Tuesday, December 31, 2013

For NYE: "Driving is the Most Dangerous Thing..."

Earlier this year, our editorial editor said it quite plainly:
Driving is the most dangerous thing that many of us will do in our lifetimes.
And there are powerful reasons on the advertising and revenue side for a newspaper writer to understate the dangers of cars and instead to extoll their safety!

But he says it like it is:  Cars are dangerous.  Full stop.

In the news we keep framing up carnage and auto fatalities as "tragic accidents," as exceptions, but cars are really and inherently dangerous. Most of the deaths are preventable, and not "accidents" of random fortune or fate.

Right now, in fact, cars still kill more people than guns. That's the order of magnitude.

Readers here don't need reminding, but especially on New Years Eve, it's still good to say:  "Driving is the most dangerous thing that many of us will do in our lifetimes."

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Postscript on Peace Plaza: The Library Remodel Broke it!

Every wonder about the stair configuration and landscaping at the northeast corner of the library?

Aside from the terrible stairs that are way too deep and rise too little, it's sure a whole lot of detailing and monument for a nothingburger corner of the building. What's up with that?

Library main Entry at Northeast corner, 1977
Salem Library Historic Photos
It used to be the main entry! That's what.

The main entry to the library used to overlook Peace Plaza.
In the early 90s library expansion, the arcade was totally filled in
and the entry moved south off the parking lot and garage.
In addition to wide stairs that marked the entry, there was a long arcade on the second level that spanned the whole width of the building.  It was like a long open tube overlooking the plaza.  So of course the entry was marked by relative grandeur and a density of detailing.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Big News! Ciclovia Organizer Gil Penalosa Scheduled for February Lecture

Just got confirmation that Cherriots is bringing Gil Penalosa of the 8-80 Cities project to Salem in February!

If you enjoyed Sunday Streets in September, you already know one of the most important things about Penalosa!
Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for all: from 8 to 80 years old. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as on sustainable mobility. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past six years, Gil has worked in over 130 different cities in all continents.

As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogotá, Colombia, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simón Bolívar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. Gil’s team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”— a program which sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today it's internationally recognized and emulated.
More than special events, an 8-80 city is one that meets the popsicle test - can you send your eight-year-old out on her own to get a popsicle? Do you trust the street enough that your 80 year-old grandmother can get groceries by walking and/or transit? Do the streets function for people who aren't making a drive-alone trip? Do the streets and development patterns support public health, or get in the way of it?

There aren't many streets in Salem that meet an 8-80 standard, and it would be great to create more of them. Great to accelerate implementation of what we've adopted already, and great to raise the standards for what we've yet to adopt.

Salem right now has all these semi-dormant studies - Bike and Walk Salem, the Downtown Mobility Study, the River Crossing Alternate Modes Study.  There are plenty of adopted plans with projects that express the 8-80 ideals to various degrees, but most of the projects are not funded, and none of them have much urgency behind them.  Sunday Streets is scheduled for one day only in 2014.

Penalosa's lecture will be an opportunity to introduce more people to the concepts and to build more support to take to City Council and our neighborhoods.  

The lecture will be Wednesday, February 19th at 6:30pm on the Willamette University campus. Doors will open at 6pm. More details - like the exact venue - to come! But save the date.

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 in Review: Forget Bikes, it was all about Parking

One story seemed to lead the year in Salem. Parking. It was the Year of Parking.  At a Salem City Club event on "holiday wishes," one downtown business owner wished for the addition of  “a thousand more parking spaces” downtown.  That was the year in Salem.

Heaven or Hell?
Our Valorization of Cars
in Birk's Divine Comedy
#1 - Parking RULZ Everywhere

It wasn't just downtown parking.  It was a little staggering, in fact, how parking insinuated itself into almost every discussion and warped things.  It's true that the vast, vast majority of trips are made by car and with a single driver, and that only about 1.5% of commute trips are made by bike.  But the question is, are we at all seriously interested in changing this?

Downtown Surface Parking Lots in Red
Parking Garages in Solid Brick Red
On-street parking stalls not included
Really, 1000 more stalls???
click to enlarge (1 mb total, 1874 x 1114 px)
At Council in October, a petition for free parking downtown ruled and through the rest of the year talk continued on the interpretation and enforcement of the rules. Read the stories here.

One of the pushpins discusses the issue with access off State Street
and the shared Carousel parking lot
[highlight added to sidebar]
On the Boise Redevelopment, populist angst - and resulting complications with Federal review - over the Carousel Parking lot and access on State Street put that project on hiatus. Read the stories here.

It's all about parking at the Blind School redevelopment
 (Howard Hall in lower left)
At the Blind School, the Hospital's plan for redevelopment centered on multiple parking lots. Read the stories here.

The cost of new parking particularly offended
(view to northwest from Liberty)

At the proposed new Police Station and Civic Center upgrade, the cost of a parking garage alarmed critics.  Their preferred solution was adaptive reuse of an existing building with a large surface parking lot. Read the stories here.

Each of the situations involved numerous other factors, and it is an oversimplification to say they all boiled down to the disposition and cost of parking, but it is amazing to think how the accommodation of car storage shaped each project and ultimately provided a lightning rod for criticism that in several cases halted or delayed the project. Parking was a key and powerful issue in so many ways.

It is the story of the year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Century Ago: Items in the Christmas 1913 Edition

1913 was an interesting year, and the December 20th Christmas edition summed it up and looked to the next year. Here are some quick-hit clips - not quite random, but not systematic either.

The normal edition of the paper was 8 pages, and this was 32 pages of summary, boosterism, ads, and the usual news and gossip.

Capital Journal, Christmas Edition
December 20th, 1913
It's all about the motorcycles!  Sadly, there are no bike ads, and while the bike dealers are still selling them, the hot new thing is the motorcycle.

Watt Shipp motorcycle ad
In them you can still see a heavy-duty bike frame and pedals.  They are literally motorized bikes, like the little lawn-mower engine conversions you see nowadays, and not the distinct and highway-ready thing we know as a motorcycle.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pedals Power Pinot at Illahe Vineyards

No doubt you've heard about bike-powered blenders and slushies in summer.

Pumping Unfinished Wine by Exercise Bike!
Human power at Illahe Vineyards
Photo by Diane Stevenson at Salemis
Here's a more behind-the-scenes use of pedal power in the cellar.

Over at Salemis, Angela Yeager writes about Illahe Vineyards' artisanal Pinot Noir, 1899:
One of Illahe’s signature traits is the use of draft horses to harvest grapes for some of its specialty wines, including its trademark, the 1899 Pinot Noir. Made from the exact same grapes as Illahe’s $20 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, the 1899 pinot is created without the use of machinery or modern winemaking equipment. Not only do [horses] Doc and Bea replace the buzzing motors of tractors and ATVs, but workers de-stem the grapes and press, rack, bottle and cork the wine by hand.

“I’m trying to make wine in the simplest, most ancient way possible,” Brad [Ford, winemaker] says, taking time out from a busy Thanksgiving weekend open house to chat. “If the average person on the street thinks it sounds like a lot more work, the truth is, it is. But it also makes it more beautiful.”
Though the article doesn't directly address the pedal pump, with a motorized pump in the foreground, it has to be the case that the 1899 cuvee is bike-powered!  And totally appropriate for 1899, right at the peak of the first bike boom.  (For more on the 1899 cuvee, see the Illahe blog post.)

So maybe it's not exactly the "most ancient way possible," but it's certainly more gentle and non-interventionist.  It's a no-spoof wine!

Update, March 2015

Here's a better view:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Parking and the Moby Dick of Ice Cream in the Neighborhood Assocations Tonight

At last month's downtown CAN-DO meeting, there was significant talk about the free, unlimited parking.  From the draft minutes:
What about downtown residents?
Councilor Bennett reported that the no-limit parking measure adopted last month is working “within tolerance” in most, but not all, parts of the Downtown Parking District, and that enforcement efforts, particularly with respect to employees of downtown businesses, jurors and volunteers, are challenging but ongoing. See SRC 102.050 (requiring downtown employers and workers to provide names to City). However, he also said he had had 10 to 20 contacts about downtown residents parking downtown during the day, taking up spaces intended for customers of downtown businesses, and wanted to know whether CanDo would support resident-parking restrictions designed to address the problem. By unanimous consent, the board tabled the question to allow members to contact friends and acquaintances in the downtown area, elicit their views, and invite them to the December meeting, when the question would again be considered.

Resident Carole Smith reported her concern that downtown residents are not prohibited by law from parking downtown during the day, and was invited to make a presentation on the subject at a subsequent meeting.
Looks like the presentation will be tonight.

This Tuesday the 17th CAN-DO meets at 6:00 p.m. at First Christian Church on 685 Marion Street NE. They will be discussing "downtown resident parking" and the possibility of proposing restrictions on it.

White Whale or White Elephant?

One of the most interesting places in town:
Ice Cream Plant and Wood Church at 17th/18th on State Street
Also on Tuesday the 17th, NEN meets to talk about the prospect of something at the now-idle Deluxe Ice Cream facility, apparently called "Moby Dick" by some!

You might have seen the recent piece in the paper:
The property owner’s representative also urged Northeast Neighbors, a neighborhood association, to support efforts to bring a new industry to the vacant site.

Joan Lloyd, chairman of Northeast Neighbors, said the property owner’s attorney mentioned that a bakery or brewery might be viable users.

“Whatever happens, we would like it to have a makeover,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd calls the old factory “Moby Dick” because of its stark presence in the 1800 block of State Street. Vandalism and break-ins at the former Deluxe Ice Cream plant have been reported to the neighborhood association, she said.

The Statesman Journal was unable to determine whether a deal to lease or sell the property was pending.
There isn't much out there beyond the speculation - so go to the meeting to find out more!

NEN meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Salem First Church of the Nazarene, 1550 Market Street NE.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bus Shelters at Baggage Depot to be Reviewed by Historic Landmarks Commission

On the agenda for the Historic Landmarks Commission this Thursday is a proposal for three shelters adjacent to the old Baggage Depot at the Train Station.

Baggage Depot, looking north, 2000
Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey
HABS OR-184-16

The shelters wouldn't be very big, but they do raise an interesting question:  Should they mimic a historically appropriate design?  Or should they be clearly modern and distinct from the historic bits?

I'm not sure there's a clear and obvious answer - it seems pretty contextual, and oftentimes making the distinction serves a greater purpose than faux historicism.  You don't want historic districts totally full of Disneyfied fakery.

Here, though, I think I lean towards something less modern. I'm feeling the romance of the train station, full of arrivals and departures! What do you think?  (The staff report recommends approval as proposed, as the structures keep the scale and massing consistent.)

Proposed Design for three shelters at new Greyhound Depot
from the Hearing Notice
Maybe more importantly, it kinda bugs me that the bike racks at the Amtrak station proper will seemingly remain uncovered past the time these shelters are completed.  The site plan also shows a row of bike lockers, but no ordinary bike racks associated with the baggage depot, and again, no shelter for the lockers.  The bike/ped improvements are slotted for phase III, I know, but I worry they'll be value engineered out.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Virtues of Downtown Mid-rise: Salem Needs more Height!

There was an LTE yesterday in favor of high-rise development in Salem. The writer says, "Salem might [fare] better to build up instead of building out. High-rise buildings could hold businesses, apartments, restaurants, etc."

Not sure about high-rise here, and one of the facebook commenters on the letter points out that even new mid-rise hasn't always done well.  But I think there's a case for well-designed mid-rise, and I think the unleased mid-rises were not well designed for Salem.

Since it seems more and more like the redevelopment of the McMahan's corner at State and Commercial will happen in the near term, it's not just a theoretical question.

McMahan's site in context:  Mostly two-story buildings
Criticism of the proposed Police Station at the Civic Center has made height there an issue, fretting about a "canyon" on Commercial with the Boise development, and it seems likely that any proposed height at State and Commercial would also be criticised. Salemites are wary of height.

But for perspective, here's real height and a real canyon!

A real canyon:  Manhattanhenge - MSNBC
We should not be afraid of height!  As the letter-writer said, Salem needs more height.  Of course New York height and Salem height operate on completely different scales; indeed, Portland height and Salem height operate on different scales.  Context is very important.  But limiting development to low-rise massing of one or two stories only isn't going to help us very much or create something very interesting and lively.

Specifically, for downtown and at State and Commercial we should want to put a little more height at this corner.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bike Poddery and Update on ConnectOregon V Projects

What, you're not interested in administrative rulemaking and street engineering details???

Here's a slightly more interesting update on the ConnectOregon applications, the lottery-backed multi-modal fund. The State has published a list of all of them, and here are the local ones:

ConnectOregon V projects for Marion County
ODOT full list by County
The "Bike Pods of Oregon" was unfamiliar, and it turns out they're a project to locate water, repair, and shelter around the State's Scenic Bikeways:

Bike Pods of Oregon locator map - Oregon Parks and Rec
Notes, map, and elevation rendering from presentation to
Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee
Deluxe Bike Pod
The pods would provide:
needed amenities for the long distance cyclists including water, cell phone charging, maps and wayfinding information, shelter, bike parking, and seating in the State Park setting associated with popular hiker biker camps. 7 Bike Pods are to be located along the Oregon Coast Trail on State Park's property. One Pod will be constructed in Champeog State Park in the summer of 2014 and will be funded by OPRD as a portion of the ConnectOregon V match funds. Two Bike Pods will be located along the Historic Columbia River Highway Bike Route in Ainsworth State Park and Viento State Park. Two additional Pods are planned to be located along the Old West and Transamerica Trails at Bates State Park and Clyde Holliday State Park.

Additionally, the project will fund the construction of 7 Bike Hubs in and around communities along popular destination cycling routes....These hubs will allow local communities to capitalize on the recreation lands they are surrounded by and the economic benefits bicycle tourism provides by welcoming the bicycle tourists into their communities. Each Pod and Hub is located along designated bikeways which represent the "best of the best" road bicycle riding in Oregon. Every type of rider can find the ride that fits their style and mood- from family friendly to remote and challenging.
So, they're an interesting project, but outside of the proposed installation at Champoeg, they don't have much to do with Marion County.

In conversation with local planning staff, it turns out the Salvation Army has written a letter in support of the Kroc Center connector path. (Apparently they felt the issue with benefiting from gambling wasn't relevant.  It'll be interesting to see how that all turns out.)

On the statewide picture and balance of bike/ped to other projects, BikePortland has more:
ODOT announced they received 108 applications for this year's round of ConnectOregon funding. Of the $129.4 million total requested funds, $47.5 million are categorized as "Bicycle/Pedestrian" — more than any of the other four eligible modes and more than the requests for Aviation, Marine, and Transit projects combined.

Public Works to Make Rules on Streets and Standards

On Monday at Council, there was the notice for some "Administrative Rulemaking" by Public Works. At the time the links didn't work, so it wasn't clear what was up.

Now we know! It's an interesting process. Apparently there's no need to highlight the changes, so what we have to wade through is a long 300+pp document with the rules and standards.

It is hardly possible for someone without specialized knowledge to have anything informed to say whether the changes are good or bad.

This is lousy open government!

Here is a not-quite-random assortment of relevant clips from Chapter 109, Division 006 on "Street Design Standards."  It is not meant to be comprehensive. It is not certain whether these represent changes from the previous version of standards.

Most Bike Lanes = 6 feet

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ODOT to Update State Bike Plan; Cherriots Board to Meet

A couple of meetings this week are worth mentioning in passing.

Classic 1995 DTP look
ODOT to Update State Bike Plan

The cover says everything you need to know: The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is old.

You can judge a book by its cover sometimes!

It's from 1995 in fact, and it's time for an update.

ODOT is rolling out a process for a new "Mode Plan" and the statewide advisory committee met in Keizer earlier this week for the first time.

The official blurbage:
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has begun developing a new Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Mode Plan to update the state’s policy framework for bicycle and pedestrian transportation.

This policy portion of the Plan has not been updated since the 1995 version of the Plan and lacks the elements currently required of a modal plan.
The Policy Advisory Committee Membership contains two Salemites:
  • Peter Fernandez, Public Works Director, City of Salem
  • Steve Dickey, Director of Transportation, Salem-Keizer Transit
Those representing other interests include:
  • Bob Russell, Oregon Trucking Association
  • Craig Campbell, AAA Oregon/Idaho
If you're looking for the "half-full" perspective, BikePortland's got you covered.
As we reported back in May, this mode plan update has potential to be a big deal. When complete it will be adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission and it could hold important sway over policy, funding, and project design decisions.
1937 propaganda
via NYRB
From here, it looks more like half-empty:  The committee composition looks like the Plan is definitely aimed at a pragmatic, political compromise.

That is to say, it does not look like it will result in a visionary document that would help guide Oregon to meet mobility needs in a 21st century of diminished car driving, as well as increasing temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions. Instead it looks like a enhancement to subordinate modes - improvements on the edges of things, but nothing transformative.  (I mean, it's still full steam ahead on the CRC and SRC with giant 1950-style projects.)

But as always, these studies and plans start with a blank slate, full of potential.  If the political winds shifted in the right direction, something like this could go crazy with transformational energy!  So it's worth keeping an open mind.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Public Art Commission to Discuss Art at Minto Bridge

Today at noon the City's Public Art Commission meets and on the agenda is a proposed art installation on or near the Minto Bridge.

Carl Hall, The Slough (1948)
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Apparently the project's origins go back to the June meeting. From the minutes (not yet posted to the City's website):
Staff presented the design concept for the Minto Island Bridge along with details regarding key aesthetic elements such as lighting and pedestrian rail. There was general discussion of the overall design approach to accentuate the form of the bridge itself with the supporting design elements and the project design team will move forward with the design as presented....

[Staff from the Salem Art Association and an artist] discussed their idea for an art wall on the Minto Bridge. The City of Salem project design team will also continue to coordinate with the Salem Art Association as a concept is developed under Commission guidance for incorporation of artwork into the bridge in Riverfront Park. Salem Art Association members will look for funding for this art wall. The progress of the project will be reviewed at the September meeting. It was noted that in order for the art wall to be completed, it would have to be approved by the SPAC and officially included in the Salem Public Art Collection.
At the September meeting there was an update, but no substantive progress or change.

Maybe there will be more this month.  Art at the bridge could be something wonderful or it could be something superfluous - or even just dumb.

Where would the art go?
Via City of Salem and Greenworks
It's interesting, though, with the Acid Ball right there, that folks are thinking of "more."  There must be a 1% for art kind of thing.  More to come, I'm sure.

Monday, December 9, 2013

In the Neighborhood Associations: NEN-SESNA on McGilchrist, Morningside on Police Station

On Tuesday the 10th at 6:30 p.m., the NEN-SESNA neighborhood plan, Looking Forward, will meet in Court Street Christian Church (1699 Court St NE) to discuss the McGilchrist area.
Come learn about the McGilchrist Urban Renewal Area, proposed improvements to McGilchrist Street SE, and the 22nd and Electric Street Overlay.
With new offices like the Social Security and Veterans Administration offices, and restaurants like Santiam Brewing, this is an area in transition, maybe even gentrifying, and the frankly crappy conditions apparently acceptable in an area dominated by old-school industry are no longer ok.

McGilchrist and the SSA Office Fiasco
At last month's SESNA meeting, according to the draft minutes City staff discussed the area:
Two proposed transportation changes within our boundaries. Reclassify 22nd Street as collector, propose to make it connect to Madrona St. This would help reduce use of 25th Street and bring people to the industrial area. There is a desire to realign 22nd Street on either side of McGilchrist, but there is no funding or current plan. McGilchrist needs updates, but these would cost $20M so it’s best to do that at the same time (along with left turn lanes between 22nd and 25th). 25th and Madrona intersection will be fixed to make it safer, improve pedestrian access. The second change is to create an East-West connection between 25th and Airport Rd. A small street is needed to promote redevelopment without adding driveways on Mission. There may be a traffic increase on 25th, or it may help; depends on what goes into the development. Multiple options help disperse traffic.
Planning for some change here is important, especially if the area is a magnet for elderly and disabled people, as well as an incubator for food and beverage.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

City Council, December 9th - Food Carts and Bond Surplus

At Council on Monday the most interesting items are the list of projects for round two of the expected bond surplus and a request by Councilor Dickey for an update to Salem's foot cart ordinances.

With the rise in breweries that lack kitchens as well as Portland's demonstrated success with food cart pods, bringing Salem's code for food carts up-to-date seems like a no-brainer. Still, it's interesting to see how biased against them the current code is:
Under current requirements, mobile food units are subject to regulations including (but not limited to) a maximum time period of six months in a twelve month period at any one location, a spacing requirement of a minimum of 500 feet from other mobile food units on the same side of the street, and 250 feet from other units on the opposite side of the street, and screening intended to make the unit appear permanent in nature.

The mobile food vending industry has undergone substantial changes in recent years; with modern mobile food units located singly or in clustered settings serving diverse artisanal foods, providing opportunities for entrepreneurship and contributing to a vibrant streetscape and local business community. Current zoning regulations significantly limit the location and duration of mobile food units throughout the city, and preclude the establishment of contemporary mobile food unit clusters. Furthermore, current requirements severely limit vendors' ability to establish and maintain customers when they are required to relocate and renegotiate leases every six months.[italics added]
Yeah, what she said!

Not on Council agenda, but very nice to see, is substantial progress on the Pringle Creek path!

Progress on the new paths along the creek at the Civic Center.
Unfortunately the water works was never really exposed,
and now the brick foundation work is totally covered up again.
The Commercial Street Bridge replacement funded by the bond included these paths on each side of Pringle Creek.  When the Boise parcel is developed, connecting paths through the private property to Riverfront Park will be included!

Round two of the bond surplus is at Council for approval, and you can read more about it here.  The only change from the time of that note is the addition here of one bike/ped project (and a reduction in the estimated cost of a couple of projects):  The project for sidewalks at Salem Heights Elementary is bumped up from a secondary recommendation into the primary list.  The main complaint about the list?  Too much of the money is sucked up by widening on Kuebler Boulevard.  We shouldn't be building auto capacity expansions until we do a whole lot more repair, preserve, maintain of existing auto capacity and build out our network for people who walk and bike.  Take care of the basics before adding more auto capacity we can't afford to maintain.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Video: Winter Scenery! SJ Outdoors Reporter Bikes to Work

Statesman Reporter Zach Urness Crossed the Union St. RR Bridge
on his bike into work on Friday morning

And it seems like the perfect time for an old favorite...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hipster Baristas add Booze and Bar, Invade Downtown

Snow!  Here's some cozy TGIF news for you.

Just before the holidays your Salem culture seismograph might have trembled a little when a pillar of the Broadway Coffeehouse announced his departure.

Jesse at the brand-new pour-over station, October 2010
Turns out he's not moving very far!
The bar is going into one of the bays on the Liberty side of the McGilchrist building, whose renovation is due to wrap this next year.

McGilchrist Block in better times, circa early 1950s
Salem Library Historic Photos
And they're just as serious about the bar as they are about coffee.
That's some real vermouth they got there!

It will be a great addition to the scene already set by Ventis, La Capitale, Amadeus, Maven, and the others.

What feels significant about this, though, is the way it could indicate a generational shift in downtown nightlife - not the 40 or 50-somethings, or even 30-somethings, but the 20-somethings.  Hopefully it will be additive, and not merely cannibalize business from other businesses.

It's also feels like a much more up-to-date retro nod, very different from the aesthetic and market demographic at the Brick or Copperjohn's, which are also in historic buildings, or the stripped-down basics at The Bureau, Santiam's new taphouse in the Reed.

Archive, of course, hasn't even opened yet, and drawing real conclusions is mighty premature.  Opening a restaurant is hard work and the outcome never certain.  But from here Archive, and indeed the whole Roth and McGilchrist block renovation, looks like the kind of thing that could represent a tipping point, something we appeal to in a decade as "the moment" in a narrative about when things started to change for real downtown.  (What do you think of it all?)

This is great news and it will be so very exciting to follow.

Update, December 6th, 2014

The grand opening was last night!
(And this one's even better!)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

SATA Leads Urban Trails Work Day Near Sprague on Sunday

Is the permafrost going to thaw enough for trail work!?

Saturday Sunday you can join Salem Area Trail Alliance Board Member Beth Dayton for a trail work day on the urban trail system near Sprague High School!
Fun times, for sure
You may remember work on the Skyline Trail back in February, and it's time for more:
Please join the Salem Area Trail Alliance for a trail work event on Sunday, December 8, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. We will be working on the Skyline Trails, which is an urban network of trails near Sprague High School. The crew will be meeting at 9:00 a.m. at the first Sprague High School Parking Lot. As always, wear long sleeves, boots, and gloves.
They'll have tools and hot drinks also.

As a bonus, Pizza from the bike-friends at Straight from New York!
The generous owners of Straight from New York Pizza have offered to provide all volunteers with free pizza and soft drinks immediately after the work event at their South Salem location (2918 Commercial St. SE). Please bring a clean pair of shoes so we don’t dirty up the joint!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Roller Racing at Bike Peddler Starts Tonight - Also, Maps and Salem Building Ages!

It's cold!  At least there's some sun.

But if the chill's a bit much, you want to move the bike fun indoors, and maybe enjoy something more sociable even, Bike Peddler's got a solution.

Vintage Roller Racing with Mile-a-Minute Murphy
Roller racing starts tonight!

From the PeddlerBlog:
Roller races are back at the Bike Peddler.

These will be held every Wednesday, from December 4th, to January 25th (except December 25th and January 1st). Warm up starts at 5:30 PM and the first race starts at 6:00 PM.

Even if you have no desire to race, but would rather ride, feel free to come by and ride with your friends. Bring your bike, your helmet (if you feel like it) and some mad roller skills. There will be prizes for the weekly winners, culminating on January 29th with the Salem Roller Race Championships. Series points are awarded as follows; 1 point for racing, 5 points for the win and on down from there. The categories are Men’s, Women’s and Style. Please check our Events page more information and updates.
Fun, fun, fun!

Salem Building Ages at Salemis

Fun of a geekier sort is over at Salemis, where they've put together a neat map and story about of the ages of buildings in Salem.

Interactive and crowd-sourced map of building ages - Salemis
The database behind it can be updated fairly easily, and all you have to do is click on a building to submit a correction or comment.  It might, in fact, be possible to build it out with photos and other neat bells and whistles!  (This sort of DIY thing may in the end be more flexible and offer more possibility than the official City apps - see below for a clip on that.)

At the moment the light color indicates the oldest buildings, the dark the newest.  They've also created an animated gif that shows development on the periphery of the city - so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Help Plan Path System at McKay Community Park; Morningside Plan at Commission

I've been remiss in mentioning this, but the City's been planning improvements to McKay Community Park, and there will be a meeting Wednesday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m. in McKay High School Commons to review the concepts.

McKay Park off Lancaster
Just off Lancaster and I-5, and placed between Silverton Road and Sunnyview, and in the no-man's land on the border of County and City, this is a challenging part of town for biking and walking connectivity.

Bike and Walk Salem shows a series of low-traffic connections along an east-west route midway between Silverton Road and Sunnyview. (It's not clear whether this is envisioned as continuous; two gaps are shown, plus there's the interstate.)

At any rate, with the school, a connection through the park is pretty important.

Bike and Walk Salem shows path through park
generally aligned on Beverly, but with odd breaks -
a low-traffic alternative would be useful
between Silverton and Sunnyview
Right now the City has four alternatives posted to the project page. There's a light on Lancaster at Beverly, and so a path connection is logical there, but Bike and Walk Salem shows the connection veering north at Carolina.  Alternative 1 and 2 have connections at Beverly, the others have connections only at Carolina.

Monday, December 2, 2013

In the Neighborhood Associations and Newsbits this Week

If over the weekend you went into "The Bureau," the new taproom for Santiam Brewing in the Reed Opera House, you might have seen an enlargement of this photo!

Commercial Street looking north from about Bellevue, March 1941
(Salem Library Historic Photos - you can enlarge it over there!)
The "Salem Beer" Plant and sign, naturally enough, is the draw, but there's also the predecessor to Boise Cascade on the left, the old Water Plant on the right (just behind the X of the RR crossing sign), and on the near side of the bridge over Pringle Creek are two businesses, Acme Wrecking and GE Appliance.

Yup, the big sort
They're located exactly where the City proposes to build a new Police Station!

This stretch of Commercial street could definitely do with more business and activity near the sidewalk!

And did you see the maps of high-, medium-, and low-income neighborhoods in Salem over the weekend? Nothing probably very shocking, but they were still interesting.  (Maybe the paper will overlay each of them with a "third bridge Salem Alternative" alignment?)

Last week was quiet, but this week brings several meetings of neighborhood associations.

Monday, West Salem

December 2, 2013
7:00 P.M.
Roth’s West, Mezzanine
1130 Wallace Rd NW

Tonight the West Salem Neighborhood Association will discuss the bike park concept for Wallace Park!