January News from Marion County

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Marion County Oregon

January 25, 2019 

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In this issue:

Message from the chair

Photo of Commissioner Cameron

It’s almost a month since the new year began and Marion County is off and running. We have a lot to look forward to in 2019.

First, I’d like to give a warm welcome to our new commissioner, Colm Willis, who was sworn in on Jan. 7. He too has hit the ground running and is busy getting to know Marion County departments, staff, and our numerous community partners.

Looking forward, what will 2019 bring to Marion County?

Here are some of my goals:

  • We are working to form a broad community coalition to focus on the need for more housing units. Oregon fell 155,000 units behind over a 15-year period. Marion County has a role to play in finding ways to improve the number of housing units being constructed at all levels.
  • This year, the county is continuing outreach in the rural areas including the North Santiam Canyon and northern Marion County. We are also focusing on East Salem and serving their urban needs. We are planning to hold evening board sessions and town hall meetings in each of these areas throughout the year.
  • Riding along with county employees! I enjoy learning more about what our employees do day-to-day and how their work impacts county residents. Last year, I spent time with Public Works on a snow plow, with a paving crew, and spent a day with a Juvenile probation officer. I have a visit to Dog Services planned and am looking forward to scheduling more time with county staff this year.
  • As personal goal, I plan to continue focusing on an outward mindset, understanding others, and learning what is important to each individual. This helps me better serve Marion County’s residents and its more than 1,600 employees.

I am looking forward to the rest of 2019 and how we can continue to make Marion County a great place to live, work, and play! My door is open; please, feel free to contact me with your ideas about Marion County. I can be reached at (503) 588-5212 or kcameron@co.marion.or.us.



Commissioner Cameron with road crew

Marion County elected officials take oath of office

By Dick Hughes 

Commissioner Willis and Judge Bennett

Marion County gained a new commissioner on Jan. 7 as Colm Willis and five returning elected officials were sworn into office.

Willis was elected in November to succeed retiring Commissioner Janet Carlson. Also elected for the first time was District Attorney Paige Clarkson, who was appointed to the job last year. Re-elected were Commissioner Kevin Cameron, Sheriff Jason Myers, Justice of the Peace Janice Zyryanoff and Treasurer Laurie Steele.

A standing room-only audience filled the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square as one by one the officials promised to support the U.S. and Oregon constitutions, and the laws thereof, and faithfully perform the duties of their offices.

Willis, the last of the six to be sworn in, noted that he had known many in the audience his entire life.

“It takes a village to raise a commissioner, and I feel like you all have done a pretty good job so far. I trust that I’ll continue to be able to call you for your counsel as I go into this job,” he said. “And particularly I want to thank Commissioner Carlson for her service over the last almost two decades.

“As I learn about this job, I’ve come to realize how much my life has been impacted in ways both big and small by the work and the decisions that Commissioner Carlson has made.”

Commissioner Cameron was the first person taking the oath of office during the half-hour ceremony, and his remarks set the tone.

“I just want to say thank you for everybody who’s here to support not only myself but other elected officials who are being sworn in today,” he said, calling it an honor to serve with the county’s 1,700 employees.

That appreciation for county employees was a common theme.

“I love my job,” said District Attorney Clarkson. “I love working for this county. I love working for justice on behalf of our community. I love working with the people I get to work with every day, some of whom are here this morning.”

Sheriff Myers said of the staff: “They’re the greatest people on the planet that perform the job of being a sheriff’s deputy and keeping our community safe.”

“It’s a pleasure and an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Marion County,” said Justice of the Peace Zyryanoff, the longest-serving elected official, having started that job in 1987. “The people here at Marion County are absolutely wonderful people to work with.”

“I’ve been very lucky to have the support that I have had through my career here at Marion County,” said Treasurer Laurie Steele. “It’s been a great place to grow up, because I feel that’s what I’ve done since I started working at Marion County a long, long time ago.”

Commissioner Sam Brentano presided over the ceremony, and Marion County Circuit Judges Tracy Prall and Channing Bennett administered the oaths of office.

“I certainly pray for the success of all the new and old servants to Marion County,” Brentano said as the ceremony concluded. “I’m sure the path of the county is in good shape for a long time to come.”

Marion County elected officials

Pictured left to right: Circuit Court Presiding Judge Tracy Prall, District Attorney Paige Clarkson, Commissioner Kevin Cameron, Commissioner Colm Willis, Treasurer Laurie Steele, Justice of the Peace Janice Zyryanoff, Sheriff Jason Myers, and Circuit Court Judge Channing Bennett

Dog Services to expand evening and weekend services

Photo of dog with shelter staff

Beginning Monday, March 10, 2019, the Marion County Dog Shelter is introducing new public hours. The shelter will be open Monday – Friday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Additionally, dog control enforcement will be expanded to provide weekend service.

“The new hours are in response to community requests for evening shelter hours,” said Community Service Director Tamra Goettsch. “By staying open later we’ll be more responsive for found dog intake and lost dog returns, reuniting people and their pets that much faster.”  The expansion of dog control hours will allow dog control officers to increase dog safety services throughout Marion County. 

Purchasing of dog licenses and adoption services will be available during the shelter’s public hours.

Dog license and other fees will increase beginning February 1. Dog license and impound fees and fines are part of the shelter’s annual operating budget and are used to help cover the cost of shelter operations, including dog control officers who help maintain community safety. This will be the first increase in fees for the dog shelter since 2011 and the first increase to licensing fees since 2002. 

License fees for will increase from $17 to $20 annually for altered dogs and from $32 to $37 for non-altered dogs. Discounted fees are available for multi-year licenses and for senior dog owners. A full fee schedule is attached.

For more information about Marion Dog Services fees and hours, visit www.mcdogs.net, call (503) 588-5233, or email dog@co.marion.or.us

County approves Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

The Board of Commissioners recently approved the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018. Grove, Mueller & Swank, P.C. provided an unmodified opinion which is the highest level of assurance for audited financial statements. The audit was completed in accordance with government auditing standards and Oregon standards for local governments.

The CAFR provides an overview of the county’s financial position.

Marion County Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer said, “Marion County remains in good shape thanks to our knowledgeable and professional finance staff. They keep us on target and ensure our accounting procedures meet financial standards.”

Commissioner Kevin Cameron, board chair, said, “This report illustrates the county’s positive financial position. We have been judicious in how and when we borrow and we remain far below our debt limit which helps us keep a favorable bond rating.” 

Marion County received the Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for the annual financial report for the year ended June 30, 2017. This is the 17th consecutive year the county has received this award. The county has submitted the 2018 report for evaluation by GFOA.

Residents can review the 2018 CAFR, as well as prior reports, on the Marion County website at http://www.co.marion.or.us/FIN/Pages/cafr.aspx.