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Scott Drue resigns as superintendent

Scott Drue has resigned as superintendent of the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) amid a deficit projection of more than $825,000 and concerns from teachers of “toxic” leadership. Drue’s resignation was accepted by the SFSD Board during a special meeting March 13, effective immediately. The board then named Assistant Superintendent Dan Busch as acting superintendent. In a prepared statement, Drue […]

City of Silverton

Land use: Council hears from experts as comprehensive plan project looms

By James Day Housing continues to be a major concern statewide, with the Legislature passing another major housing bill in its recently completed short session. The City of Silverton decided to bone up on housing and land use issues in a March 18 joint session involving city staff, the City Council and the Planning Commission. The special meeting heard from […]

City of Silverton

Goal-setting – Silverton council establishes goals for year

By James Day The Silverton City Council has finalized its work on goal-setting for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. The goals were discussed at length at a nearly four-hour special session at The Oregon Garden on Feb. 6, tweaked at the Feb. 26 work session and received unanimous support at the March 4 regular meeting. The goals are […]

Rural industry – Marion County revives tax incentives

By Stephen Floyd Marion County has extended a recently-expired tax incentive program that allows rural industrial businesses to delay paying property taxes on facility improvements that create jobs. During the March 6 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, the Rural Industrial Property Tax Exemption Program was extended to 2030 after it expired Jan. 2. The program was first established […]

Wildfire danger – State takes another crack at judging fire risk

By James Day Two more meetings of a rulemaking advisory committee on updating the statewide wildfire hazard maps will be on Zoom in the coming weeks. The committee’s focus for these sessions will be to provide input on whether irrigation for farmland and agricultural crops should be incorporated into the calculations for wildfire hazard assessments.   One meeting was held on […]

Marion County

Marion County hosting environmental hazards survey

Marion County is encouraging residents to participate in a health and environmental hazards survey. The county is teaming up with Polk County and Willamette University on the survey, which is intended to gather community concerns about how heat waves, severe storms, wildfires, poor air and water quality and drought affect residents. You can participate by going to  co.marion.or.us/HLT/PH/PS  and clicking […]

City of Silverton

Silverton City Council – Community Center perplexity continues

By James Day Figuring out what is next for the Silverton Community Center is turning into a confusing game of musical chairs. The city holds the lease for the building, which is owned by the Oregon Military Department. That lease expires March 31, which means that tenants Jazzercise, Silverton Area Community Aid (SACA), WIC, the Silver Falls YMCA and the […]

Legal Matters: Sentencing – Courts hand out penalties for hit-and-run, domestic violence

100 months for DUII fatality A Silverton man has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for a DUII collision last year that killed a Keizer teenager. Gustavo Sosa, 27, pleaded guilty Feb. 1 in Marion County Circuit Court to second-degree manslaughter and hit-and-run for the May 23, 2023, death of Victor Andre Cortez-Andrade, 16. He also pleaded […]

Legal Matters: School district settles student injury suit

The Silver Falls School District (SFSD) has settled a personal injury lawsuit with a former Silverton Middle School student who slipped and broke a leg on a wet floor in 2017. On Dec. 21, 2023, Cramer vs. SFSD was dismissed in Marion County Circuit Court at the request of both parties after the district agreed to settle for $42,500. The […]

Bond issues: MASD uses ‘progressive design build’

By Stephen Floyd The Mount Angel School District (MASD) is taking an exceptional approach to bond-funded facility improvements that prioritizes total costs over specific projects. In December, the MASD Board voted to use a “progressive design build” strategy for $8.2 million in bond projects, which involves a designer and contractor collaborating on project plans. This differs from the “hard bid” […]

Bond issues: SFSD floats $73 million bond for May ballot

By Stephen Floyd The Silver Falls School District (SFSD) is discussing a possible $73 million facilities bond for the May 21 election to rebuild Silverton Middle School (SMS) and improve Silverton High School (SHS). During the district board’s Jan. 18 meeting, officials said this proposal would keep property tax rates on par with current rates for a construction bond for […]

Not so fast – FBYC halts purchase of former dorm buildings

By Stephen Floyd Plans by Father Bernard Youth Center (FBYC) in Mount Angel to purchase the property currently housing St. Joseph’s Shelter have been terminated after negotiations fell through. While the youth center hoped to finalize terms with owner Catholic Community Services (CCS) in December, parties remained far apart into the new year on sale price and use of the […]

Jessica Rae McCleery. Submitted Photo.

Legal Matters: Three years for fatal dog mauling

By Stephen Floyd After accepting a plea deal last month, a Bend woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for the fatal dog mauling of a former Silverton man. Jessica Rae McCleery, 38, was sentenced Dec. 29, 2023, in Deschutes County Circuit Court after pleading guilty Dec. 22 to charges including criminally-negligent homicide. McCleery admitted she was negligently […]

Agustin Barocio. Submitted Photo.

Legal Matters: ‘No active threats’ as search continues

Mount Angel Police Chief Mark Daniel said there are “no active threats to the community” as authorities search for a suspect in the Jan. 1 fatal shooting of a local resident. Agustin Barocio, 42, has been accused of killing Brandon Slack, 42, both of Mount Angel, and is the subject of a no-bail warrant on charges including second-degree murder with […]

Legal matters: Vineyard vs. PacifiCorp suit partially dismissed

By Stephen Floyd A lawsuit against PacifiCorp by a local vineyard over the 2020 wildfires has been partially dismissed as a potential trial remains pending. On Dec. 13, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Channing Bennett signed an order dismissing a claim of corruption of evidence in Willamette Valley Vineyards, Inc. vs. PacifiCorp et al. The plaintiff voluntarily agreed to dismiss […]

Legal matters: Woman pleads guilty in dog mauling death

A Bend woman has accepted a plea deal after her dogs fatally mauled a former Silverton man to death in July. She faces up to 20 years in prison during sentencing later this month. Jessica Rae McCleery, 38, pled guilty Dec. 21 in Deschutes County Circuit Court to criminally negligent homicide and other charges for the July 19 death of […]

Legal matters: Two-year sentence for baseball bat assault

A Silverton man has been sentenced to two years in prison after attacking another man with a baseball bat. Zachary Andrew Short, 31, pleaded guilty Nov. 28 in Marion County Circuit Court to unlawful use of a weapon and attempted second-degree assault for an incident on Aug. 5. Short allegedly injured a man known to him with a bat. Additional […]

Legal matters: New charges filed in teen abuse case

A Silverton man accused of sexually abusing a teenager is facing a slew of new charges related to child pornography. Eli Freedom Fischer, 46, was indicted Nov. 30 in Marion County Circuit Court on new charges of first-degree encouraging child sex abuse. This was in addition to existing charges of second-degree sexual abuse, third-degree sexual abuse and using a child […]

Legal matters: Trial set for hit-and-run death of teenager

A March trial has been set for a Silverton man accused of killing a Keizer teenager after an alleged hit-and-run collision in May. Gustavo Sosa, 27, is scheduled for a four-day trial beginning March 12, 2024, in Marion County Circuit Court on charges including first-degree manslaughter for the death of Victor Andre Cortez-Andrade, 16. Sosa allegedly rear-ended a vehicle occupied […]

Legal matters: Restraining order fails to stop domestic assault

A Bend man has been sentenced to a year-and-a-half of probation after pleading guilty to attacking a Silverton man with a stick while the victim had an active restraining order against him. Brandon Lynn Rogers, 42, pleaded guilty Nov. 9 in Marion County Circuit Court to attempted unlawful use of a weapon and contempt of court.  He was sentenced to […]

Legal matters: Man commended for community service

A former Silverton man who pleaded guilty in June to a local graffiti spree has received high praise after completing community service through Portland Parks & Recreation. Roman Lucian Cunningham, 24, of Portland, agreed to serve 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty June 29 in Marion County Circuit Court to first-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested in December […]

The Eureka property. James Day

Silverton council backs Eureka zone change

The Silverton City Council is heading toward a decision that will mean more housing than previously planned for a property on Eureka Avenue just east of The Oregon Garden. Developers already had received approval to build up to 42 units on the 5.15-acre property, which was zoned R-1 or single-family residential. During a public hearing at the council’s Dec. 4 […]

Next steps? May school bond seems less likely after SFSD Board meeting

By Stephen Floyd A May 2024 bond proposal seems less likely – but has not been ruled out – after the first meeting of the Silver Falls School District Board since the defeat of Measure 24-486 on Nov. 7. The measure would have raised $138 million for school improvements including $75 million to replace Silverton Middle School. At the latest […]

City of Mt. Angel

Streamlining – Mt. Angel sewer grants revised

By Stephen Floyd The City of Mount Angel is removing barriers to sewer lateral repair grants in the hopes that more residents will apply for assistance. During the Nov. 6 meeting of the Mount Angel City Council, amendments were made to the Sewer Lateral Replacement or Repair Assistance Program that took effect immediately. The city started the program in 2012, […]

Silverton city manager Cory Misley. James Day

On the job: New Silverton city manager listening, learning

By James Day Cory Misley is just starting his second month as Silverton’s city manager. His schedule sounds punishing. He has met with all the councilors and Mayor Jason Freilinger. Plus Chamber representatives, social-service and nonprofit directors, and with his next whirlwind tour government officials such as those of Marion County, Governor Tina Kotek’s office, and the state Legislature. “I’m […]