City of Salem
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News Releases
Salem Fire Department Urges Cold Water Safety Awareness - 05/19/17

SALEM -- The Salem Fire Department reminds everyone to maintain an awareness of the effects of cold water temperatures as summer draws near. The warm and sunny weather is upon us which typically draws many to local bodies of water for various recreational purposes. However, water temperatures typically remain dangerously cold this time of year, even though the air temperatures are warm and the sun is out.

Salem Fire Department Battalion Chief and Water Rescue Team Leader Ty Gunesch reminds everyone to "be aware that the water temperature may be colder than you think and cause a rapid drop in your body temperature." According to the National Center for Cold Water Safety: "Cold water can kill you in less than a minute." A rapid drop in body temperature could impact a person's ability to reach shore.

The National Center for Cold Water Safety recommends the following "Five Gold Rules"

1) Always Wear Your Personal Flotation Device
2) Always Dress For The Water Temperature
3) Field-Test Your Gear
4) Swim-Test Your Gear Every Time You Go Out
5) Imagine The Worst That Could Happen and Plan For It

Fire Chief Mike Niblock encourages everyone to "safely enjoy all the recreational activities the City of Salem has to offer, but to be especially mindful of water temperatures this time of year."

A 'Thank You' to Salem Residents from Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett for Passing the Police Facility Bond - 05/17/17

As Mayor, I want to thank Salem residents for voting to fund the construction of this desperately needed police facility. The Salem Police Department is one of the finest police agencies in the State and the need for a larger facility has been there for 40 years. The new facility will ensure that the SPD is able to properly protect the City as it grows and changes in the coming decades.

I also want to ensure residents that it is the intention of Council and the City to put a bond on the November ballot that will fund seismic retrofitting of the City Library. As with the police bond, the City will conduct a transparent public information campaign for the Library bond. This way residents will feel confident they have a firm understanding of the facts when they fill out their ballot.

Thank you again!

Mayor Chuck Bennett

Salem City Council Approves Code Changes to Allow Ridesharing Companies - 05/09/17

Salem, Ore. -- Salem City Council passed an ordinance at the May 8 City Council meeting that makes it easier for transportation network companies (TNCs), like Uber or Lyft, to operate in City limits. Because ordinances go into effect 30 days after Council approval, TNCs can apply for a license to operate in the City on June 7, 2017. Once a TNC receives its license, its network of drivers can begin working within City limits.

"Salem residents and visitors alike, have been asking for this for years," says Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett. "Allowing rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft in Salem is a step toward addressing the need to provide different kinds of transportation in the City."

Transportation network companies, also known as ridesharing companies, use mobile apps or websites to connect people in need of transportation with drivers providing transportation. The changes which allow TNCs were made to Salem Revised Code Chapter 30, which governs vehicles-for-hire, such as taxis and other transportation options.


Union Street NE and Commercial Street NE Traffic Signal - 05/08/17

This summer, the City of Salem will make it safer for people walking and biking between the Union Street Bridge and downtown Salem by adding a new traffic signal at the busy intersection of Union Street NE and Commercial Street NE. The project was identified as a priority by community members in the Central Mobility Study and was adopted by the Salem City Council in 2013. According to project manager Julie Titchbourne, the signal " the first step in connecting the Union Street Bridge with 12th Street NE as part of the Family-Friendly Bikeway."

The $1.13 million intersection improvement starts this June and is jointly funded by Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Area and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The new signal will direct eastbound traffic south on Commercial Street NE, making it safer for bicycle and pedestrian traffic traveling east and west. The project will also extend curbs and add a median island to shorten the crossing distance at the intersection. The signal will be operational by the end of October.
"This new signal project does more than just fulfill a key recommendation of the 2013 Central Mobility Study," says Mayor Chuck Bennett "We are making it safer for people to bike and walk in Salem."

To learn more about the project and the 2013 Central Mobility Study, visit

Wallace Marine Park Boat Dock Closure - 05/05/17

Wallace Marine Park boat dock remains closed until further notice.
The dock was stuck by an unknown object and severely damaged on April 27, 2017.
A grant from the State Marine Board has been approved to finance the removal, repairs, and
re-installation of the dock. Dock repairs are anticipated to be completed by the end of June.

2017 Annual Water Quality Report - 05/01/17

The City of Salem has published its 2017 Water Quality Report. It is available in both English and Spanish on the City of Salem Website:
Residents can request a printed copy by calling Public Works Dispatch at: 503-588-6333.

In 2016, City of Salem drinking water met or surpassed all public health requirements set by the Oregon Health Authority and the EPA.

While many components of the report are mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the City of Salem prides itself in providing a more comprehensive report to its customers.

Salem's Report includes information about:
* Possible water contaminants
* Salem's sources of drinking water
* Ways to get involved
* Water conservation

"Water is the most valuable natural resource in the world today, and the City of Salem is fortunate to have an extremely high-quality, reliable, and abundant source," says Dwayne Barnes, Acting Utility Operations Manager. He adds, "It's easy to take this precious resource for granted until you learn about the troubles other areas of the United States and the world are experiencing with their water supply. We often forget about the treatment process, hundreds of miles of water mains, pump stations, reservoirs, and dedicated staff it takes to deliver water to the average residential customer for less than a penny a gallon."

Corrected Street Closures for May 1, 2017, March and Rally - 04/27/17

On Monday, May 1, 2017, several streets in downtown Salem and around the State Capitol area will be closed or partially closed for a May Day rally and march.

At 10:00 a.m., the following street segments will close:

* Court Street NE between 12th Street NE and Cottage Street NE
* Waverly Street NE between Court Street NE and State Street
* Winter Street NE between Court Street NE and Chemeketa Street NE
* Capitol Street NE between Court Street NE and Chemeketa Street NE

At 12:30 a.m., the following additional street segments will close:

* Cottage Street NE between Court Street NE and State Street
* State Street between Church Street and 12th Street
* Winter Street SE between State Street and Ferry Street SE
* Capitol Street NE between Chemeketa Street NE and Center Street NE
* Winter Street NE between Chemeketa Street NE and Center Street NE
* Chemeketa Street NE between Capitol Street NE and Cottage Street NE

The march begins at 1 p.m. and will move as follows:

1. begin on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol Building
2. then west on Court Street NE
3. turn south on Cottage Street NE
4. turn east on State Street,
5. turn north on Waverly Street NE
6. turn west on Court Street NE
7. turn north on Capitol Street NE
8. turn west on Center Street NE
9. turn south on Winter Street NE
10. turn west on Chemeketa Street NE
11. turn left (south) on Cottage Street NE
12. turn left (east) on Court Street NE
13. then proceed back to the front steps of the Oregon State Capitol Building.

Drivers should avoid these areas or anticipate delays due to congestion. All streets are expected to reopen by 3 p.m.

Attached Media Files: 2017_Rally_Marching_route.pdf
Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge Opens to the Public on April 28 - 04/25/17

Salem, Ore. -- On Friday, April 28 at 6 a.m., the City of Salem will open the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge to the public. The bridge will remain open until June, when it will be temporarily closed to allow the contractor to safely remove the temporary work structures and finish concrete walls, sidewalks, and landscaping. This final construction phase must wait until June due to environmental regulations and requirements limiting access in the Willamette Slough. The City will hold a public Grand Opening ceremony in August to celebrate the official, and permanent, opening of the bridge.

The new bridge connects a newly paved trail with the Minto Conservation Area and 1,200 acres of Minto Brown Island Park. Because the Conservation Area contains sensitive habitat and wildlife, the City reminds residents to stay on the trail and keep their pets on leashes.

"The Peter Courtney Bridge is the realization of a decades-old community plan to connect Minto Island to the rest of Salem," says Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett. "The bridge is an iconic and valuable addition to Oregon's capital city."

First envisioned in 1975, the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge and Trail is the last critical link in connecting 1,300 acres of City parks and nearly 30 miles of trails between South Salem, Downtown, and West Salem. When combined, this acreage is larger than New York City's Central Park. To learn more about the project, and to sign up for Grand Opening updates, please visit the project page at the City of Salem website link below.