Sparrow Furniture in Oregon gives refugees jobs, help adjusting to American life

brown world map illustration

In the last two and a half years, about 230 refugees have resettled in Salem, fleeing violence and persecution around the world.

Five refugees make up the current workforce of Sparrow Furniture, a new socially conscious business in Salem.

Sparrow employees work about 30 hours a week, with an hour of English classes four days a week. They receive mentorship on resume writing, interview skills and financial literacy, as well as soft skills like understanding American work culture.

The goal is to help refugees in Oregon’s capital be successful sooner.

The Statesman Journal explored how the business came to be and the stories behind the refugees who make it.

Read and watch here.


School board approves use of eminent domain to acquire land from Catholic church

agree agreement ankreuzen arrangement

Salem-Keizer Public Schools is poised to gain about six acres of land owned by St. Edward Catholic Church in Keizer, either by having an offer accepted or by exercising eminent domain.

At its meeting Nov. 13, the Salem-Keizer School Board unanimously approved a “resolution of necessity,” allowing the district to use eminent domain to condemn the land, thereby forcing the sale if church leaders do not accept the district’s offer or reach an agreement in negotiation.

District officials argue the land is needed to address traffic and safety concerns at McNary High School, but church leaders disagree and plan to fight the use of eminent domain.

Read the full story here.

Election results: Oregon races, measures

i voted sticker lot

Natalie Pate and the rest of the Statesman Journal staff covered various Oregon races and ballot measures before and after election day, Nov. 6, 2018.

Here are the result stories Natalie wrote:

For additional election results coverage by Statesman Journal staff, go to

Meet the 2018 Crystal Apple Award winners from Salem and Keizer schools

close up of apple on top of books

Every year, a select group from Salem-Keizer Public School’s 5,000 educators are honored with a Crystal Apple Award — a special recognition for exceeding their regular duties to demonstrate best practices and improve the lives of students.

Thursday, Nov. 1, 12 recipients — including teachers, administrators and support staff — were chosen from 61 nominees and celebrated before a full house at Salem’s historic Elsinore Theatre.

Meet this year’s honorees here.

Salem-Keizer school report cards show mix of progress, declines in midst of state-level controversy

person writing on notebook

Controversy struck this week when Oregon Department of Education officials proposed the 2017-18 At-A-Glance profiles not be released until after the Nov. 6 election.

The reports were released a day ahead of the original schedule due to the ensuing backlash.

The Statesman Journal took a look at how Salem-Keizer is doing. Read the story here.

SKEF owes multiple vendors payments

photo of a girl holding a paint brush

The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation is months behind in payments to various vendors.

The Statesman Journal has confirmed at least five vendors that worked with the foundation this year on various events had not been paid-in-full as of Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, with outstanding amounts ranging from about $300 to nearly $16,000.

Read the full story here.

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