Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Police Station Project Heating Up? Tid-bits from CAN-DO - Updated

The draft minutes from the last downtown neighborhood association meeting (CAN-DO) contain an interesting bit about movement on a new police station:
City Hall campus hopes to build a new police facility in Peace Plaza. A bond will be proposed. Seismic retrofit of City Hall is needed. New buildings in Peace Plaza will extend the life of the complex. Cost is 50 cents per 1K for bond. The plan to start a year from this coming November. Visit the police department to see how poor the facility is for our men in blue. Plans are on the drawing boards over the next year.
Back in December 2011 Council reviewed concept plans for the current preferred Civic Center site option, in a rendering by collaboration between CB|Two and ZGF architects.  (You may also recall the more general concept boards from December 2010 that the University of Oregon Students generated!)

At that time, the preferred concept Council saw was for a new police station, identified by A2, that would sit across from the Boise project. Here's a corresponding aerial view (awkwardly snipped and rotated from the google):

The building in Peace Plaza (E1) was going to be new Council Chambers.

The notes from CAN-DO may represent a change - locating the Police Station itself there in Peace Plaza - or might just loose reference all of the expansion work envisioned in the preferred concept, which does include a new building at Peace Plaza in addition to the Police Station building further north.

As folks think about this development, they would remember that the Civic Center is currently a dead zone outside of business hours, a mono-use office park that empties out at 5pm and on weekends. It would be neat to have some ground floor retail or restaurant, something unrelated to police and other City or emergency services, that would relate to the Boise project (also currently being designed by CB|Two) and create a richer zone of activity here. It's also an opportunity for a lovely building as opposed to the brutalist fortress now there.

Peace Plaza is also disconnected from the street, and is not a very well functioning public space.  Hopefully the memorial to Peace can be replaced/recreated elsewhere at a more lively location - something that would make it more known, and also make it more generally available to the public for other gatherings, both organized and impromptu.

In thinking about this, we should remember that when the earthquake hits, City Hall will be toast, so it's not like this is a frill. This is an essential infrastructure project, and hopefully the City will do it well and do it right.

Updated rendering, October 2013
(click to enlarge)

The Capitol Seismic Retrofit and the Capitol Mall

Also in the minutes is a brief note about the Capitol Mall Plan and the Capitol's seismic retrofit.  You may remember that the Legislature budgeted $35 million for this.

On Monday earlier this week, Salem City Council also held a work session with the State on this.

The retrofit will likely require closing the Capitol building for a while.  As you would imagine, this would displace lots of people, including legislators, who will need offices and meeting spaces elsewhere for a while.

There may be a cascade of significant land-use and transportation implications!

This will likely be one of those inconveniences that also offers an opportunity for some meaningful downtown transformation. 

Public details are few at the moment - but pay attention to this, as it is likely an opportunity for advocates working on several different problems to seize in coordinated fashion!

The Next Meeting

CAN-DO next meets Tuesday, September 17, 2013, at 6:00 p.m., in the First Christian Church, 685 Marion Street NE.


Jim Scheppke said...

Hmmm. This was pre-Pringle Square meltdown. Wonder how that might change the picture. Mightn't there be some pressure for the City to buy the entire Boise site back from Mountain West, add the "Park Parcel" to the park and turn the old Boise plant into a new public safety building? I might be in favor of tearing down our ugly City Hall and making the site into a new town square and turning the Boise plant into a new City Hall/public safety building. Oh and let's give the library a seismic retrofit and a coat of paint while we are at it. I'd pay 50 cents per $1,000 for that, or even a little more.

Unknown said...

I agree with Jim. At the last NEN meeting, I suggested the same to Chuck Bennett: deny Tokarski, condemn his property and buy it for true current market value (not what he overpaid for it) and build a new city hall, police, and community center on the Boise parcel, level the Albert Speer monument to Stalingrad on the Willamette, and build a true post-carbon urban village on that lovely spot.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

You are certainly right that the concept plans were formulated pre-meltdown! So that wrinkle could change things as you say.

And putting in play the city hall/police station expansion/retrofit in addition to the Boise parcel could really expand possibilities for doing things really right and wonderful.

Hopefully more will come out on the City side and more brainstorming on the community side! It would be nice to have the pond and creek be the front lawn for something more dynamic than a parking structure and the elevated pod and outwork we call "Council Chambers"!

Anonymous said...

The City now has a micro-site about the project -

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with new architectural rendering. Thanks for the micro-site link!