City of Salem
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News Releases
Salem Receives State Funding for Drinking Water System Improvements - 08/11/20

Salem, Ore. — Monday evening, August 10, 2020, in a Special Session, the State Legislature provided funding assistance for much-needed Salem drinking water improvements. 

“We are grateful to the efforts of Senator Courtney, the entire Salem area delegation, and State Treasurer Tobias Read, for their support and assistance with City water system improvements,” said Mayor Chuck Bennett.  “Legislation passed in the Special Session will bring $20.3 million to Salem and help ensure the City can continue to meet our community and our water customer’s drinking water needs.”

Funds will support two major water quality, resiliency and efficiency projects.  The State assistance will help to fund these capacity improvements:

  • Aquifer Storage and Recovery Improvements.  This project will add a water treatment facility to the existing water storage and recovery system in Woodmansee Park and add up to two additional wells and piping to increase capacity during high water demand periods.  
  • City of Turner Pump Station. This project will add a new water pump station in the City of Turner that will serve the City with water after it passes through the City of Salem’s Franzen Reservoir.  This pump station will provide more operational flexibility for the City of Turner and the City of Salem. 

This summer, the City is finishing construction of the new ozone treatment system.  The City of Salem is installing a state-of-the-art ozone treatment system to remove cyanotoxins.  Ozone makes our water crystal clear, improves the taste, and can remove odors.  Once in operation in spring 2021, ozone will be our robust, long-term insurance policy against cyanotoxins.  Learn more about how the ozone system works

You can track current drinking water quality test data on the City’s website here: https://www.cityofsalem.net/drinking-water

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Grant Funding Available for Salem Non-Profits Impacted by COVID-19 - 08/10/20

Salem, Ore. — Are you a Salem cultural or heritage focused non-profit organization in need of financial support due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?  Help is now available for Salem 501.c3 organizations with a physical presence open to the public, that have been under a mandatory change-in-service, or closure, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Salem is committed to supporting community non-profits affected by the pandemic, “We know that many of our local cultural and heritage-focused non-profits have endured many challenges as a result of COVID-19. We are hopeful that access to these grants can assist them,” said Salem Mayor, Chuck Bennett.

The Salem City Council has dedicated $25,000 to distribute grants up to $5,000. Grant will be reimbursements for funds utilized in a two-month period. 

Grant  applications will be available on the City’s website on Mon., Aug.17, 2020 at 8 a.m. All applications must be submitted by Wed., Aug. 19, 2020 at 5 p.m. to be eligible. Funding decisions will be made via lottery.

Priority will be given to organizations that have not accessed other COVID-19 financial assistance programs. Only 501.c3 non-profit organizations with a cultural or heritage focus that are located within the Salem City limits and have a physical location in the community will be funded. Service organizations are not eligible.  To verify whether an address is in the city limits, visit the City’s website.

The City expects to launch two additional grant programs for small businesses later this summer and early fall.

For more information, visit the City of Salem website or call 503-540-2480.

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City of Salem Reports Sewer Overflow Event - 07/22/20

The City of Salem announced that an overflow of raw sewage occurred into Waln Creek on July 22 at approximately 12:15 p.m. near Springwood Ave SE and Wipwood Dr SE. Approximately 50 gallons of raw sewage were spilled at the site. Salem Public Works Department crews were immediately dispatched to the site and stopped the overflow at approximately 1:05 p.m. City of Salem Environmental Services staff collected surface water samples from Waln Creek. Any bacteria that entered the site should be flushed out of the water body in the next few days. 

 

The cause of the spill is currently under investigation. 

 

If you see an overflowing manhole or wish to report a spill, please call the Public Works Department Dispatch Center at 503-588-6333.

COVID-19 Update: Public Safety, Streets and Parks in Salem - 07/17/20

Salem, Ore. —At the City of Salem, our primary concern is the health and safety of our community and of our employees.  Together, with everyone doing their part, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the severity of risk to everyone in our community. 

The Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon Health Authority continue to advise that we should take precautions to help keep ourselves healthy by wearing face coverings, maintaining a safe distance from those outside our family groups, limit gatherings to no more than ten people indoors, and keep our hands clean. 

Local governments have a couple of different roles within our communities. At the forefront, is our responsibility for our community’s health and safety.  With the increasing spread and number of cases of the Coronavirus growing in our community, we are reminded that we all share in that responsibility.  By wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance from others, we are all doing our part to slow the spread of the virus for our community.

We also host events that bring our community together, we manage and regulate the use of City streets and public spaces, we provide some essential services in our community, and we work with local businesses to help them grow and thrive.  

Streets

  • Restaurant Seating. To create more space for socially distanced dining and shopping in the downtown, we’ve opened some downtown streets and on-street parking spaces for restaurant and retail use.  We’re grateful for the guidance from public health agencies to restaurants and local businesses in operating safely – indoors or out of doors – during this unprecedented time.
  • Issuing Permits for Marches.  Our preference is to be in conversation with organizers of marches or demonstrations that are planned for City streets.  When we work together, by applying for and issuing a permit for a march and demonstration, we are better able to ensure the safety of all involved in the march, and those passing by in cars, on bikes or on foot by temporarily closing streets along the planned route.  While issuing permits is always preferred, we know that demonstrations will occur regardless of whether the City issues a permit or closes a street.  We hope that participants will follow public health agency guidance for gatherings.  

Parks and City Facilities

Out of concern for public health, earlier this summer we canceled City-sponsored events at Riverfront Park.  As the number of cases has increased and guidance from public health agencies on gatherings has become more restrictive, we have had to cancel reserved events because the new requirements for indoor or outdoor activities cannot be met. We are refunding the reservation fees for canceled events.  

Due to COVID-19, parks and other City facilities are not available for reservation.  When the City charges someone to reserve a park facility, the State’s reopening guidelines place responsibility on the City for monitoring for social distancing, mask use, and contact tracing.  At this time, we are not staffed to ensure private groups using City facilities can meet public health requirements.  The City has continued to keep the city’s parks open throughout this period, and the city’s park facilities remain available on a first-come-first-served basis. Park users must follow Oregon Health Authority guidelines and comply with Governor Brown’s emergency orders by continuing to maintain social distance from others outside their family group and take other safety precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.  https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19/  

City Services

Essential services: if you need help, call us.  The Pandemic has had no effect on emergency response, public safety and other essential services, including water service to all customers.  For emergencies, dial 9-1-1.  We have staff available 24 hours a day in our dispatch center at 503-588-6311. 

Community services.  We are still offering limited capacity outdoor recreation programs where they can meet the latest safety guidelines.

Most City services are available to the community via our website. Building permits and land use applications may be submitted online. Utility billsparking tickets, and other business with the City may also be conducted online. Other on-line resources include: Salem Public Library, Center 50+, Municipal Court forms, Salem Police Records Requests or Submit a Police Report, and Parks and Recreation programs.

Suspension of In-Person Services at Civic Center .  The City of Salem will close limited in-person services at the Civic Center at close of business Friday, July 17, 2020 due to the increasing number of new Coronavirus infections in our community and additional guidance provided by public health agencies earlier this week about limited indoor gatherings to no more than ten people.  Salem will return to providing service to our community through our call-in, virtual, and electronic portals until further notice. 

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City Suspends In-person Services Pending Reduced Risk of COVID-19 Spread - 07/16/20

Salem, Ore. —The City of Salem will close limited in-person services at the Civic Center at close of business Friday, July 17, 2020 due to the increasing number of new Coronavirus infections in our community and additional guidance provided by public health agencies earlier this week about limiting indoor gatherings to no more than ten people. Salem will return to providing service to our community through our call-in, virtual, and electronic portals until further notice. 

“For everyone’s safety, we’ve decided to close our storefronts.  We don’t want to be a source of the spread of this virus,” said Fire Chief Mike Niblock.  “We’re grateful to our community for helping those in need, doing their part to reduce the spread by wearing masks and social distancing, and for staying strong in these challenging times.  We continue to closely monitor the evolving public health situation and rely on guidance from public health agencies on the best ways to keep our community safe.”

This change will effectively close the limited in-person bill payment, parks reservations, and development permit service center the City had begun offering on July 6, 2020.  While some customers have returned to the Civic Center, the City isn’t seeing the volume of customers anticipated at its in-person service locations.   Most of our customers continue to make use of e-services.  For example, permits for development have remained on pace with last year.

If you need help, call us.  The change will have no effect on emergency response, public safety and other essential services, including water service to all customers.  For emergencies, dial 9-1-1.  We have staff available 24 hours a day in our dispatch center at 503-588-6311. 

Most City services are available to the community via our website. Building permits and land use applications may be submitted online. Utility billsparking tickets, and other business with the City may also be conducted online. Other on-line resources include: Salem Public Library, Center 50+, Municipal Court forms, Salem Police Records Requests or Submit a Police Report.

Information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is changing by the hour and by the day.  At this time, there is no planned date to reopen in-person services.

Our response to the virus continues to require changes in how we serve our community.  We’ll continue to share new information and how it will impact City services on our website (https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/covid19.aspx) and through social media.