COVID-19 Update: Public Safety, Streets and Parks in Salem

Posted on July 17, 2020

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.


  • 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.

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 LibraryCenter 50+Municipal Court formsSalem 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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