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  • Commissioners to select HD 19 replacement

    Commissioners to select HD 19 replacement

    Date: 7/12/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    The Marion County Board of Commissioners will interview three nominees to fill the current vacancy for State Representative for House District 19. The three nominees will participate in a panel interview on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, at 10 a.m. Interviews will take place in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court Street NE, in Salem. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

    Nominees from the Republican Party include Becky Mitts, Raquel Moore-Green, and Brad Nanke. The position must be filled within 30 days of the June 28, 2019, vacancy date and the commissioners are expected to select and appoint a new representative following the panel interview on July 23. 

    The interviews will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 21 in the Salem area and live streamed on YouTube (@cctvsalem) and Marion County's Facebook (@MarionCountyOR) page.  

    Written comments will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Monday, July 22. Comments may be mailed to Marion County Board of Commissioners Office, PO Box 14500, Salem, OR 97309; e-mailed to commissioners@co.marion.or.us; or hand delivered to 555 Court St. NE, Suite #5232, Salem, OR. To be included in the record, comments must include the commenter's full name and address or e-mail address.

    For more information, please contact the Marion County Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or e-mail commissioners@co.marion.or.us

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  • Sheriff Kast promotes Jeff Wood to Undersheriff

    Sheriff Kast promotes Jeff Wood to Undersheriff

    Date: 7/17/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    On July 16, Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast hosted the summer swearing in ceremony for new Sheriff’s Office employees. During today’s ceremony, 14 employees were sworn in as deputy sheriffs and four more were recognized as they joined the Sheriff’s Office in non-sworn roles. Community Corrections Commander Jeff Wood was promoted and sworn in as Undersheriff.

    Undersheriff Wood began his career in 1994 as a Corrections Specialist with the Marion County Department of Corrections and has over 25 years of experience in the juvenile and adult correctional fields. Appointed by the Marion County Sheriff as a division commander in March 2009, Wood holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon and has earned his Executive Certification from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

    During his tenure with the Sheriff’s Office, Undersheriff Wood has received extensive training in evidence-based practices and has implemented a number of programs within the Community Corrections Division. Undersheriff Wood has regularly provided legislative testimony on issues pertaining to sex offender supervision, registration, electronic monitoring, transition and reentry, and community corrections funding. Wood just completed a two-year term as President of the Oregon Community Corrections Directors Association, currently serves as Chair of the Marion County Justice Reinvestment Council, sits on the Governor’s Reentry Council, and Oregon’s Corrections Forecast Committee.

    Sheriff Kast thanked the family and friends who were in attendance to support their loved ones, stating “This job is challenging and rewarding. However, this can’t be done without the love and support shown by the family and friends behind each of these new members of our office.”

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  • Don't Miss Deadline to Enter the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest!

    Don't Miss Deadline to Enter the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest!

    Date: 7/22/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Public Works

    ​The August 14 deadline is nearing for the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest. The contest is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Historic Railroad Bridge in Mill City, and is hosted by Marion County Public Works and the Save Our Bridge Committee in Mill City. All interested photographers are invited to submit up to two photos for each of the following categories: Natural Setting, Architectural Features, Community Life, and Seasonal.

    One grand prize winner will receive a $500 cash prize and the four category winners will each receive $125 cash prizes thanks to the generosity of the photo contest's sponsor, Santiam Hospital of Stayton.

    Entries must be submitted by 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 14, 2019. Photos will remain the property of the contestant, but by entering the contest photographers grant Marion County and the City of Mill City the rights to publicly display and reproduce the photo in future publications, websites, and programs. Only digital photos will be accepted.

    The panel of judges includes Colm Willis, Marion County Commissioner; Dr. Michelle Pies, Santiam Hospital; Todd Miller, superintendent of Santiam Canyon School District; Ken Cartwright, station manager and programming director of KYAC 94.9 FM; and, Brian Nicholas, director of Marion County Public Works. The panel will select the five winning photographs based on overall quality, creativity and how well the photograph portrays the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge in the four listed categories

    Winning contestants will receive their awards at Mill City's Historic Railroad Bridge Centennial Celebration on Saturday, September 14, 2019, in Mill City where their winning photos will be framed and put on a display. Following the celebration, these photographs will also be displayed at the City of Mill City and Marion County Public Works offices, and the digital images on the city's and county's websites.

    Mill City's Historic Railroad Bridge was built in 1888 and moved to Mill City by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1919. The railroad suspended service to Mill City in 1967 and the last train crossed it in 1971. It now serves the community as a well-used bike and pedestrian bridge and is the last remaining Phoenix Column Bridge still in service in Oregon.

    To submit photo entries and view the full list of contest rules, go to www.millcitybridge.com.

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  • Quinaby Road NE to close at railroad crossing on 7/22-24

    Quinaby Road NE to close at railroad crossing on 7/22-24

    Date: 7/15/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Public Works

    On Monday, July 22, 2019, the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) will be close Quinaby Road NE at the rail crossing west of OR99E (Portland Road NE). The crossing is scheduled to be closed from 7:00 a.m. on July 22 until 9:00 p.m. on July 24. Traffic will detour via OR99E, Perkins Road and 35th Avenue NE.

    During the closure, UPRR will replace the concrete pad at the crossing and no emergency vehicle will be allowed access through the work zone.

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  • Rep. Denyc Boles appointed to fill SD 10 vacancy

    Rep. Denyc Boles appointed to fill SD 10 vacancy

    Date: 6/25/2019 12:00:00 AM
    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​The Marion and Polk County Board of Commissioners selected Rep. Denyc Boles to fill the current vacancy for State Senator in Senate District 10. Rep. Boles was among three candidates nominated by the Marion and Polk County Republicans to fill the position.

    Three nominees were interviewed in a special joint board session this morning that included Becky Mitts, Kevin Chambers, and Rep. Boles.

    Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano, meeting chair, said, "We were fortunate to have three well-qualified candidates to choose from. Denyc Boles' experience in the legislature and knowledge of the district set her apart. I have appreciated Denyc's perspective as a member of the Marion County budget committee. I am confident she will continue the work of Jackie Winters in representing Senate District 10."

    Polk County Commissioner Craig Pope, board chair, said, "I thank each of the candidates for participating in this challenging process. Each of the candidates has different qualities and skills they would bring to the position. But I had to ask, who would Jackie choose? And Denyc Boles is that candidate. We need someone with Denyc's leadership and experience to hit the ground running to represent this important district." 

    For more information, contact the Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or email commissioners@co.marion.or.us

    Read More
 

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  • Jul
    22

    Don't Miss Deadline to Enter the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest!

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​The August 14 deadline is nearing for the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest. The contest is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Historic Railroad Bridge in Mill City, and is hosted by Marion County Public Works and the Save Our Bridge Committee in Mill City. All interested photographers are invited to submit up to two photos for each of the following categories: Natural Setting, Architectural Features, Community Life, and Seasonal.

    One grand prize winner will receive a $500 cash prize and the four category winners will each receive $125 cash prizes thanks to the generosity of the photo contest's sponsor, Santiam Hospital of Stayton.

    Entries must be submitted by 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 14, 2019. Photos will remain the property of the contestant, but by entering the contest photographers grant Marion County and the City of Mill City the rights to publicly display and reproduce the photo in future publications, websites, and programs. Only digital photos will be accepted.

    The panel of judges includes Colm Willis, Marion County Commissioner; Dr. Michelle Pies, Santiam Hospital; Todd Miller, superintendent of Santiam Canyon School District; Ken Cartwright, station manager and programming director of KYAC 94.9 FM; and, Brian Nicholas, director of Marion County Public Works. The panel will select the five winning photographs based on overall quality, creativity and how well the photograph portrays the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge in the four listed categories

    Winning contestants will receive their awards at Mill City's Historic Railroad Bridge Centennial Celebration on Saturday, September 14, 2019, in Mill City where their winning photos will be framed and put on a display. Following the celebration, these photographs will also be displayed at the City of Mill City and Marion County Public Works offices, and the digital images on the city's and county's websites.

    Mill City's Historic Railroad Bridge was built in 1888 and moved to Mill City by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1919. The railroad suspended service to Mill City in 1967 and the last train crossed it in 1971. It now serves the community as a well-used bike and pedestrian bridge and is the last remaining Phoenix Column Bridge still in service in Oregon.

    To submit photo entries and view the full list of contest rules, go to www.millcitybridge.com.

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    Don't Miss Deadline to Enter the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest!
  • Jul
    17

    Sheriff Kast promotes Jeff Wood to Undersheriff

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    On July 16, Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast hosted the summer swearing in ceremony for new Sheriff’s Office employees. During today’s ceremony, 14 employees were sworn in as deputy sheriffs and four more were recognized as they joined the Sheriff’s Office in non-sworn roles. Community Corrections Commander Jeff Wood was promoted and sworn in as Undersheriff.

    Undersheriff Wood began his career in 1994 as a Corrections Specialist with the Marion County Department of Corrections and has over 25 years of experience in the juvenile and adult correctional fields. Appointed by the Marion County Sheriff as a division commander in March 2009, Wood holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon and has earned his Executive Certification from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

    During his tenure with the Sheriff’s Office, Undersheriff Wood has received extensive training in evidence-based practices and has implemented a number of programs within the Community Corrections Division. Undersheriff Wood has regularly provided legislative testimony on issues pertaining to sex offender supervision, registration, electronic monitoring, transition and reentry, and community corrections funding. Wood just completed a two-year term as President of the Oregon Community Corrections Directors Association, currently serves as Chair of the Marion County Justice Reinvestment Council, sits on the Governor’s Reentry Council, and Oregon’s Corrections Forecast Committee.

    Sheriff Kast thanked the family and friends who were in attendance to support their loved ones, stating “This job is challenging and rewarding. However, this can’t be done without the love and support shown by the family and friends behind each of these new members of our office.”

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    Sheriff Kast promotes Jeff Wood to Undersheriff
  • Jul
    15

    Quinaby Road NE to close at railroad crossing on 7/22-24

    Posted by: Public Works

    On Monday, July 22, 2019, the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) will be close Quinaby Road NE at the rail crossing west of OR99E (Portland Road NE). The crossing is scheduled to be closed from 7:00 a.m. on July 22 until 9:00 p.m. on July 24. Traffic will detour via OR99E, Perkins Road and 35th Avenue NE.

    During the closure, UPRR will replace the concrete pad at the crossing and no emergency vehicle will be allowed access through the work zone.

    Read More
    Quinaby Road NE to close at railroad crossing on 7/22-24
  • Jul
    12

    Commissioners to select HD 19 replacement

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    The Marion County Board of Commissioners will interview three nominees to fill the current vacancy for State Representative for House District 19. The three nominees will participate in a panel interview on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, at 10 a.m. Interviews will take place in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court Street NE, in Salem. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

    Nominees from the Republican Party include Becky Mitts, Raquel Moore-Green, and Brad Nanke. The position must be filled within 30 days of the June 28, 2019, vacancy date and the commissioners are expected to select and appoint a new representative following the panel interview on July 23. 

    The interviews will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 21 in the Salem area and live streamed on YouTube (@cctvsalem) and Marion County's Facebook (@MarionCountyOR) page.  

    Written comments will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Monday, July 22. Comments may be mailed to Marion County Board of Commissioners Office, PO Box 14500, Salem, OR 97309; e-mailed to commissioners@co.marion.or.us; or hand delivered to 555 Court St. NE, Suite #5232, Salem, OR. To be included in the record, comments must include the commenter's full name and address or e-mail address.

    For more information, please contact the Marion County Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or e-mail commissioners@co.marion.or.us

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    Commissioners to select HD 19 replacement
  • Jul
    1

    Junction box installation and sidewalk ramp replacement on Buffalo Drive SE may impact traffic

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​Marion County's contractor Gelco Construction is scheduled to begin construction the week of July 8, 2019, to upgrade the stormwater system at 4868 Buffalo Drive SE. The construction will include installing a new junction box and replacing a sidewalk ramp with one that meets the standards of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Access for pedestrians, including those with disabilities, will be available and identified through or around the work area during construction.

    Buffalo Drive will remain open with flaggers directing traffic through the work area. Motorists may experience short delays and are advised to use an alternative route when possible. When traveling through the work zone, please be considerate of bicyclists and follow the flagger's directions.

    For the most current information visit Marion County's web site at: http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Engineering/Projects/Pages/default.aspx

    For additional information, contact Tina Powell, Department Specialist, or Shane Ottosen Jr., Project Engineer, at 503-588-5036.

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    Junction box installation and sidewalk ramp replacement on Buffalo Drive SE may impact traffic
  • Jun
    25

    Minto Park closed Saturday for tree falling training

    Posted by: Public Works - Environmental Services

    ​On Saturday, June 29, Marion County Fire District will conduct a tree falling training at Minto Park, located east of Gates along the Santiam River. The park will be closed to the public on Saturday, due to safety concerns, but will reopen on Sunday, June 30.

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

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    Minto Park closed Saturday for tree falling training
  • Jun
    25

    Rep. Denyc Boles appointed to fill SD 10 vacancy

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​The Marion and Polk County Board of Commissioners selected Rep. Denyc Boles to fill the current vacancy for State Senator in Senate District 10. Rep. Boles was among three candidates nominated by the Marion and Polk County Republicans to fill the position.

    Three nominees were interviewed in a special joint board session this morning that included Becky Mitts, Kevin Chambers, and Rep. Boles.

    Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano, meeting chair, said, "We were fortunate to have three well-qualified candidates to choose from. Denyc Boles' experience in the legislature and knowledge of the district set her apart. I have appreciated Denyc's perspective as a member of the Marion County budget committee. I am confident she will continue the work of Jackie Winters in representing Senate District 10."

    Polk County Commissioner Craig Pope, board chair, said, "I thank each of the candidates for participating in this challenging process. Each of the candidates has different qualities and skills they would bring to the position. But I had to ask, who would Jackie choose? And Denyc Boles is that candidate. We need someone with Denyc's leadership and experience to hit the ground running to represent this important district." 

    For more information, contact the Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or email commissioners@co.marion.or.us

    Read More
    Rep. Denyc Boles appointed to fill SD 10 vacancy
  • Jun
    25

    John Lattimer dedicates 51 years to public service

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    John Lattimer expected his job in government to be short-term. His wife was going back to school and he figured he'd work for the Kansas Legislature while finishing his doctoral dissertation.

    "So I went to work and never stopped. And I never wrote my dissertation either."

    Fifty-one years later, Lattimer is stopping. He is retiring June 30 as Marion County's chief administrative officer, in part at the urging of his wife, Vickie, and family. On June 23, he turned 78.

    "It's been the best job of all the jobs I've had, for a variety of reasons," Lattimer said of his more than 15 years at Marion County. "They like to talk about government close to the people. Well, it's that – but it's that you get to see what you're doing actually happening on the ground."

    He helped steer the county through the Great Recession – wise planning meant fewer layoffs and service reductions than in many local governments – and the headaches of fixing the Marion County Courthouse after a fire. He kept county services going during the reconstruction of Courthouse Square, dealt with the financial woes of The Oregon Garden and strived to improve the county infrastructure so its buildings would last for years.

    Along the way, he has tried to educate residents about county government.

    "Counties run health care in the state. People don't know that. Counties run jails. We've got the fourth-largest jail in the state, right here in Marion County. We do elections. We do all the (property and tax) assessment for all the local governments in the county, and we send out all the funds to all those public entities. We fix bridges. We fix roads," Lattimer said.

    "I've learned so much."

    Despite having held several jobs in Oregon state government, Lattimer knew virtually nothing about those county roles when he joined Marion County in the fall of 2003. But he knew about budgets and he also had been thinking about how to make government more efficient and effective.

    "I wanted to run the government like an enterprise, without silos, where people worked together no matter whether they're in finance or public safety," he said. "It took about eight years to get there because I had to do a lot of work with the departments.

    "And now they would never go back. We've broken down the silo walls. The sheriff works with the community services department. The district attorney and the sheriff work together and both work with the health department. Public Works works with them, and they work hand in glove, and it's just amazing."

    Today, the county is known for tackling complex issues, including the collaborative efforts to reduce recidivism among formerly incarcerated individuals and to help keep people from winding up in jail in the first place.

    "That's the kind of thing I really like about county government," Lattimer said. "You can be innovative, and I like being innovative. Sometimes it doesn't work, but you'll never know if you don't try, right? And we're doing, I think, a lot of innovative things.

    "We've gotten to the point now where we have a statewide reputation of being one of the best counties in the state."

    He credits the elected officials, managers and employees for those successes.

    "I figured people hired me to give them my best judgment, my best advice, whether they liked it or not," he said.

    "In all of my jobs, I didn't back off if I thought something was right or something wasn't. I always was honest with my bosses. What I learned was they appreciated it. Even if they didn't agree with me, they appreciated that I was telling them what I thought, I was telling it straight and I wasn't trying to shine them on. A strong leader, if they recognize that, they can be really effective."

    Retirement was a hard decision for someone accustomed for 51 years to getting up in the morning and going to work. Among the ways Lattimer will continue using his lifetime of financial and organizational knowledge – "I've got to keep my head in the game" -- is through his ongoing service on the Salem Health Board of Directors.

    "If I were to define myself," he said, "I'm a public servant first, last and always. I think it's very honorable profession, and I wish a lot more people saw it that way." 

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    John Lattimer dedicates 51 years to public service
  • Jun
    25

    Sheriff to retire following 30 year career with Marion County

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

    Jason Myers gravitated toward the county side of law enforcement because he enjoyed working alone. He ends his career at the Marion County Sheriff's Office as the person in charge – and with a reputation for collaborating with other county departments, law enforcement agencies and elected officials.

    "It's been an amazing job," Myers said of being sheriff. "What I really appreciate is that I have a team of really dedicated people who see the vision of where we're going. They see that we're here to serve the community and to make it a better place, and that really motivates you."

    He is retiring June 30, and looks forward to having more time with his family, who has been so supportive of his career. The county Board of Commissioners has appointed Commander Joe Kast to succeed Myers.

    "I think the sheriff's office is in a great place right now. We have outstanding individuals working here," Myers said. "We have a strong leadership team that's prepared to take over."

    Myers started as a Salem police cadet, studied law enforcement at Chemeketa Community College and in 1989 got a summer job as a Marion County sheriff's cadet. He was hooked.

    "I really, really, really liked the county perspective. I liked being out in the rural areas – and the urban areas. You get kind of a mix.

    "Working with folks out in the rural communities, oftentimes you would find yourself alone. There's no backup, so you have to have good communication skills and be confident in your skills and abilities," he said. "I enjoyed working by myself and working together with people in the rural areas and addressing their issues and quality-of-life concerns."

    Myers has served at every rank in the MCSO: patrol deputy, field training deputy, judicial security deputy, school resource officer, detective, patrol sergeant, narcotics detective sergeant, administrative lieutenant, operations division commander, undersheriff and, since 2009, sheriff.

    He has seen – and led – considerable change throughout his MCSO career.

    Over half of the calls for service come from unincorporated East Salem. The area makes up less than half a percent of the county's land area, yet nearly equals Keizer in population. Through a small monthly fee for households and businesses, the county now will have 10 deputies dedicated to serving that area.

    Another advancement is the opening of the public safety building on Aumsville Highway next to the county jail. The new facility brings together the patrol deputies, detectives, and parole and probation deputies.

    "We're not a single-discipline organization. We have our law enforcement function. We have our corrections function. We have our community corrections function," Myers said. "So we're seeing people all throughout the stages of the criminal justice system."

    Public safety – protecting the community – remains the core mission. But Myers also came to realize that jail was not the best place for people whose foundational issues were mental illness, addiction and/or homelessness – not criminality.

    In response, the MCSO has collaborated to develop mobile crisis teams; Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion to address persistent, low-level drug and quality-of-life crimes; and programs to reduce recidivism.

    "I think we're heading in the right direction," Myers said. "As we look at our past history with issues of addiction, with issues of mental illness and issues of homelessness, we were not able to use the criminal justice system to fix those issues. We couldn't arrest our way out of those situations."

    As his career progressed, Myers discovered he enjoyed both leadership and public policy. He will continue using those skills in his next role, working with the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association on training and intergovernmental relations.

    "Sheriff's offices, in my opinion, they're very special because of our connection as sheriffs to the community that we're elected (from)," he said. "We work directly for the citizens of our county."

    Leadership has been one of his passions. That is evident in the respect he has developed throughout the county, at the Oregon Capitol and among area law enforcement.

    "I just try to do my best every day," Myers said. "I try to listen more than I talk. I try to hear what people want, and then I try to deliver on that. I think that's guided me well. I've done that throughout my career."

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    Sheriff to retire following 30 year career with Marion County
  • Jun
    17

    Marion County announces appointment of new Emergency Manager

    Posted by: Public Works - Emergency Management

    ​Marion County is pleased to announce that Kathleen Silva has been appointed the new Marion County Emergency Manager. Ms. Silva, who previously served as the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Marion County, begins her appointment on June 17, 2019. Ms. Silva also served as the Emergency and Risk Manager for Chemeketa Community College and Emergency Planning Specialist for the State of Nebraska Military Department.

    As County Emergency Manager, Ms. Silva is responsible for the overall management and operations of the county's emergency management program, which includes planning and directing emergency activities and projects; teaming with other agencies in the public, private and non-profit sectors to conduct and coordinate preparedness, response and recovery activities; and updating and maintaining the county's comprehensive emergency operations plan. The Marion County Emergency Management program also oversees volunteer programs, including Amateur Radio teams, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and the Medical Reserve Corps involving more than 400 community volunteers.

    "Successful emergency preparedness and response demands a leader that is able to plan, communicate and build relationships with diverse stakeholders on a region-wide basis," according to Brian Nicholas, Marion County Public Works Director. "Kathleen Silva has all of those qualities with a passion for Emergency Management that can't be beat. She is a tremendous addition to Marion County's leadership team."

    Ms. Silva graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2012, where she earned a Master of Science in Leadership, Disaster Preparedness & Executive Fire Leadership, as well as California State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

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    Marion County announces appointment of new Emergency Manager
  • Jun
    17

    Collaboration leads to community project in East Salem neighborhood

    Posted by: Sheriff's Office

    ​The scenery at the intersection of Phipps Ave NE and Glendale Ave NE looks different today as a result of a partnership between community members and Marion County. This project started when a group of concerned community members came to the Sheriff's Office and the Board of Commissioners asking for help as this pathway had become a magnet for criminal activity and frequent law enforcement calls for service. For years this area had an unofficial pathway which led between Phipps Ave NE and the back parking lot of Courthouse Club Fitness on Devonshire Ct NE in East Salem. The pathway, a county owned easement, was never intended to be used as a way for people to come and go from the neighborhood.

    After listening to the community's concerns, Marion County got to work. Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, Public Works, and the Board of Commissioners Office came together with community stakeholders to look at ways to bring relief to the neighborhood. As possible solutions were being explored, Sheriff Jason Myers coordinated with Salem-Keizer School District Superintendent Christy Perry to have buses rerouted so children in the neighborhood would not need to use the walkway to get to and from school. Public Works Director Brian Nicholas and his team led efforts to explore vacating the county easement that was ultimately approved by the commissioners, 

    Following a public hearing in March, the Board of Commissioners decided to vacate the easement, granting ownership to the two adjoining property owners. Additionally, the Board of Commissioners authorized the use of Good Neighbor Funds to put up new fencing to help close off the area. The Good Neighbor Fund was established to provide funding for small projects affecting safety and livability in neighborhoods.

    As this project was wrapping up over the last few weeks, neighbors in the area saw Sheriff's Office work crews clearing overgrown vegetation and putting in new fences. The work crews, staffed with inmates from the Sheriff's Office Transition Center, provide a valuable opportunity for offenders to perform community service while learning skills which may help them be more successful when seeking out employment after incarceration.

    Marion County would like to thank our community members for coming forward with their concerns and collaborating with us to help make a difference in their neighborhood. This project would not have been possible without the partnership between Marion County and our community stakeholders.

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    Collaboration leads to community project in East Salem neighborhood
  • Jun
    14

    Safety enhancements installed on Marion County roads

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​Motorists traveling throughout Marion County will benefit from enhancements to several county roads as part of a safety enhancement project. The project was funded almost entirely by the Oregon Department of Transportation's All Roads Transportation Safety (ARTS) Program, which is a state safety program to address needs on public roads throughout Oregon.

    The ARTS-funded project installed a combination of centerline rumble strips, profiled lane striping and other durable pavement markings on the following county roads: McKay Road NE, Yergen Road NE, Ehlen Road NE, Howell Prairie Road, Silverton Road NE, Butteville Road NE, Cascade Highway, Vitae Springs Road South, Orville Road South, Abiqua Road NE, and Cordon Road NE. The county was awarded over $1,000,000 from the state program, which funded 100% of the costs for all roadway enhancements except Cordon Road, which was funded at 92.22%.

    Brian Nicholas, Marion County Public Works Director, said he appreciated the funding opportunity for this important project and the swift installation by the county's contractor, Apply-A-Line. "Lane departure accidents, accidents resulting from vehicles crossing the centerline or running off the road, have increased nation-wide due to a number of factors, including distracted driving from cell phones and other devices. The enhancements installed by this project have been shown to reduce the frequency of lane departure accidents. ODOT has been a great partner in making these funds available to cities and counties." He added, "Marion County also appreciates the efficient, high quality work done by Apply-A-Line for making sure these enhancements were completed before the height of the summer driving season."

    To learn more about Marion County's current and upcoming road construction projects, visit our website at http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Engineering/Projects/Pages/default.aspx.

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    Safety enhancements installed on Marion County roads
  • Jun
    13

    Commissioners select Joe Kast as next Sheriff

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​The Marion County Board of Commissioners selected Commander Joe Kast of the Marion County Sheriff's Office to fill the vacancy for Sheriff. Two applicants were interviewed in a special board session on June 13 that included Commander Kast and Lt. Josh Brooks with the Oregon State Police.

    Commissioner Kevin Cameron, board chair, said, "We were fortunate to have two strong candidates to choose from. Both are well-qualified and extremely talented individuals." He continued, "Commander Kast has the background and experience with all aspects of the Sheriff's Office from enforcement to the jail and community corrections that made him standout. He has demonstrated his commitment to community engagement and received broad support from local residents."

    Commander Kast will be officially appointed as sheriff at the commissioners June 26, 2019, regular board session. A swearing in ceremony will held Monday, July 1, 2019, in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court St. NE, in Salem. The public is welcome to attend.

    Sheriff Jason Myers announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019. When a vacancy occurs in a county elected office, the Marion County Board of Commissioners appoints a replacement who will hold office until a new sheriff is chosen in the next general election.

    For more information, contact the Board of Commissioners Office at (503) 588-5212 or email commissioners@co.marion.or.us

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    Commissioners select Joe Kast as next Sheriff
  • Jun
    6

    Commissioners appoint Jan Fritz as chief administrative officer

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​After 16 years with Marion County and 51 years in public service, Marion County Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019. At its June 12, 2019, regular Board Session the Board of Commissioners appointed Jan Fritz to fill the chief administrative officer and budget officer positions effective July 1, 2019.

    Ms. Fritz has extensive experience in government and business management. She has served Marion County for 25 years, as the county's deputy county administrative officer since 2007, and the county personnel officer since 2008. Her expertise ranges from banking to public administration, budgeting, financial management, and human resource management.

    She has a Bachelor of Science from Portland State University, is a Senior Certified Professional through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP), holds a human resources management certificate from Oregon State University, and is a graduate of the Pacific Program. 

    Ms. Fritz served on the Sublimity City Council for 12 years and as president of the Sublimity Planning Commission for three years. Throughout her career, she has served in a volunteer capacity on numerous community boards and commissions including Oregon's City/County Manager Association, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley Board of Directors, North Santiam Tourism Board, Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Regis High School Foundation, Peer Court Advisory Council, Stayton Library Foundation, and Marion County's Public Safety Coordinating Council and Council of Economic Advisors among others. She has been honored by the Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce as both Woman of the Year and First Citizen.

    Board chair, Commissioner Kevin Cameron, said, "Jan Fritz possesses the experience, knowledge, talent, and skills needed to continue the great work that provides excellent service to the residents of Marion County. Her knowledge of Marion County is a tremendous asset and her history of service speaks for itself. We are fortunate to have someone like Jan to take over from John Lattimer."

    Ms. Fritz said, "It has been my privilege to work side by side with John Lattimer for the last 16 years. He has laid a foundation of collaboration among county departments and community partners, established high standards for financial management, and set expectations of transparency and accountability." She continued, "Marion County has an excellent executive management team in place. I look forward to continuing to work alongside elected officials, department heads, and employees as we deliver exceptional services to Marion County's communities." 

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    Commissioners appoint Jan Fritz as chief administrative officer
  • Jun
    6

    Marion County will begin resurfacing various county roads on June 10

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​Marion County's contractor, Roy Houck Construction, will begin paving on various county roads beginning June 10, 2019, with a completion date of September 14, 2019.

    Roads will remain open with flaggers directing traffic through the work area.  Motorists should expect short delays and are advised to use an alternate route.  When traveling through the work zone, be considerate of bicyclists and follow the flagger's directions.

    For a complete list of roads scheduled for paving this summer, visit Marion County's web site at:  http://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Engineering/Projects/Pages/Resurf2019.aspx

    For additional information, contact Tina Powell, Department Specialist, or Spencer Hohenshelt, Senior Engineering Technician at 503-588-5036.

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    Marion County will begin resurfacing various county roads on June 10
  • Jun
    3

    Marion County Housing Authority: Real Life in Action

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    This article appears in the June 2019 issue of the Salem Business Journal. 

    By Dick Hughes, Special to Marion County

    Poverty wears a different face in rural Marion County than in urban areas but one critical issue remains the same: housing.

    The shortage of rural housing is felt by the region's aging population, by agricultural workers, by families and by low-wage earners, according to Candace Jamison, executive director of the Marion County Housing Authority (MCHA). Other challenges accompany that housing shortage, such as helping people find transportation to work, appointments and other activities that often are in larger cities.

    In its work, MCHA helps fulfill the community's obligation to serve the most vulnerable among us – children, seniors and individuals with disabilities.

    "These are our values – these are our morals – in real life in action," Jamison said.

    "I think sometimes homelessness is hard for everyday people to put a finger on," she said. "But the understanding that we need a safety net in our community is much more tangible for people to understand. So many people who live in our housing are one paycheck away from being in the same situation."

    That safety net is tenuous.  About 3,000 names are on MCHA's waiting list for Section 8 vouchers, in which people rent through private landlords. Preference is given to applicants who already live, work or receive services in the community.

    For the 11 properties owned by MCHA, there can be a yearlong wait for an apartment or duplex. Those sites currently serve 118 families with children, 135 households headed by seniors and 43 households headed by a person with a disability.

    Unstable, inconsistent housing can have generational consequences. There are lifelong familial and societal benefits to providing good housing so children growing up throughout Marion County have access to the best schools and the best opportunities, regardless of their economic situation.

    "If we can invest in those children, we can essentially eliminate that generational poverty. If we can put resources into them, if we can allow them to have a stable home so that they can have a place to go to school, that is really important," Jamison said.

    MCHA, which serves all of Marion County outside the Salem-Keizer urban growth boundary, marked its 50th anniversary last year. Jamison has led the agency for a year and has ambitious plans for how it must evolve to meet the "steadily growing and steadily changing" needs.

    Along with developing more MCHA-owned housing, her goals include expanding partnerships. Veterans housing is an example of how that already happens among government and nonprofit agencies.

    "While we have access to the vouchers (for housing), there are others who have access to, for example, security deposits or who are able to help veterans with case management services or to help them get to appointments," Jamison said. "Partnerships are a big part of what we try to do to address homelessness in our community."

    One of the most important partnerships is with private landlords, who accept renters through the Section 8 program.

    The agency strives to break through traditional bureaucratic barriers while also faithfully following government requirements. For example, Marion and Polk counties collaborate so housing vouchers issued in one county can be used in the other.

    There often are misperceptions about residents in subsidized or public housing: No one else will rent to them and they must be criminals, troublemakers or just lazy. That is not the case, according to Jason Icenbice, who supervises the MCHA-owned sites.

    "Ninety-nine percent of the time it's positive," he said of dealing with MCHA clients. "We're always trying to find avenues to keep the tenants in their home – to make sure they're successful tenants."

    Icenbice, who came to affordable-property management from a career in private real estate, said that same philosophy applies to MCHA being seen as a neighborhood asset, "The goal is to really make nice communities, where if a housing unit is built near your house, you're not upset about it, because they're aesthetically appealing and they look nice and they're functional and it's a benefit to the community." 

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    Marion County Housing Authority: Real Life in Action
  • May
    29

    Enter The Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest!

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​MILL CITY, OR – In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Historic Railroad Bridge in Mill City, amateur and professional photographers are invited to enter their best images of the bridge in the "Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest" hosted by Marion County Public Works and the Save Our Bridge Committee in Mill City. The contest allows photographers of all skill levels to capture photographs of the bridge through their own unique lens.

    Send in your best photos for a chance to win! One grand prize winner will receive a $500 cash prize and the four category winners will each receive $125 cash prizes, thanks to the generosity of the contest's sponsor Santiam Hospital of Stayton.

    Winning contestants will receive their awards at Mill City's Historic Railroad Bridge Centennial Celebration on Saturday, September 14, 2019, in Mill City where their winning photos will be framed and displayed. Following the celebration, the framed photographs will also be displayed at the City of Mill City and Marion County Public Works offices, and the digital images on the city's and county's websites.

    Contestants may submit up to two photos for each of the following categories: Natural Setting, Architectural Features, Community Life, and Seasonal. Only digital photos will be accepted and although they will remain the property of the contestant, by entering the contest photographers grant Marion County and the City of Mill City the rights to publicly display and reproduce the photo in future publications, websites, and programs. For a full list of contest rules and to enter photos in the contest, visit the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest web page at www.millcitybridge.com.

    Entries must be submitted by 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 14, 2019. Contest entries will be judged on overall quality, creativity and how well the photograph portrays the Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge in the four listed categories.  

    Mill City's Historic Railroad Bridge was built in 1888 and moved to Mill City by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1919. The railroad suspended service to Mill City in 1967 and the last train crossed it in 1971. It now serves the community as a well-used bike and pedestrian bridge and is the last remaining Phoenix Column Bridge still in service in Oregon.

    To submit photo entries and learn more about the contest, go to www.millcitybridge.com.

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    Enter The Mill City Historic Railroad Bridge Photo Contest!
  • Apr
    24

    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 2019 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 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.

    Other Parks
    Spong's Landing Park will also open to the public on May 1 but will be closed on Saturday, May 4 for maintenance. This park is located along the Willamette River north of Keizer and is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.

    Scotts Mills Park will also open to vehicle traffic on May 1.

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

    • Aumsville Ponds on Bates Road SE near Aumsville;

    • Bonesteele Park on Aumsville Hwy SE;

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

    • Near Silverton - Rogers Wayside; and

    • Along the North Santiam River – Minto, Niagara and 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.

    Read More
    Marion County Announces Seasonal Park Openings
  • Apr
    23

    Volunteers recognized for outstanding service to Marion County

    Posted by: Business Services

    ​More than 129,000 hours with a value of $3.1 million – these are the 2018 contributions of Marion County's 1,742 volunteers. The Board of Commissioners celebrated the dedicated efforts of county volunteers on April 10 in honor of National Volunteer Week.

     Please join us in congratulating our 2019 volunteer award recipients: 

    Youth Volunteer – Payton Schlag

    The Youth Volunteer Award was developed to recognize volunteer accomplishments of young people 24 years and under in county programs and departments. 

    Eleven-year-old Payton Schlag is already a seasoned volunteer with the Marion County Fair. She first volunteered at only 8 years old. For the last two years she has volunteered at the information booth greeting fairgoers with courtesy and professionalism. In preparing for her duties at the information booth, she walked the areas around the booth making sure she knew where main attractions, restrooms, and other common areas were located so she could easily answer questions. Payton also serves as a peer tutor at her middle school and she is already signed up to volunteer at the 2019 fair.

    Advisory Board Volunteer – Bob Anderson

    The Advisory Board Volunteer of the Year award is to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to a Marion County advisory board. 

    Bob Anderson was recognized for his contributions on the Solid Waste Management Advisory Council. Bob has led the council as chair many times during his 18 years of service. He has provided guidance for county waste reduction and recycling programs, including some of the first commingled recycling collection programs in Oregon.  Bob and SWMAC were instrumental in starting one of the only programs in the nation that offers curbside collection of paint and household batteries among other items. Bob's business, AJ's Automotive Repair, was also recognized in 2013 for its green practices at the Mid-Valley Green Awards.

    Program Award – Monica Melhorn

    The program award is intended for those volunteers who display dedication and exemplary accomplishments within the division or program in which they volunteer.

    Monica Melhorn began as a dog walker at the Marion County Dog Shelter in 2018. She quickly transitioned to the foster program. Monica often fosters difficult to adopt dogs – high energy, herding breeds, young, and smart dogs. She offers insight to shelter staff on the dog's behaviors and needs, as well as helps potential adopters who want to know as much as possible about a dog before adopting. Monica regularly brings foster dogs to outreach events to help them find potential forever homes.

    Mary Pearmine Outstanding Volunteer Group – Lowell Spring and the Salem Audubon Society

    This award is in honor of the late Mary Pearmine who served as commissioner for Marion County from 1991-1998. In addition to being the first woman commissioner, Mary was a champion of volunteers and volunteer groups.

    Lowell Spring has been cleaning the roadside on Buena Vista Rd S and Ankeny Hill Rd S since 1995. Lowell often does most of this work on his own, representing the Salem Audubon Society. The Salem Audubon Society Adopt-A-Road group has been cleaning this roadside for 23 years, not only saving the county time and money, but also encouraging others to clean up and properly dispose of trash to keep the roadside clean. Marion County appreciates the Salem Audubon Society's long term dedication to preserving the beauty of Buena Vista and South Ankeny Hill Roads.  

    Judge Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year – Ulrich Reich  

    The late Rex Hartley served as a county judge and commissioner for Marion County from 1951-1966. Judge Hartley was dedicated to involving citizens in the development of the county.

    Ulrich Reich, also known as Uli, championed establishing a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Woodburn in 2014. Uli's leadership and continued dedication to recruiting, training, and managing this CERT team has resulted in a strong and successful response team that is well integrated into the community and capable of assisting local partners in a variety of tasks. Uli helped develop the Woodburn CERT Firefighter Rehab team. This team responds to local emergencies to provide rehabilitation services to fire and police service personnel. Under Uli's leadership, Woodburn CERT also assists with open houses at the fire department, community preparedness events, and regularly host CPR/AED and CERT classes.

    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 www.co.marion.or.us/BS/VOL.  

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    Volunteers recognized for outstanding service to Marion County
  • Apr
    22

    Marion County parks offer a wealth of recreational opportunities

    Posted by: Public Works

    ​By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County 

    From picnicking to geocaching to hiking, Marion County parks offer a wealth of recreational opportunities for residents and travelers.

    "We have 18 parks that are scattered throughout the county. There are some that are absolutely gorgeous," Parks Coordinator Russ Dilley said.

    "We have all kinds of different recreation. A majority of the parks are on water, so there are a lot of water activities. Some have shelters for group picnics. We have smaller parks that are in the neighborhoods for kids to go play on the playgrounds."

    Most of the parks now stay open year-round. And with the May 1 opening of the remainder, visitors will find improvements throughout the park system.

    Those improvements include a repaved parking lot, new picnic shelters and a larger restroom at Scotts Mills Park; additional picnic tables at North Fork, Bear Creek and Salmon Falls parks; a stairway down to the North Santiam River at Minto Park; and expanded garbage collection and lots of fix-up throughout the 18 parks.

    For years, the county's parks staff consisted of Dilley and a summer employee. Marion County has now invested in a second fulltime employee and eight seasonal staff.

    "For so long, we were playing catchup," Dilley said. "To go from two people in the summertime to 10 people is amazing."

    The results show.

    At Scotts Mills, "on an average hot day, we had a 20-person line waiting" for the single restroom, Dilley said. Visitors using the 13-acre park for swimming, playing ball and other activities will appreciate now having a two-restroom facility.

    During the winter, weather closes the county parks along the Little North Fork of the Santiam River. Come late spring and summer, North Fork, Bear Creek and Salmon Falls parks are so heavily used – for water play, fishing, hiking, picnicking and, at Bear Creek, camping – that the county instituted a parking fee from May 15 through September. The price is $5 per vehicle per day, or $30 annually.

    "The area up there was being loved to death. We're not trying to restrict anyone with the parking pass, instead limit the numbers because of the environmental factors," Dilley said.

    "This has been something that we're working on with the BLM and the Forest Service, trying to just make people aware: Tread lightly."

    North Fork Park drew an estimated 11,800 visitors from last May through September.

    Just north of Salem and Keizer is Spong's Landing Park, where a significant beautification and renovation project has been under way. Rock trails and additional picnic tables have been added, although April's flooding along the Willamette River impeded that work. The 61.6-acre park includes picnic tables and shelters, barbecues, play equipment, horseshoe courts and a ballfield.

    Reservations are not needed for picnic shelters at the county parks.

    The oldest park, dedicated in 1955, is Niagara County Park off Highway 22. "It's an absolutely beautiful park with a great interpretative trail and a beautiful view of the North Santiam River which runs through the park," Dilley said.

    As travelers and local residents enjoy the county parks, Dilley reminds them to use the trash cans or pack out their garbage.

    He adds: "Be safe. Tread lightly. Be respectful. Enjoy."

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    Marion County parks offer a wealth of recreational opportunities
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