|Part of the UGM lot, Center and Commercial|
You might recall some preliminary talk a while back about downtown "opportunity sites." This is one of them. A year ago (at Council, and in more detail at DAB) the City made no moves, and the UGM site was identified as a "medium-term" prospect. The calendar seems to have moved up. At the same time, there are still many moving parts:
Due to concerns regarding timing of the property transfer, the sellers’ concerns regarding flexibility, interest from third parties, and the due diligence involved, staff and the sellers’ broker determined an option agreement was the most prudent means to place the property under contract.So this is a little bit exciting and still quite a bit uncertain.
|UGM property in dashed yellow; Saffron property in red|
There would be some old buildings we would probably have to say good-bye to. Underneath Saffron is an old building, if I recall, and the art store on the corner is old, its bones dating back to 1888.
|The upper two floors of the State Insurance Building|
were amputated, but you can still
recognize some of the first floor window surrounds
in Runaway Arts and Crafts on Commercial and Chemeketa!
(WHC 2014.064.0060 and see more here)
here and here on the relocation project.
Adoption of the Strategic Plan is also on the agenda.
To see it now in its totality is a little underwhelming. It is blandly and generally agreeable, and it doesn't seem like it has sufficient power to discriminate between competing values.
|A one-page summary|
If this big process has value, the big goals should limn a clear area of difference. It should be easy to discern areas in which the City's policy is changing, was wrong, resulted in failure or unwanted outcomes. The Plan should answer the question: What is different now? A good strategic plan would make clear at least some of the renunciations and emphases in the vision. It seems like you ought to be able to read the values in the plan, formulate their opposite or attach a different valence, and be able to say that we made an actual choice to be this and not that.
Maybe you will have a very different reading of it all, but at this point, the process seems more shapeless than it should be. It seems like you ought to be able to read the provisional goals and come away with a strong sense of ambition and purpose. But all in all the recommendations seem pretty generic and anodyne, driven more for broad popularity than for real discernment.
I don't think it is going to help the City make the hard choices between competing values and competing valuable goods.
The Staff Report identifies some near-term projects and priorities that Council generated:
the top strategies through this exercise were: (1) partner to establish a sobering and recovery center; (2) explore the possibility of bringing high speed internet to Salem; (3) explore alternatives building codes for adaptive re-use of older buildings; and (4) develop a robust City asset management program.These seem awfully small. (See all previous notes on the Strategic Planning process here.)
- SEDCOR's Annual Report. There is some talk about the Mill Creek projects, but nothing new or revealing.
- The City's own Quarterly Report on Economic Development. Which is again vague on actually assessing impact and effectiveness.
- A proposal for managing the tunnels under Center Street at the North Campus of the State Hospital.
- A proposal for a property tax exemption specifically for low-income housing. This probably deserves more attention and debate to make sure it is tuned properly to achieve the actual outcomes the City desires and does not end up being an unnecessary give away or languish, generating little new housing.
- An odd sale of property in Turner - why does the City have property in Turner???
- Accepting the "basket weave" design for the Rotary Amphitheater in Riverfront Park - if it's going to have a Kalapuya theme, The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde should probably be more involved. (See previous note here.)
- And a proposal to treat "grants from the Downtown Parking Fund to the Salem Main Street Association" like administrative purchases that don't require full Staff Reports and formal Council approval. Some $32,150 is in play here.