try to put the nuts and bolts together while keeping your hands in the water. Within minutes, the task becomes increasingly harder as your hands lose dexterity and the cold zaps your strength.

    Every year, Marion County experiences one or two drownings and several near-drownings. That is why it's important to always swim with a buddy, use life jackets and make an emergency plan before you start your outing. Being well-prepared makes it less likely that something will go wrong and increases your survival chances if something does.

    Parks open to public

    Among the Marion County parks opening May 1 are ones on the Little North Fork of the Santiam River and on the North Santiam itself: Minto, Niagara, North Fork and Salmon Falls. Bear Creek Park and Campground will open later in May.

    Also opening are Aumsville Ponds on Bates Road SE near Aumsville; Bonesteele Park on Aumsville Highway SE; Spong's Landing on the Willamette River north of Keizer; and Scotts Mills Park.

    Open year-round are Packsaddle Park on the North Santiam; Rogers Wayside near Silverton; and Auburn, Denny, Eola Bend, Joryville, Labish Village and Parkdale parks in the Salem area.

    Cold water even on hot days

    "Spring rivers are cold," said Josh Weathers, recreation manager for the Detroit and Sweet Home ranger districts of the Willamette National Forest. "A lot of people seem to forget that."

    The North Santiam River never warms up, because it's fed by water from the bottom of Detroit Lake. At this time of year, even the Willamette and Columbia rivers are relatively cold.

    Cold water can cause shock in one minute and incapacitate a person within 10 minutes.

    Plan for the unexpected

    On hot days, many popular cooling-off spots are out of cell-phone range, which underscores the importance of having a safety plan. Emergency phones are located on North Fork Road at the entrance of Salmon Falls Park and at the Elkhorn Fire Department, 32788 North Fork Road SE, Lyons.

    Deputy Zahn said to think ahead for how you'll handle a water emergency. If someone is struggling, don't jump in unless you're trained in life saving and an expert swimmer; otherwise, the person could pull you under. Unfortunately, the would-be rescuer often is who drowns.

    Instead, Zahn said, remember to "Reach, Row or Throw." Reach out to the struggling person with a long stick or pole, row to the person if you're in a boat, or throw something – even an empty, closed cooler – that a person can use to stay afloat.

    As for life jackets, think of them like bike helmets. You might think they don't look cool, but they can save your life – and there's never time at the last moment to put them on. Wear them when you're around water, including boating – especially if you're not a strong swimmer and in excellent shape.

    "Last year was one of our deadliest summers," Sgt. Wilkinson said. "Taking these precautions could save a life."​


    WATER SAFETY TIPS

    • Remember that you're in the outdoors. If you were hiking in Oregon, you would never go alone. You would always make an emergency plan, inform friends and family, and follow that plan. Treat water outings the same way, including always swimming with a buddy.
    • Keep a constant eye on children, even if they are a distance from the water.
    • Life jackets are a good idea for everyone and especially for inexperienced, weak or non-swimmers. Wearing a life jacket while in or on the water is as important as wearing a seat belt while driving in a car or wearing a helmet while riding your bike or motorcycle. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning is the leading cause of death in nearly 75 percent of boating related fatalities and 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
    • Choose swimming areas carefully, and heed "No swimming" signs.
    • These are natural creeks and rivers, with constantly changing conditions, which means wading is less exciting but far safer than jumping or diving. Don't jump into water unless you can clearly see the bottom, have measured the depth and have ensured there are no obstacles.
    • Never wade or swim upstream of a waterfall or rapids.
    • River banks, logs and rocks may be slippery at any time of year.
    • Keep an eye upstream for logs and other debris. Swift currents can send rocks tumbling along the river bottom as well.
    • The U.S. Forest Service advises: "If you fall into fast-moving water, do not try to stand up. The force of the water will push you over and hold you under. Most drownings result from getting a leg or ankle caught in an underwater rock ledge, between boulders or snagged in tree limbs or other debris. (Lie) on your back with your feet pointing downstream and toes pointing up toward the surface. Always look downstream and be prepared to fend off rocks with your feet."
    • Stay hydrated and use sunblock.
    • Learn CPR, hope you never have to use it, but be prepared in case you do.

    Parking

    Reminder: Park legally so you can focus on your activities instead of worrying about being cited (or towed).

    There is a $5 daily parking fee along North Fork Road and in Marion County parks accessed from North Fork Road, including North Fork Park, Salmon Falls Park, Bear Creek Park day use parking and Lomker's Bridge day use area. Fee stations are along the road. A $30 North Fork Corridor Annual Parking Pass also can be purchased at a fee station or from Marion County Public Works.

    Sources: Marion County Sheriff's Office, Marion County Public Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, Safe Kids Oregon, Washington State Parks Boating Program

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    County gives water safety reminders as seasonal parks open
  • May
    1

    Marion County celebrates 175 years of service

    Posted by: Marion County 175

    ​This article appears in the May 2018 edition of the Salem Business Journal. 

    By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Wolves, grizzlies, black bears and cougars were killing livestock. People were fighting over land. A well-to-do man died without a will, so what to do with his cattle and his estate?

    Those issues drove settlers to create the first Oregon, and later Marion County, government. They met May 2, 1843 on a bluff above the Willamette River at a site we now know as Champoeg State Heritage Area. That history-deciding meeting is memorialized in a mural in the House Chamber of the Oregon State Capitol.

    Much has changed in the 175 years since that meeting, but Marion County's place as the heart of Oregon government has remained constant. And regardless of whether residents have held a minimalist or expansive view of government, they have counted on county services.

    Marion County has good reason to celebrate "175 Years of Service" throughout this year, including festivities at the Marion County Fair in July.

    The celebration also could be called "175 Years of Solutions." That first meeting along the Willamette largely dealt with an issue that reigns across Oregon today: wolves.

    Political sentiments were strong in the 19th century, as they are in the 21st century. The Champoeg vote to form a system of self-government was close, perhaps 52-50.

    That Oregon Territory Provisional Government helped create order on the frontier. Land disputes proliferated. Probate – the settling of estates – was a critical concern, crystalized by the 1841 death of former mountain man Ewing Young, a prominent financier and cattle rancher in the Chehalem Valley who died without heirs.

    What would become Marion County was a huge area, stretching east to the Rocky Mountains and south to California and Nevada. One of four districts that made up the Oregon Territory, it was called Champooick, later changed to Champoeg.

    In 1849, Champoeg County's name was changed to honor Revolutionary War Gen. Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion.

    The county gained its present boundaries in 1856 after Wasco, Polk, Linn and other counties were carved from its vast breadth. Marion County is bordered by the Willamette River and Butte Creek on the north, the Santiam River and North Fork of the Santiam on the south, the Willamette on the west and the Cascade Range on the east.

    At 1,194 square miles, Marion is comparatively small in size; relatively large in population, estimated at 341,286 last year by the U.S. Census Bureau; and undeniable in its 175 years of political, economic and educational influence.

    The oldest university in the West, Willamette University, was founded here in 1842. Salem, the county seat, became the territorial capital in 1851 and then the state capital. The Marion County Courthouse in 1857 hosted the Oregon Constitutional Convention, whose foundational charter became the basis for Oregon joining the Union as the 33rd state on Feb. 14, 1859.

    In the 1860s, the county purchased what would become the Oregon State Fairgrounds, deeding the property to the Oregon State Agriculture Society.

    Through the centuries, Marion County has remained one of the world's great agricultural regions. Generations of Native Americans lived off the land. Retired fur trappers settled into farming. Nurseries took hold. County agricultural agents provided advice. And thanks to voters in 2015, that collaboration continues with creation of the Marion County Extension and 4-H Service District.

    The state has taken over the courts, but many of the 19th and early 20th century demands for services remain: roads, ferries, land use, law enforcement, animal regulation, help for the indigent, physical and mental health treatment, veterans care and yes, tax collections to pay for those services.

    The 21st century has brought more demands and more services. But it all started with wolves.

    On May 2, 2018, 175 years after the historic vote at Champoeg, Marion County kicked off its "175 Years of Service" celebration for the remainder of 2018. There will be special festivities as part of the annual Marion County Fair, a self-guided tour of Marion County, 175 things to do in Marion County, and more. Visit www.marioncounty175.com​ for information about upcoming "175" events and activities. ​

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    Marion County celebrates 175 years of service
  • Apr
    30

    County to hold board session at Champoeg

    Posted by: Marion County 175

    ​In anticipation of the 175th anniversary of the founding of Marion County, the Board of Commissioners will hold its regular board session at the Champoeg Visitor Center on May 2, 2018. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and the public is encouraged to attend. The visitor center is located at 8239 Champoeg Road NE, St. Paul, inside the Champoeg State Heritage Area State Park. 

    The meeting will include historical presentations featuring Champoeg State Visitor Center Park Manager John Mullen; Native American Historian David G. Lewis, Phd; Greg Leo from the Friends of Historic Butteville; and a special appearance by historical interpreter Michael Tieman from the Oregon Society Sons of the American Revolution as Gen. Francis Marion.

    May 2, 2018, marks the 175th anniversary of the historic vote at Champoeg on the formation of Oregon's first provisional government on May 2, 1843. Two months later on July 5, 1843, the Oregon Territory Provisional Government was formally established and divided into four districts including Tuality, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Champooick, which was later renamed Champoeg and finally designated as Marion County in 1849.

    The board session kicks off Marion County's "175 Years of Service" celebration for the remainder of 2018. The county is planning special festivities as part of the annual Marion County Fair, a self-guided tour of Marion County, 175 things to do in Marion County in partnership with Travel Salem, and more.

    For more information, contact Jolene Kelley, Public Information Officer, at (503) 566-3937 or email jkelley@co.marion.or.us. ​

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    County to hold board session at Champoeg
  • Apr
    23

    Marion County Announces Seasonal Park Openings

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    Marion County announces that its seasonal parks, which include Bear Creek Park and Campground, will open on May 1 for the 2018 summer recreational season.

    Parks Coordinator Russ Dilley said, "We're looking forward to another busy summer at Marion County's parks. We've added seasonal staff to keep parks ready for visitors, and we're reminding visitors to be mindful of county park rules including bans on alcohol, smoking and glass containers, as well as the new parking fees along the North Fork corridor."  

    North Fork corridor parks
    Bear Creek Park and Campground will open on May 1. The park is a 15-acre campground located between the Bureau of Land Management's Canyon Creek and Elkhorn Valley parks on North Fork Road. Bear Creek Park also provides day use access to the Little North Fork Santiam River. The park has 15 first-come, first-served camp sites and costs $14 per night with a 14-night maximum stay. Each of the camping sites has picnic tables and fire pits and accommodates one vehicle. A $5 fee applies to each additional vehicle. Campsite check-in is 4 p.m. and check out is 1 p.m. on the day of departure. The day use portion of the park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    North Fork and Salmon Falls parks also open on May 1. Both parks provide access to the Little North Fork Santiam River, include restrooms and picnic facilities, and are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Two emergency phones are now operational in areas where cell phone coverage is either unavailable or unreliable. One phone is located at the entrance to Salmon Falls Park and one phone is located at the Elkhorn Valley Fire Station. Both phones connect directly to 9-1-1.

    In 2017, Marion County instituted a $5 daily parking fee for all vehicles that park on the side of North Fork Road and in county parks accessed from North Fork Road, including North Fork Park, Salmon Falls Park, Bear Creek Park day use parking and Lomker's Bridge day use area. Parking fee stations along North Fork Road and in each park will be available for use in May. Fees can be paid using cash or check. A $30 annual parking pass is also available, which will allow unlimited daily parking for one vehicle along North Fork Road and in Marion County North Fork corridor parks. Annual passes can be purchased at any of the parking fee stations or at Marion County Public Works, Building 1, 5155 Silverton Road NE in Salem.

    Scotts Mills Park
    Scotts Mills Park will not open on May 1 due to scheduled maintenance. The parking lot is being repaved and will open for the season once that work is completed.

    Other Seasonal Parks
    Other seasonal Marion County parks that open to the public on May 1 include:

    • Aumsville Ponds on Bates Road SE near Aumsville;

    • Bonesteele Park on Aumsville Hwy SE;

    • Spong's Landing on the Willamette River north of Keizer; and,

    • Minto and Niagara parks along the Santiam River.

    These parks are open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset.

    The following Marion County parks are open and available for public use year-round:

    • Salem area - Auburn, Denny, Eola Bend, Joryville, Labish Village, and Parkdale;

    • Near Silverton - Rogers Wayside; and

    • Along the North Santiam River – Packsaddle

    St. Louis Fish Ponds, west of Gervais, opened for the season on March 1.

    Marion County has a first-come, first-served policy for all county parks and park amenities. Reservations are not accepted. Parking permits are only required at the county's North Fork corridor parks and for parking along North Fork Road. Parking at all other county parks is free.

    ​Safety
    Marion County reminds park visitors that the following safety rules apply:

    • Alcohol, glass containers and smoking are prohibited in all county parks.

    • Outdoor cooking fires must be in a fireplace, barbecue pit or camp stove, and used safely in designated picnic or cooking areas. During fire season, only portable gas barbecues and camp stoves may be used.

    • Fires must be attended at all times in county parks. Completely extinguish all fires until cold to the touch and comply with all seasonal fire restrictions.

    • Discharge of firearms, ammunition, fireworks and other types of explosives are also prohibited in county parks.

    For more information about county parks, including descriptions, locations and available amenities, visit the Marion County Parks website at www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks or call (503) 588-5036.

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    Marion County Announces Seasonal Park Openings
  • Apr
    20

    Volunteers recognized for service to Marion County

    Posted by: Business Services

    ​More than 131,000 hours with a value of $2.9 million – these are the 2017 contributions of Marion County's almost 3,200 volunteers. The Board of Commissioners celebrated the dedicated efforts of county volunteers on April 18 in honor of National Volunteer Week.

    Please join us in congratulating our 2018 volunteer award recipients: 

    Youth Volunteer – McKenzie Kress

    McKenzie Kress has volunteered in the Law Library since 2017. In addition to everyday duties of shelving, labeling, and sorting books, McKenzie also assisted with updating online catalog records and web page content to help customers access information more efficiently. McKenzie is an honors student and also volunteers at Salem Hospital.

    Advisory Board Volunteer – Don Frederickson, Mark Callier, Pete McCallum, and Ed McKenney    

    All four nominees are longtime citizen members of the Marion County Public Safety Coordinating Council. This 32-member council advises the Board of Commissioners on numerous public safety issues. Public safety policy recommendations made by the council affect all members of the community, from victims of crime to those involved in the criminal justice system. Through their diverse backgrounds and community volunteer experience these four council members have brought vital insights to community public safety issues.

    Program Award – Shirley Williams

    Shirley Williams is a longtime volunteer with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Shirley began her volunteer service with the Sheriff's Office as a reserve deputy – a position she held for 17 years. She continued her volunteer work serving on both the Disabled Parking and Radar Enforcement teams and has since moved to administrative assignments. She currently serves in the parole and probation division.

    Mary Pearmine Outstanding Volunteer Group – Solid Waste Management Advisory Council (SWMAC)

    This award is in honor of the late Mary Pearmine who served as a commissioner from 1991 to 1998.

    The Solid Waste Management Advisory Council is a diverse group of dedicated volunteers, all interested in improving Marion County's solid waste system. The council supports and makes recommendations on the county's goal of prioritizing waste reduction, reuse and recycling, and recovering energy from the material that remains.  Over the last few years, SWMAC volunteers have provided expertise and insight on challenges facing the solid waste industry and have been asked to analyze and understand complex information. There are continuing issues the group will continue to explore in the upcoming year.

    Judge Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year – Charlie Goodman

    This is award is honor of late Rex Hartley who served as a county judge and commissioner from 1951 to 1966.

    When Charlie Goodman retired from the Marion County Juvenile Department, his service to the youth in our community didn't end. Charlie contributed more than 300 hours to the alternative programs last year. He has served in several program areas including providing wood for low income seniors and disabled residents of the county. He has also provided yard maintenance and designs and donates products for the Fresh Start Market. We appreciate his continued commitment to the Juvenile Department and working to continuously improve programs for youth.

    These are just a few of Marion County's volunteers and volunteer opportunities. In addition to these special awards, we appreciate the time and talents each of our volunteers contribute to enhance our programs and services. Volunteer positions are varied; there is something for everyone!

    For a list of current volunteer opportunities or to learn more about Marion County's volunteer program, contact Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Miller at (503) 588-7990, email volunteer@co.marion.or.us or visit the volunteer website​ ​

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    Volunteers recognized for service to Marion County
  • Apr
    2

    Creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    This article appears in the April 2018 edition (page 25) of the Salem Business Journal. ​

    ​By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Don Gay was focused on his tasks, reluctant even to pause for a photograph or quick conversation.

    It was the lunch-hour rush at an Arby's restaurant in Salem. Don was wiping down the tables and chairs, clearing away the trash and keeping the customer area clean.

    "Good job. Makes me happy," Don said.

    Don Gay, 51, is among the more than 2,900 Marion County residents who experience an intellectual or developmental disability – I/DD.

    Like Don, many want to work; to earn a paycheck, even when it's only a few hours a week; and to have the sense of pride, accomplishment and self-worth that comes from having a job.

    "The clients are so happy when they find a job. They just glow," said Betty Fennell, who is part of the Job Development Team for Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette. "It's amazing how much they can do when given a chance."

    Under the state's Employment First policy, Oregon has shifted from employment in sheltered workshops to jobs in the larger community where they can earn the minimum wage or more.

    It can be challenging to find enough employers who recognize why hiring such individuals is good for business. This is one reason why the Marion County Board of Commissioners proclaimed March 2018 as "Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

    More than 300 individuals with I/DD receiving services from Marion County are employed in the community, according to Program Manager Corissa Neufeldt. More would like to.

    "We're hoping people will realize we have an untapped workforce," Neufeldt said. "This is not charity."

    They are stable employees, not looking to move on to the next job. They can find enjoyment in repetitive tasks that other workers find boring, such as copying paperwork in an office, folding towels and napkins or, in Don's case, keeping a restaurant tidy. That frees their co-workers for other tasks.

    People with I/DD don't necessarily fit traditional job descriptions. The key is creating a niche that benefits both the employee and the employer: "Looking at employment in creative ways that meet business needs and also our clients' needs," Neufeldt said. "We've seen many success stories in our community and encourage businesses to consider employing people who experience an intellectual or developmental disability."

    The clients' participation in the workplace often improves workplace morale. In addition, customers see the business as empathetic, which enhances its reputation.

    Betty helped Don find his job, and Goodwill provides his job coach, Tim Kronser.

    Job coaches help the employee and the employer adapt and work through any obstacles that come up. The coaches make sure the employee learns, understands and follows the job tasks.

    "After that, it's letting Don be as independent as he can be," said Tim, whose goal is to gradually fade into the background.

    As with any restaurant employee, Don must follow strict cleanliness and safety standards. Tim worked with Don to obtain his food-handler card, and he is at Arby's for each of Don's two-hour shifts.

    Don, who lives in an adult foster care home in Salem, takes CherryLift to and from work. Wearing his Arby's apron, cap and nametag, he always arrives early so he has time to get ready.

    The staff notices his dependability and timeliness.

    "He just keeps busy. All the tables are beautiful. All the chairs are beautiful. He details the backs of the chairs and everything," Arby's shift manager Bernice Schwartz said. 

    "We all like him."

    For more information about Marion County's Intellectual and Developmental Disability program or to inquire about offering employment opportunities for I/DD individuals, please contact Corissa Neufeldt at (503) 763-5787 or cneufeldt@co.marion.or.us. ​

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    Creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities
  • Mar
    15

    Commissioners seek solutions for rural solar farms

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​Proponents and opponents of photovoltaic solar arrays, or solar farms, filled the Senator Hearing Room Wednesday to express opinions on potential changes to the county's Rural Zone Code. Following yesterday's public hearing, staff will work with the Marion County Planning Commission to gather stakeholders from both sides to come up with proposals to regulate solar farms to protect the Willamette Valley's high-value farmland. The commissioners placed a moratorium on solar farm applications until new standards are proposed.

    Marion County began receiving conditional use applications to site photovoltaic solar power facilities in farm zones in 2015. To date, the county has approved 17 sites covering 205 acres. All but one of these sites is composed primarily of high-value farm soils.  People contacted the county with concerns about allowing solar farms on properties that are actively being farmed, particularly farms with higher quality soils. In response, the commissioners are considering additional standards.

    Several people who testified at the hearing requested a work group to revisit the proposed standards. After the ordinance imposing the moratorium is adopted next Wednesday, the county will not accept new solar array applications. The commissioners directed the work group to complete its work before October 1.

    For more information, contact the Marion County Planning Division at (503) 588-5038 or email planning@co.marion.or.us. ​

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    Commissioners seek solutions for rural solar farms
  • Mar
    1

    Recycling Reset - Curbside recycling changes

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​Marion County is hitting the reset button on its popular curbside recycling program.  This means residents won't be able to recycle some plastics and other items after March 5. The reset is due to the global recycling crisis caused by China's crackdown on imported recyclable materials.

    "To put the problem in perspective, it's helpful to understand that China has for many years consumed over half of the world's recyclable materials," said David Lear, Mid-Valley Garbage & Recycling General Manager. "However, a significant amount of the recycled material China was getting was contaminated with food waste, garbage, and other unusable materials."

    As of January 1, 2018, China made good on its promise to significantly limit the amount of material it imports from other countries. The ban created a major disruption in recycling and there is no excess capacity in worldwide recycling markets to absorb the material China no longer accepts. This leaves Marion County recycling processors, as well as other jurisdictions, with a lot of material and few markets.

    Will Posegate, Garten Services Chief Operating Officer, said, "Given that this shakeup in global recycling markets is likely to continue for the near future, we have identified a short list of materials for which we know there are markets, both global and domestic. Our goal is to make sure that collected recyclable material is marketable and will actually be recycled and not end up in a landfill in some other part of the world. If manufacturers aren't buying certain materials, we have no choice but to throw them away."

    Mixed Recycling Roll Cart – Approved items  

    1. Paper

      • Newspaper, including advertisements and paper inserts

      • Corrugated cardboard

      • Magazines and catalogs

      • Junk/Direct mail

      • Boxes — cereal, cracker, cookie and shoe boxes

      • Office paper — copier and printer paper, file folders, note paper, computer paper, brochures

    2. Metal

      • Steel (tin) cans

      • ​Aluminum cans

    3. Plastic – Bottles and Jugs only — clean with lids removed

      • ​​Beverage bottles (soda, water, juice); 12 ounces or larger only

      • ​Other bottles — soap, household cleaning solutions

      • ​​Jugs — milk, juice, detergent

    In our zeal to protect the planet, we've all put something in the mixed recycling roll cart and hoped that it will be recycled.  This "wishful" recycling is a part of the problem. Removing items that are not on this list will play a role in the solution. Cleaning up our recycling is a community issue that not only involves putting the right material in the mixed recycling roll cart, but making sure items are empty, clean and dry – when in doubt, throw it out.

    Marion County Environmental Services, the City of Salem, local garbage haulers and recycling processors recognize that changing the curbside program requires thoughtful re-education about contamination and materials that are no longer considered "recyclable." Customers will soon receive new recycling educational materials.

    "In making these changes to the countywide mixed recycling roll cart program, we hope to enable our customers to recycle items for which there are sustainable, accessible, and affordable markets – now and into the future," said Brian May, Marion County Environmental Services Manager. "Despite the current challenges in the recycling realm, Marion County remains committed to protecting the health and welfare of our residents by providing environmentally sound solid waste management services."

    For more information, contact the Mid-Valley Garbage and Recycling Association at (503) 390-4000 or visit mrtrashrecycles.com or Marion County Environmental Services at www.mcrecycles.net​ or email EnvironmentalServices@co.marion.or.us.  ​

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    Recycling Reset - Curbside recycling changes
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