Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Risk: Quakes and Bees Should Trump Third Bridge

Just two reminders in the paper today that we have much bigger problems than a shiny new bridge and highway...


On the quake:
A task force is recommending Oregon spend at least $100 million each year for decades preparing for a possible earthquake and tsunami similar to the one that struck Japan in 2011.[italics added]
And of course bees are foundational to our own food supply and to whole ecosystems.

A half-billion on a shiny new bridge and highway could be much better spent on other, much more urgent risk-abatement and "insurance" against loss.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bits on Teddy Roosevelt's Visit in 1903

Watched the Roosevelt series at all?

President Theodore Roosevelt at the Capitol, May 21st, 1903
detail of Salem Library Historic Photo
You might not know Theodore visited Salem briefly on May 21st, 1903.

Hoopla the day before
The city was in a tizzy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What Hath the Studies Wrought? TGM's Example

Even though planners often appeal to the analysis developed by Jane Jacobs, one of her high level conclusions is to be suspicious of big plans. If Robert Moses was a classic Hedgehog, she positioned herself as the canny Fox, and suggested we should as a matter of habit prefer Fox-style thinking and solutions to the Hedgehogian dominion of the Master Plan.

I don't know if this is actually a contradiction in city planning, but it is certainly a tension. But it is no great insight to point out that there's a sweet spot somewhere in the middle between chaos and rigid plan.

2013 Report
During the life of this blog since 2008, we've followed a few studies funded by grants from the joint project between ODOT and DLCD, the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management project.

These include:

Bike and Walk Salem
North Broadway Parking Study
Middle Commercial Refinement Plan - forthcoming
State Street Mixed Use Study - forthcoming

Talk about Portland Road turned up the 1999 SINALACS project, also a TGM funded study.

Since the phenomenon of "shelf studies," planning studies that are released with great hoopla, but quickly gather dust on the shelf from inactivity, is a definite "thing," it was natural to ask:
  • Just how many TGM-funded studies are there in town? 
  • And what generally becomes of them?
  • Do we have any way of - or indeed interest in - assessing their success or failure?

Friday, September 26, 2014

City Council, September 29th - Portland Road

On Monday, Council will hold a brief meeting, mostly closed-door "executive sessions" on "labor negotiations," and then with the Urban Renewal Agency will hold a work session on the North Gateway and Portland Road project.

There's some house-keeping matters, but probably the big public item on the Council agenda is the continuation of the rights-of-way vacation. The City Attorney thinks it's not important to wait for the LUBA appeals to be resolved. (See end of packet. For previous discussion of ROW see here and here.)

Portland Road

SINALACS transportation map
In 15 years only one piece is done
So let's think about Portland Road, shall we? The City's timeline on Portland Road goes back to 1990, but it really begins in 1999. That year the TGM grant funded "Salem Industrial/Northgate Area Local Access and Circulation Study" was adopted.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mission Mill Magazine Features History of a Parking Lot

Willamette Valley Voices, vol. III, No 1
The resurrected Mission Mill/Historical Society journal, Willamette Valley Voices, has an article on the history of a parking lot at the corner of Ferry and 14th, right where the Mill Race deflects from Ferry Street and starts the brief descent to power the woolen mill.

1350 Ferry circled in red
The site went through several iterations in development and business:
  •  An "old warehouse"
  • The Salem Soap & Chemical Works
  • Capital Soap Works 
  • The Angora Rug & Fur Company
  • Lachelle’s Furs 
  • The Parking Lot
 Ending finally in the nothingness we see today:
A diversion of water from the millrace to the fountains of Pringle Park caused the old waterway to become narrower. The millrace which had previously flowed swiftly through the Ferry Street property began to move slowly. The sound of rushing water at that location went silent.

It was in the context of these developments and in response to the growing demand for parking that the Fur Shop was demolished. Chris Lachele’s solid-looking “little house” was also torn down. The weeping willow beside the millrace became firewood. The yard with its tulip tree, rosebushes, dahlias, and other flowering plants was paved over. In 1980 the property became a parking lot.
And change will likely continue in the future. The NEN-SESNA project has identified this area as an "opportunity site" (#8 in map below) and hopefully the parking lot will revert to something more productive and interesting.

Looking Forward SESNA Opportunity Sites
While the article is more sanguine about the role of parking lots than we are here, it's great to have a history of a parking lot that is outside the core downtown and to have a better sense for the loss it represents.

Go check it out (big pdf).

(This is an interesting area. The first location of the blind school was a block away, and a strange sanitarium for dope and liquor addicts was next door. There's probably lots of other interesting history nearby, too!)

Economic Opportunities and Housing Needs Analysis Meets Today

The EOA-HNA meets today and earlier in the summer it seemed like it was going to ignore transportation.

The "life cycle" abstracts mobility out of the picture!
Transportation and access to goods/services is invisible
(this clip occurs in several docs)
The latest materials from the project were just posted yesterday (whether this is by accident or by design, it sure gives the impression that they aren't interested in folks actually reading and responding thoughtfully to the study and its draft materials), and they've got lots of transportation talk!

(Since the lead-time is so compressed, I want to stress these are nearly totally random bits, the result of quickly skimming, not the result of any meaningful consideration.)

The first two clips are from the draft Employment Implementation Strategy:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Proposed Union Gospel Mission Shelter Could Change Division Street Neighborhood

Well, the Union Gospel Mission has a picture for the proposed new shelter!

Proposed new UGM center
(Note stop bar and median on street,
also a sidewalk stub where there is no crosswalk)
It is said to be north of Division and South of D Street on Commercial.

The stop bar and median suggests it is right at the corner of Division and Commercial.

Can't quite get the angle right in the google, but
the rendering appears to show this section
 of Commercial at Division.
Earlier, a letter from March suggested the whole half block, but the architectural rendering here suggests about a quarter block instead.