Monday, May 7, 2012

Salem River Crossing's Displacement: The Euphemisism for Rupture and Removal

Some of the discussion around the Salem Rivercrossing is neutered and obfuscated, bureaucratic and administrative rhetoric full of abstraction, but light on people.

Here's a perfect example. In the chapter on "Right of Way and Utilities," we talk about displacements and buildings, not about people, the business owners, home owners, and renters who have to move.

But we should talk "rupture" and "loss," not merely "displacement." 

There would be some businesses and families who find opportunity in a shiny new building and location, but for most the rupture and change is a loss of goodwill and community, especially when the rupture is not entered into voluntarily.

Here's a view of 14th and Mission in the mid-70s. Look! There's a person bicycling on Mission Street without a helmet. The posted speed limit is 25mph.

By mid-80s, the overpass construction had started and parts of the neighborhood leveled. Fortunately some of the nicer historic houses were saved, but this involved moving the houses and selling them to people who could afford the move and renovation. Most of the houses were demolished, however, and the ramp erected.

The c.1895 Barquist House sat on the northwest corner of 14th and Mission.  It was one of the lucky ones that could be moved, and it now sits on Court Street in the Court-Chemeketa Historic District.  But you can already see the depopulated neighborhood.

Here's the corner of 14th and Mission today.

For the River Crossing as many as 120 households and 75 businesses would be forced to relocate. Nearly 300 properties could be affected. There would be real costs to people and their community. The Socioeconomic analysis estimates that the businesses employ upwards of 500 people altogether and generate annual sales of a little over one million dollars each, for an aggregate total approaching $80 million a year.

For more on the River Crossing see a summary critique and all breakfast blog notes tagged River Crossing.

(B/W of 14th and Mission, looking west, Salem Library Historic Photo Collection, Color image of Barquist House at 14th and Mission, looking north, Bonnie Hull.)

1 comment:

Curt said...

Thank you! I haven't got to that part yet. Partially because I can't get past Chapter 3 on the operations of the streets and intersections in the affected area. Most of the alternatives perform measurably worse than the no build alternative. The northern alts. show that, at best they are just moving the congestion and delays to the north and not improving overall mobility one bit. It really shows in detail what we have always known to be true.... Fighting congestion with more capacity is like putting out a fire with gasoline.