Friday, November 15, 2019

Revisiting Marine Drive and West Salem Loop Concept After the SRC

While the SRC remained active, Marine Drive seemed like a dangerous Trojan Horse, a way to smuggle in just enough of the bridge package to make that bridge and highway inevitable.

Now that the Record of Decision is for no-build, and the MPO is reverting Marine Drive from some kind of arterial back to a collector-rated street in their plans, it may be time for a reassessment.

I'm not sure I am at all very enthusiastic about Marine Drive, and I think its helpful qualities are still being oversold, but it may be more reasonable to be neutral on it rather than strongly opposed. And there are still questions about how it fits the edges of Wallace Marine Park. But it could also helpfully connect missing middle houing, or bigger apartment blocks, in a configuration that works well with the Union Street Bridge and walking, biking, or busing in low-car lifestyles.

At the same time, proponents of a trail system in West Salem are making the rounds, and that idea, which piggybacks on the Marine Drive right-of-way, may deserve reassessment too.

Marine Drive, power line ROW, Edgewater
(via Facebook)
Still, for all the reasons in "The Prospect of more Biking on Paths in Salem" I remain doubtful about too much emphasis on paths.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Beaverton Climate Plan has too much EV Tech Utopianism

Over at 350.org they remarked on Beaverton's new draft Climate Action Plan. On the cover Beaverton centers notions of a path for 1.5 degree increase. That's ambitious!

Eh...just looking at transportation, it doesn't look like it grapples seriously with the changes necessary. It looks reassuring and soothing, maybe a little aspirational, but not really digging into the scope of, and response proper to, our actual climate emergency.

It's interesting they say only 28% from transportation;
Salem says 53%; they're also big on electrification
(The Active Transportation Plan is sufficient, it seems)

Beaverton leads with EV tech-utopianism;
and instead of "driving less"
say "reduce congestion"; active transport is secondary
Maybe there will be more to say later, but I'm not sure this should be a model for Salem. They place too much faith in the tech-utopianism of EVs and do not develop enough policy for the structural change of driving less. These plans look like the authors go through existing plans, say "look, see what great things they are doing already!" and see a messaging and PR problem. We've seen a little of this in Salem also.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Rollover Crash by the Transit Center, Value Village Parking Lot - Newsbits

Though it seems no one was seriously injured in Monday's crash on Church Street near the transit center, the story in yesterday's paper illustrates so much about our autoism and what is wrong with it.

The story's main frame is on a kind of congestion: "Police reopened Church Street...after a rollover crash closed the street in the heart of downtown..."

While the story includes details that "the vehicle flipped, shattered its windows and deployed its airbags," there is no mention of speed. "Information about what led to the crash was not released." But it is highly unlikely that lawful travel at the posted speed led to this, and the ostensibly scrupulous sticking to facts spoken or verified in the police statement leads to a silence that contributes to our normalization of jaydriving and speeding.

There's also no driver. An "anthropologist from Mars" might reasonably suppose this was one of them new-fangled robot cars without a driver.

While it may not be possible to prove that driver error was involved, silence on that is exculpatory and works against an objective reporting of truth. Altogether this is another place in public discourse where our current notions of "balance" and "neutrality" lead to untruth or misapprehension.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Driver Kills Josephine Watkins in Crosswalk on Portland Road at Wayside Terrace

A driving 19 year old has struck and killed Josephine Watkins crossing Portland Road on foot in a marked crosswalk this evening.

The initial release from Salem PD:
The Salem Police Department is currently investigating a fatal crash on Portland Rd NE at Wayside Terrace NE, which has Portland Rd closed in both directions between Hyacinth Rd and Northgate Rd NE....

On November 11th, 2019 at 6:18pm officers responded to the report of a pedestrian struck while attempting to cross Portland Rd, near Wayside Terrace Ave NE. Witnesses stated that the female pedestrian was crossing Portland Rd in a marked crosswalk when a vehicle travelling northbound on Portland Road struck the pedestrian. Witnesses to the crash stopped and attempted life saving measures on the pedestrian, who was later prounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the vehicle stopped and remained on scene and is cooperating with investigators. There were no injuries to anyone in the involved vehicle.

This crash remains under investigation and further details regarding the cause of the crash will be released as they become available. Investigators are currently working to identify the pedestrian and notify her next of kin.
The enhanced crosswalk at Wayside Terrace
with center refuge island and flashing beacons
I have not been out there lately, but this intersection was one of the sites selected for an enhanced crosswalk treatment as part of a larger Portland Road project. It appears to have been finished (see comment below), and it will be important to learn about ways it failed to protect the person on foot.

The Portland Road project has
an enhanced crosswalk at Wayside
Just a few weeks ago, a driver killed Jason Libel as he was biking on Portland Road.

Update, mid-afternoon Tuesday: An update from the Salem PD still erases the driver (see below for notes on this), and focuses on the fact that the beacon may not have been flashing:
Salem Investigators have identified the victim of yesterday's fatal crash as 60 yr old Salem resident Josephine Watkins. The victim was struck by a vehicle driven by a 19 yr old driver as she was attempting to cross Portland Rd near Wayside Terrace in a marked crosswalk. The crosswalk is equipped with functioning warning lights but witnesses stated the lights were not activated at the time of the crash.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. No arrests or citations have been issued at this time.
(This post will be updated.)

Breyman Fountain Lost Between World War II and Proposed Vietnam War Memorials

Breyman Fountain and two Capitols - early 20th century and 2013
(Salem Library Historic Photos - twice, here and here)
The purpose of the Breyman Bros. Fountain has been a little mysterious. The Library's photo captions are variations on "The statue is believed to be a memorial to the Spanish-American War and was a separate piece from the fountain originally." I don't know where this interpretation originated, but most everyone seems to follow it.

Just a tiny, unmarked square
for the Breyman Fountain
(See also Abbate Designs for more)
Taken as a war memorial, it would be increasingly lost between the existing World War II Memorial and the new proposed Vietnam War Memorial. Significantly, the site plan for the proposal omits any label or awareness of the fountain. It's indicated by a square outline and nothing more. This seems like a substantial omission and oversight.

In the end this may not in fact be a big problem, though it is something of a small problem.

A while back State Archives published an image of the photo illustrating its primary use. They repeated the war memorial interpretation, however: "A bronze statue of a Spanish-American War soldier topped the metal sculpture."

A horse drinking at the fountain - State Archives
But during 1904 as there were various squabbles over funding and ultimately accepting the fountain, the news seems clear that it was not a memorial to the Spanish-American War. Instead, the statue is labeled as a "Pioneer" and the purpose as "fountain" for "public drinking for man and beast."

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Today's Story about Lake Labish Derailment Suggests a Detour on Celery

There's a long piece in the Sunday paper today on Lake Labish and a tragic train derailment there.

On the "Lake Labish Horror": In the Sunday paper today
Even though there might be specialized or academic histories of the area, in our popular imagination, Lake Labish does not get enough attention as a distinct place. But it is bounded enough to have a particular environmental, economic, and ethnic history, and deserves more specific treatment.

You might recall the obituary for Henry Yoshikai that mentioned growing up in Lake Labish, the forced removal and detention during World War II, and subsequent return. Now there is a school here with the family name memorialized, specifically named for his wife, Alyce, an important educator.
Henry Yoshikai's obituary from last April
Last year around Pearl Harbor observations, there was another piece from the perspective of local clergymen who intervened to stave off threats of mob violence against a Japanese church and its members in Lake Labish.

Front page in December of last year

October 22, 1919
Though Roy Fukuda and the celery industry of Lake Labish has been written about before, the topic does not yet seem to be a tired one and is worth revisiting.*

The first big mention of the Japanese celery farmers I've run across was 100 years ago this fall. In a piece that centers on Quinaby rather than Lake Labish, Roy Fukuda is a supporting character, mentioned way down in the piece.

In just a few months, by January of 1920, he is center stage.
The pioneer celery grower on a commercial scale in the Salem district is Roy K. Fukuda.
Interestingly, the "Golden Plume" variety is not mentioned.
Mr. Fukuda raises only the Golden Heart variety. It is the same as Prof. Bouquet calls the Golden Self Bleaching in his article printed in this issue.

He says the White Plume variety is easier to grow, and it is the only variety wanted in the Seattle market; but in all other markets reached from here the Golden Heart (or Golden Self Bleaching) is preferred. So ti is the kind for our growers to plan.
At the very least, there is a history of the name that is interesting, and perhaps there is more to the origin story of the Golden Plume cultivar. "Golden Plume" keeps getting repeated in stories about Fukuda, and maybe there's a misunderstanding or even some myth-making here. It is striking that this first big story in 1920 doesn't mention it.

Friday, November 8, 2019

A Wobbly Lynched, Marchers Shot: Centralia Riot Mars Armistice Day in 1919

A year after the war, Armistice Day, November 11th, 1919, seemed relatively quiet here in Salem. Schools and businesses were closed, the American Legion was having a dance, but it did not seem to occasion much that registered in the newspaper.

Border control, nativism, and the Red Scare
November 9th, 1919
This may not be representative. Percolating all along was the Red Scare, and in Centralia, the IWW and American Legion clashed on Armistice Day. News of the violence, deaths, and further reaction to it may have sidelined more coverage of local celebrations.

"Reds fire on paraders" November 12th, 1919
The University of Washington blurbed Tom Copeland's 1993 history, The Centralia Tragedy of 1919 like this:
On November 11, 1919, the citizens of Centralia, Washington, gathered to watch former servicemen, local Boy Scouts, and other community groups march in the Armstice Day parade. When the marchers swung past the meeting hall of the Industrial Workers of the World, a group of veterans broke ranks, charged the hall, and were met by gunshots. Before the day was over, four of the marchers were dead and one of the Wobblies had been lynched by the mob.
The history of it is not clear and seems to be highly contested, so I can't tell you "what really happened." Neither side seems innocent of aggression and overreaction.