Be transparent with Salem residents, especially where their health is concerned

It’s not difficult to understand reasons for keeping key community emergency details confidential.
In society today, safeguards against tampering and vandalism are a necessity not a luxury.
Late Friday night, a semi-tanker truck slid on ice and overturned on Highway 22 at milepost 63.
The crash killed the truck driver and caused nearly 12,000 gallons of fuel to spill onto the roadway and into the North Santiam River, the source of Salem’s drinking water.
Salem turned off its water intake at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday night but chose not to notify the public that it was switching to alternative water sources including storage reserves and groundwater wells.
Instead of letting residents wonder and worry about how soon the contamination might make it downstream, the city kept silent.
Residents should have been promptly notified of the intake switch.
It should not be in writing that the media and the public shouldn’t be notified when the city is turning off its water intake and switching sources, which are finite.
But it should also learn promptly from the city when decisions are made about issues as important as the source of our drinking water.
Being transparent builds confidence and lets the community know that the city has residents’ backs.

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