State unemployment rate continues to fall

SALEM — Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in August from 10.4 percent in July. The unemployment rate was more than double last year’s rate of 3.6 percent in August 2019. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent in August from 10.2 percent in July.

August’s report does not take into account the wildfires that devasted communities across Oregon.

“This release covers the Oregon employment situation in August,” said a statement from the Oregon Employment Department. “It does not capture the personal and economic disruption caused by these disasters.

Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 11,300 jobs in August, following a revised gain of 17,700 jobs in July. Over the past four months, employers added back 41 percent of the jobs that were cut in March and April.

Over-the-month job gains in August were largest in leisure and hospitality (+4,200 jobs); retail trade (+3,300); construction (+3,200); and government (+3,000). Two industries cut a substantial number of jobs in August: wholesale trade (-1,400 jobs) and health care and social assistance (-1,400).

Not all industries have rebounded with substantial job growth over the past four months. In August, the following industries remained near their low point for the year: manufacturing; government; information; and professional and business services.

Public can participate in CSD board meetings

INDEPENDENCE — The Central School District Board of Directors meeting will be livestreamed at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 5 on their YouTube channel, Info Central.

To watch, link to the school board livestream at the Info Central YouTube channel at

To attend the webinar meeting, register in advance at

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Members of the public who would like to address the board, can sign up for public comment by using the Google form at

The speaker’s name will be called when it is their turn to address the school board.

Speaker’s comments in this forum are limited to three minutes, but additional information may be sent to Oregon law prohibits the board from discussing specific employees or their job performance.

Polk County firefighters battle barn blaze

DALLAS — Personnel from across Polk County responded to a barn fire on Tuesday (Sept. 15) in the 3400 block of Liberty Road, Dallas. 

Sheridan, Southwest Polk and West Valley Fire firefighters responded to find a 1,200 square-foot barn full of hay on fire. Due to the nature of the fire, it created a lot of smoke, but firefighters contained it to within the structure. 

Salem Fire, Dallas Fire, Polk County Fire District No. 1, Falls City Fire, Oregon Department of Forestry, Polk County Public Works, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office assisted on the scene.

Southwest Polk officials confirmed that there was more than one fire at the location. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of the fires.

Two Polk deputies graduate from police academy

SALEM — The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) announced the graduation of two Polk County deputies as part of its 398 Basic Police Class.

The Polk County deputies are:  Deputy Sheriff Levi Higgins and Deputy Sheriff Erik Hochhalter.

The class is 16 weeks and includes dozens of training areas including survival skills, firearms, emergency vehicle operations, ethics, cultural diversity, problem solving, community policing, elder abuse, drug recognition, and dozens of other subjects.

A private ceremony was held on July 30 to mark the graduation at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic and the need for social distancing the DPSST closed the ceremony to the public. However, but would like to publicly congratulate Basic Police #BP398 on their successful completion of basic training.

Lions club collects donations for fire victims

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- The Central Lions Club of Monmouth-Independence is collecting donations for fire victims in the Santiam Canyon. All donations will be forward to the Mill City Lions Club, folks who know best where the greatest need is, and there will be no administrative overhead. Money may be sent to Central Lions, P.O. Box 101, Independence, OR 97351. Tax ID number available on request. Contact or

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