Transportation Funding ~ Monday, January 28, Immediately following City Council Meeting
Salem River Crossing ~
Other interesting upcoming dates:
Ordinance Bill No. 2-13 Adopting the Updated Airport Master Plan to Replace the 1997 McNary Field Airport Master Plan as a Detailed Plan of the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan; Amending SRC Chapter 64 ~ Monday, February 25
Citywide Economic Development Strategy (work session #2) - Tuesday, January 22, 5:30 p.m.
On the Actual Agenda
As for matters on the Council agenda itself, maybe the most interesting are two contrasting sets of Eminent Domain proceedings.
For the Eola Drive widening project, several agreements have been reached with homeowners, but the City is "unable to obtain a release from the mortgage lender" and so needs to continue down the path of a forced action. I don't know if this is because the lenders aren't returning messages, because title is unclear, or because mortgages have become bundled and nobody knows who holds the mortgage. Whatever it is, it's surely a product of the current housing/finance crisis and the antecedent conditions that caused it.
For a large apartment complex proposed on Wallace Road, things look much trickier. Let's just assume for the moment that the Eola Drive project is completely warranted. (I mean, it's currently missing sidewalks and bike lanes, so as far as improvements go, the "urban standard" of three-lane cross section with turn pockets is often more widening than is necessary, but the sidewalks and bike lanes are welcome.) Here, though, we have a private development that is stranded from a sewer connection, and so the private developer is invoking the City's power for Eminent Domain in order to secure an easement for the sewer line connection across somebody else's property. If in this context the public good is more-or-less uncontroversially served by improving Eola Drive, it's not at all clear how the public good is served by seizing an easement for a private developer! Maybe this a sign the site is not appropriate for the planned development? This is an interesting thing to watch.
There's an update on the widening of Keubler road spread amongst several projects. (These are widening projects that less obviously serve the public good, and really just represent a commitment to MOAR CARS!)
Street trees get some love! There's also a draft Community Forestry Strategic Plan.
Urban Renewal Agency is transferring Riverfront Park to the City of Salem proper. (Even though its board members are identical to City Council, the Urban Renewal Agency is incorporated separately and constitutes a different legal entity.) The fragmented nature of the tax lots, stemming from their origin as industrial and the original wharves and waterfront commerce of the very early city, is interesting as historic trivia. Otherwise it's of only procedural import.
Finally, there's an update on the status of Council Goals, the formalized high-level goals adopted by City Council. The Downtown Mobility Study is explicitly called out as addressing a number of the subitems in the Main Goal of Transportation Connectivity: "Pursue opportunities to improve overall bike, pedestrian, and vehicular connectivity; reduce congestion; and enhance mobility." Hopefully this will mean that Council will get behind the final project recommendations this summer as things that really do instantiate the high-level goals and values Council has formally adopted.