Saturday, October 26, 2013

City Council, October 28th

Council agenda items can be handled this week in bullets.  There's nothing substantial of interest for transportation.

What will replace McKenzie Hall?
At the North State Hospital Parcel, McKenzie, Yaquina, Santiam, Eola,
and Breitenbush Halls are not likely to be preserved.
Since the redevelopment would remain inside the Historic District,
Council would like to be able to review the design of new construction.
  • Construction Deferral Agreement "Activations" on Skyline Road  Instead of requiring road widening at the time of construction permits, the City obtained agreements that the developments would pay for the widening when the whole road was done.  With the road bond project starting, it is time to collect the fees for the these construction deferral agreements.
  • Ex-Parte Contact problems!  The road plan for the Bella Cresta subdivision out on the extension of Mildred Lane and Skyline was not yet finalized when a City Councilor - discreetly left unnamed in the staff report - talked about it to the neighborhood association prematurely.  The Councilor was busted and so the hearing needs to be reopened.
  • The annual Planning Commission report is pretty empty.
  • And there's the first reading of the new ordinance to "provide City Council the authority to initiate review of Major Historic Design Review decisions for new construction."  Council will schedule a hearing and there will be more to say then.
To get urban 3-lane standard:
Skyline Road. between Liberty and Kuebler,
to get sidewalks, bike lanes, and center turn pocket.
(It's nice to see the Saturday paper have a preview of Council instead of waiting for Sunday or even Monday!)

More on the Civic Center after the jump...
In a note over at Salem Community Vision, and again at Hinessight, folks seem to be arguing that Peace Plaza be left untouched in any Civic Center seismic retrofit and new construction.

Really, is this that great?
The funny thing is, the photo they use shows a totally empty square!  It's barren, lifeless.

Seems to me this supports the argument for moving Peace Plaza and reconfiguring the square into a form that is more vibrant and lively!

None of the advocates have made the argument for preserving Peace Plaza unchanged, and instead everyone seems content to accept it as an article of faith.

Maybe this misunderstands the sentiment - there hasn't been a forthright statement of what folks want or thing should be done - but if you upgrade City Hall and the Library, why wouldn't you also make the interstitial space also work?


Curt said...

Peace Plaza (and the rest of the Civic Center) feels like a scene from a dystopian sci-fi movie, only with fewer people. I can't imagine that many of the people arguing for its preservation spend any time there. I've noticed this "preservation just for the sake of preservation" attitude in Salem on other occasions too. Its a pretty big barrier to change.

The sticking point for the SCV crowd seems to be new police station. Reports suggest that there is some consensus for the retrofit of the rest of the civic center and library.

Brian Hines said...

I think you missed the point of the Salem Community Vision and HinesSight posts. The concern is primarily that the City says "no changes will be made to Peace Plaza," then describes a bunch of changes to Peace Plaza.

The issue is community involvement and transparency by City officials. Both are lacking in this project.

Those who attended the first Salem Community Vision meeting would have realized that the group is flexible and open to civic center improvements. They should just make sense and use taxpayer dollars wisely.