Friday, June 22, 2018

City Council, June 25th - State Street Study

Council meets on Monday and they'll start considering the recommendations from the State Street Study.

Ordinarily there has seemed to be a clear path to adoption, but because of a major autoist change recommended by the Planning Commission, as well as particularly vocal dissent from residents in the Court-Chemeketa Historic District, the Study has been contested and it's not obvious what Council will decide. The Staff Report lists four options:
  1. Set a public hearing before the City Council on the proposed amendments;
  2. Proceed straight to second reading for enactment;
  3. Refer the proposed amendments back to the Planning Commission for further deliberation; or
  4. Decline to advance the proposed ordinance.
The right thing to do is a full 4/3 safety conversion the full length of State Street.

Bowing to neighborhood politics, Staff Recommends only a four block section of conversion from 13th to 17th, but the Planning Commission didn't support even this and instead wants to maintain a set of four full auto travel lanes.

So the process still remains in thrall to our autoist appetite.

Separately, some residents from the Historic District tried to insist on an additional layer of Federalized process because of indirect effects from State Street onto Court Street properties.

The State of Oregon said, "Nope, not necessary."
On March 29, 2018, the City of Salem asked for a determination from the State as to whether a review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is required as part of the State TGM grant to the City of Salem for the State Street Refinement Plan (SSRP).

The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) has researched the issue and advised us that such a Section 106 review was not required as part of the TGM Grant. The provision of funds from TGM to the City did not require a Section 106 review as the project is planning-level only and does not involve bricks and mortar activities or ground disturbance or excavation.
There's nothing new to say on the subject unfortunately.

For more detailed comment on the State Street Study, see these main posts:
(For all previous notes on the State Street Study see here.)

There's an update on the Age-Friendly initiative, and it points to our problems with the State Street Study:
The group will continue to gather more information for the remainder of the evaluation process with the primary goal of assessing: How does the community support people moving freely around Salem to connect to goods and services without the reliance on personal automobiles? [italics added]
Those with an interest in trees should pay close attention to the proposal at what had been our "sustainable" office park. The City proposes to make new lots to protect some trees, but cut down others in order to facilitate development.
Currently, proposed development, and potentially oak removal, on this property is subject to City Council (Council) review prior to approval of development plans. This adds complexity and uncertainty to the site plan review and permitting process. To provide greater certainty to potential developers, the proposed lot configuration will create two lots that will be platted and retained under City of Salem (City) ownership to protect the majority of Oaks on the property (Attachment 2). The City land use process will be followed to modify the existing approved subdivision for the property to create three large lots available for development.
This just looks a little funny, kinda greenwashy, and like more retreat from our "sustainable" goals. Maybe it's a good solution, but it deserves scrutiny.

And out at the airport there's a street vacation for a new access drive near 25th & Madrona. 

It looks like a nice weekend for the first one of Summer, and so enjoy it! Maybe we'll come back to this and think more deeply on these, or think about other items on the agenda. (Maybe not!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Rear Views Subtract Harmony at Fairview Addition

The Homebuilders Association annual Tour of Homes kicked off this week, and it is always interesting to see what's at Fairview Addition.

For the third year Olsen Design has a home on the tour, and in one important way it's a big departure from the other houses and the rest of the development. In another way, it offers continuity, and shows an unattractive trade-off for one of the project's big ideas.

It's got a great front porch! But it also has a driveway and garage
The first phase is filling in nicely, and this may be the first house that has a driveway in front. It's the first one I've noticed, anyway. All the other houses have garages and driveways on alleys. Emphasizing the front porch and putting the garages in back was one of the big ideas for the whole development. So it was surprising to see a front driveway and garage.

Flling in: From Leslie Middle School and across Pringle Creek
Since the porch is so nice, and the proportions from front look generally a little like those in a "pyramid cottage" circa 1900 (plus some Craftsman detailing), the driveway is not terribly jarring. Still, it breaks some of the rhythm and harmony of the neighborhood and its houses.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Revisiting Roger Shimomura at Hallie Ford

Tuesdays admission at Hallie Ford Museum of Art is free. Today's a good day to consider how great it is, and to revisit an important show from 2015 of Roger Shimomura's work.

Classmates #1, Roger Shimomura
(via Hallie Ford Museum of Art)
Former First Lady Laura Bush in the Washington Post:
Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.
(Roger Shimomura)

(Roger Shimomura)
From the museum:
A number of Shimomura's early works address his childhood experiences at the internment camp of Minidoka during WWII...
More images at his Seattle gallery.

(Comments are closed on this post.)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Veterans Hall Litigated, Abandoned Before Bergs Market at New Howard School Site

It turns out the proposed site for Howard Street Charter School was messy and contested!

As World War II was beginning to wind down in 1945, Salemites planned for a memorial to disabled veterans at Church and Marion. The project went sideways, and after a decade, as well as a major shift in urban form because of autoism, the Berg Market opened and retreated to the back of a large parking lot.

A friend of the blog with an interest in the site shared their research over the weekend, and thanks to it we can trace out a little more of the site's history.

Back in March of 1945 the Disabled American Veterans announced a campaign for a Memorial Hall at Church and Marion. The main entry would be on Church Street, and a side entry would be on Marion Street. It would have an auditorium, banquet hall, meeting rooms, and a Gold Star plaque listing the dead. George Weeks was the architect, and the first estimated budget and fund-raising goal was for $50,000.

December 1st, 1946
The Capitol Mall at this time had not grown very far. In this aerial photo from 1948 you can see only the State Library. The houses in "Piety Hill" are still mostly intact. This was the immediate neighborhood for downtown, and when we eliminated them for the single-use government buildings, we took away many customers from downtown. It wasn't just competition from the shiny new malls on the edges, it's also that we strip-mined the residential core of downtown and eliminated the immediate customer base. (More on that here and here.)

Capitol Mall Area (Church & Marion with arrow)
May 1948, Salem Library Historic Photos
In 1948 note things still standing: Old Salem High School (Macy's/Meier & Frank site), Sacred Heart Academy, the old site of First Presbyterian. Other downtown churches are also still intact. (The full image shows more of the WU campus and many other interesting details!)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Old Grocery for Howard Street School, Airport and Spinning Folly - Newsbits

You know we have a thing for old grocery stores here, and it was a nice surprise to see the front page story about a serious plan for relocating Howard Street Charter School to an old grocery store downtown. The building is identified as "First Christian Church’s extension building," but long before the Department of Energy used it, it was a QFC Quality Food Market. Maybe it operated under other names, too. (We may come back to more on this!) The site is near the transit mall, and is more centrally located, and would add a chunk of weekday activity to this often quiet edge of downtown. Maybe housing or a different for-profit enterprise would still be a higher use, but even a non-profit school seems like a decent use also.

Earlier in the week there was an editorial about commercial air service, and while it identified bigger problems we need to work on and fund, it missed a big one: If we are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we will have to reduce our use of jets and air travel.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Harry Scott Drafted, Closed up Shop 100 Years Ago

Exactly 100 years ago today, Harry Scott and Charles Piper announced they were closing the store.

Closing out Sale, June 15th, 1918
They'd been drafted and ordered to report June 30th for Vancouver Barracks.

Drafted with orders to report June 30th
June 18th, 1918
As it happens,  the Armistice was signed on November 11th, and Scott didn't stay in the Service for very long.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Court Apartments and old Rigdon Mortuary Costs of New YMCA Building

Lot's of interesting things in the YMCA piece on the front page today.

That looks like a nice, active corner treatment
and modernist, too - via CB|Two
I'm glad they are shifting the main entry and focus to the corner of Court and Cottage. That mid-century modernist arcade looks to make for a lively entry and sidewalk.

But about some of the cost, I am less sure.

You know already that the Court Apartment building, just barely a century old, will be demolished for this new corner building.

Court Apartments - Jan 1st, 1916
The IKE Box building, Rigdon Mortuary ad, circa 1930
But the IKE Box building looks to be demolished also.