If you're not reading it, get started! It straddles a nice line between magazines, daily journalism, and blogging, and adds perspectives that aren't much voiced right now.
|New Journal Salem Is - Story of Volunteer Activism|
|Curt Fisher in Beth Casper's Story on Volunteer Activism|
[H]e hoped that some of the riders who joined Kidical Mass would help him organize future rides.This difficulty in staffing and sustaining ventures is entrenched somehow in Salem! It was apparent in 2011 across a number of projects, for example. It's not clear what to do.
“I was thinking people would step up in ways I didn’t even know,” he said. “It just didn’t happen that way.” ...
[And for the hearings on Bike and Walk Salem] the surge of support that Fisher hoped would overwhelm the council didn’t materialize. Folks he thought would show up at the meeting never appeared.
At the same time, a Kidical Mass ride in August failed to draw any riders.
That’s when he “hit a wall.”
“This town deserves what it gets,” he thought.
Volunteer energy in Salem also gets drawn off in fighting stupid things like the costly and oversized bridge and tolled highway project we call the "Third Bridge." In having to say "No" instead of working on projects that embody "Yes." It is difficult to be creative and constructive when so much energy has to be spent foiling and denying and critiquing - and when, as Palermo found, ferocious energies are unleashed and ultimately misdirected towards small things that shouldn't matter so much. The uphill climb is too steep too often.
Check out Casper's piece!
On the topic of volunteering, Mark Wigg has a piece in Salem Weekly about the draft Parks Master Plan.
|Mark Wigg on Parks Master Plan in Salem Weekly|
The city’s surveys show that the most popular activity in parks is the use of trails. A full 62% of those surveyed said that they used paths and trails, and 59% said more trails are needed.In a separate email Wigg mentioned several more trail possibilities that should be included in the plan:
The plan overlooked many trail opportunities. While not a complete list, the follow trails should be added to the trail plan:As we saw, the plan does not prioritize much in the way of trail connectivity.
- Gravel road along the eastside of the Willamette Slough, it is already being used and a new grade separated connections could be created under the railroad trestle behind Woodry’s furniture. Extend the path to Riverfront Park on the riverside of the slough.
- Abandoned railroad on the west side of the Willamette River. Portions of this abandoned railroad are in the city.
- The BPA corridor and lands west of the power lines that are owned by Salem Health. Salem Health is willing to give these lands to the city. The lands are outside the city but are a critical link between Highway 22 and the residential developments in West Salem.
- Construct a multiuse path that connects the Union St bridge path directly to Glen Creek Road.
- Buy r/w and construct a path along the proposed alignment of Marine Drive out to River Bend Drive. Allow connections to adjacent properties such as the apartment complexes. It may be years before money for a street is available and the right of way could be used as a trail until that time.
- Mill Creek Industrial Park has a plan for a trail through the 100 acres of wetlands that will be constructed.
- Hillcrest Youth Facility owns land along Reed Lane that could be a trail and natural area.
Finally, OBRA Director, BTA Board Member, and West Salem Neighborhood Association co-chair Kenji Sugahara had a piece in Sunday's paper criticizing the cost and oversized bridge proposal.
|OBRA Director Kenji Sugahara on Third Bridge|
Update, May 11th, 2014
Dick Hughes has some interesting reflections on volunteerism:
The Mid-Valley is an urban area, yet it retains smalltown values. Those include an appreciation of, and commitment to, public education.There's certainly some truth to the procedural matters Hughes highlights. Too often volunteering is difficult. But he may also be repeating uncritically the myth of high volunteerism here. It is quite possible that it is not true "there are many people unsuccessfully trying to volunteer." He cites no evidence to support the claim that there are many people trying to volunteer.
Despite that, a chasm exists between the needs in education and the people who could fill those needs.
That baffles me. Why do the school district, mentor groups and other programs keep saying they need many volunteers, when at the same time there are many people unsuccessfully trying to volunteer?
I think it’s because schools and other organizations don’t recognize the impediments that are in place. They don’t make it simple for people to volunteer. Too often they rely on generic requests instead of being very, very specific. [italics added]
Not conclusive, but interesting in light of the pattern detailed here.