Wed. Jul 15th, 2020

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Community News


Our 155th year is unlike any other.

The enduring, fun-filled traditions of the Oregon State Fair have faced challenges before, but none have created as much uncertainty as Covid-19. So to be super clear, planning and preparations for the 2020 Fair are in full swing. We open on Friday, August 28 and run through Labor Day. Still, it’s impossible to know what changes this pandemic might force on the Fair as summer approaches. Directives from federal, state and local governments—aimed to safeguard the health and safety of all Oregonians—will inform any potential decisions. After all, our chief concern is your wellbeing. And if there’s anything we know for sure, it’s that Oregonians will be more than ready to have some good ol’ state fair fun when those gates swing open. Until then, please be safe. We look forward to seeing you at “Summer’s Big Finish”, also known as the 155th Oregon State Fair.


We're halfway through April!
Our CEO, Alison Kelley, has an update on our progress so far.

See what your donation will do!

Check out the video below to see last year's Celebrate Spring! presentation by our Medical Director, Dr. Erin Hurley.

Thank you for supporting us!
Please keep an eye out for more updates later in the month.
Special thanks to everyone who participated in #BlueOutDay!


These are truly unique and challenging times for our community including our business community. Having been self employed for a substantial part of my professional life I understand the impact current events around the health crisis are posing.
From my perspective at City Hall, this has been a real disaster for many of local businesses. On a personal level I miss the interaction with friends, neighbors and colleagues and have the quiet sense of dread a person my age has these days (I’m 71).
As I move around the community, I am consistently inspired by the creativity of businesses to serve us all and of government to adapt to the particular needs we face. Perhaps most notable to me has been the tremendous crisis response we’ve seen from our first responders and Salem Health. To relate everything I’ve seen done and being done would take more space than I have here.
Right now, I want to focus on the work being done in the city in cooperation with federal, state and regional partners to prepare for the immediate impacts of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” policy and closure of so many businesses, and also to highlight areas of normalcy in our economy.

We are coordinating our working with partners to ensure we have the most current information and resources to share with area businesses. The city has added a business resource page to the City’s COVID-19 information and are getting information our through the City’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages. Follow this information as
To make it easier to access “to go” food options from downtown businesses, we’ve temporarily converted several downtown parking spaces to 15-minute “to go” spaces.
Building permits can be submitted on line. Construction so far has not been interrupted by the virus pandemic and is still going at a record pace reflecting the booming economy of only a few weeks ago. The city is strongly supporting construction activity in Salem and providing inspections to keep projects moving forward.
Land Use applications can also be submitted online. Pre-application conferences are being conducted remotely and standard review times continue to be met.
The city also is aware of the financial burden our businesses are facing and has made some changes to reflect this fact. Here are two examples:

  • Withdrawal of the employee payroll tax proposal was accepted by the City Council on March 23. The tax, which was set for a vote on the May Primary Ballot, is now off the ballot.
  • Through April 29, The City not shut off water service due to customers due to nonpayment to ensure that residents can wash frequently in accordance with Center for Disease Control’s recommended sanitation practices while at home.
  • Closed city libraries and beefed up the online use of ematerials.
  • I’m serving on the Governor’s Regional Recovery Team preparing to disperse federal and state funds as they become available.

Finally, I wish you all the best in these trying times and ask that you feel free anytime to contact me by phone at 503-588-6255 or email at I remain absolutely committed to our economic future and am actively engaged in the activities set to bring us roaring back to business when this all ends.


Salem Chamber CEO Column by Tom Hoffert, Salem Area Chamber of Commerce


The Salem Chamber believes in helping businesses prosper so our entire community may thrive.  Small business owners are cut from a unique cloth as driven entrepreneurs, calculated risk takers, and aspirational leaders who envision a brighter tomorrow.  When a flashpoint moment such as the COVID-19 novel virus provides an unprecedented disruption in the American economy, it is those same small business owners and employees who take thoughtful steps towards regaining traction and boldly forging forward.  Like our neighbors and friends, businesses are also hunkered down in social distancing to smooth the curve.  But businesses are also posturing down to pounce at new opportunities in the days and weeks ahead.  This unique passage of time will be reflected back on as both challenging as well as inspiring.  Salem businesses will have casualties, but there also will be champions.  We know of layoffs in many sectors, most notably within the foodservice and travel/hotel industries.  Yet we see many local restaurant owners braving the odds and keeping many of their employees working to provide to-go or delivery options for our community.  Total strangers are rallying together on the Salem Eats Facebook page to share photos and descriptions on a great takeout experience they enjoyed from a local restaurant.  Coronavirus has limited the ability for citizens to volunteer at local nonprofit organizations, yet we witnessed Salem Health’s request for community assistance in sewing health care masks for their nurses and personnel.  Within minutes, the Salem community had picked up every available sewing kit from Salem Health and a new volunteer team of community members began applying their craft at sewing tables across the city.  Our educators, in a very short amount of time, are pivoting their teaching skills towards online and virtual portals to engage and educate children and young adults.  Our grocers, farmers, and food manufacturers continue to keep our Salem community nourished and stocked with necessities.  We will make it through this complex moment in time, and the Salem Chamber is committed to providing dynamic strategies and access to resources designed to foster hope and economic security.  Salem businesses are positioning themselves to rise up in a new economy.  The Salem Chamber will be by your side with tactical resources and encouragement along each step of this journey.


A Message From Gerry Frank

At the height of the Great Depression in the 1930's, the family department store, Meier & Frank, ran a full-page ad on the back of the Sunday Oregonian. It had one word - Confidence. The following morning, hundreds of Oregonians took their savings out of local banks and brought it to Meier & Frank for safe keeping. They did this because of the trust and confidence they had in the institution since 1857. In turn, the store showed their confidence by cancelling the interest on all credit accounts and keeping the customers funds in savings as long as they needed. I couldn't help but think about that these days, with the serious troubles facing our community, state and nation. We must remain confident, innovative and take the time to look out for those who need special care and attention.

We've been through serious problems before, and because of the resilience of the American people, we have overcome the difficulties and come out a stronger nation. We will do it again. It's up to us to keep our chins up, spirits strong and continue to support each other through this challenging time.

Stay healthy and safe. Together, we will overcome this.
Gerry Frank


Kickin’ Cancer (in the Donkey) 

What is the best thing a woman can do to battle cancer?  Go running in the mud with dozens of enthusiastic supporters, of course.  That is exactly what Brenda Farris did at the suggestion of her brother, Baron Robison.  Along with supplements, Brenda is fighting metastatic breast cancer with diet and exercise.  She thought it would be an impressive display of her determination to beat it by participating in the Warrior Dash in Canby, OR.  She made the decision to do it in January 2018 and by May she, along with 42 other runners, wearing HOT pink t-shirts were covered in mud.  This bold, courageous plan attracted the attention of KGW’s Tracy Barry who produced a feature story for a Channel 8 news program that aired the beginning of March 2018.  (To get the link to Tracy Barry’s feature on KGW Channel 8, go to the home page of

As Brenda was flying home to Mesa, AZ Baron realized her story, to stay alive, had actually inspired others to fight their own fight for their own reasons.  So in July 2018, Brenda and Baron formed HelpTeamBrenda, a business designed for fundraising along with promoting cancer awareness and educate people how to  ProActively  Prevent.  In Aug. 2018 Brenda returned to Oregon for a Spartan race and held a joint fundraiser for a coworker of Baron’s who was also dealing with breast cancer.  She returned again in October for another fundraiser to assist a family who had lost their father to brain cancer. In Dec.2018 HelpTeamBrenda partnered with MOD Pizza locations in Salem, Sherwood, Lake Oswego, and Milwaukie to fundraise for GoTeamMarissa that assisted Marissa Leigh in her struggle with breast cancer.

After the success of these fundraisers Baron realized it was time to create “WeAreTheSolution – United to Prevent” (WATSUP), as a Domestic Non-Profit Corporation in Oregon.  WATSUP’s mission is to: EMPOWER individuals to take control of their own bodies, so that cancer cases are significantly reduced, through ProActive Prevention.  WATSUP!’s movement is gaining speed as more people believe that there is a solution.  Their goal is to fund services that are needed, but are not being provided by other organizations.  WATSUP plans to make these “gap services” available for those combating cancer.  For example: the $500 per month Brenda spends on supplements that are not covered by her insurance.

For more inspiring stories go to

Baron Robison can be reached at


You can help children during this crisis!
Join the campaign!

The COVID-19 pandemic is a growing crisis for our community, especially for children. Job layoffs and isolation are putting adults on edge and vulnerable children at greater risk for abuse. Children all around us are suffering in isolation and need our services now more than ever. Like many other organizations, Liberty House’s income has dropped during the month of March and yet we are seeing almost the same number of children in our clinic and therapy programs. To meet the need, we are launching a new campaign called “Cherish the Children.”

YOU can help local children by being part of this campaign. During the month of April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month, you can Cherish the Children by donating and following us on social media. Your likes and shares will help spread critical resources to families beyond our reach and in need of encouragement and guidance, and your generosity will help keep Liberty House’s doors open and prepared for a surge of child abuse reports when social distancing ends.