Marlene Blanchard, former owner of Court Street Dairy Lunch, at her South Salem home April 1.

As the COVID-19 pandemic entered its third year and case numbers began to wane, there was optimism 2022 would be the start of good things to come. But the year brought new challenges, from weather to rising prices to a spike in other viruses.

Still, 2022 also brought hope.

It came in the form of donations to a longtime restaurant owner struggling with cancer and a dishonest business partner.

It came in the form of increased access to health care services for communities of color.

It came in the form of a light to illuminate our favorite gold statue after being told it would have to go dark for a years-long construction project, and the revival of holiday lights and a parade after hundreds responded to a Statesman Journal survey about downtown.

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