They've finally settled on the "Key Scope Elements" for the west Salem study: Looking at large-scale demolition, a new hotel, and accommodating the proposed giant bridge and highway dominate:
- Prepare Area Market Study. Assess the market for existing and new uses for the area. Through consultation with several of the area's major employers, prepare an assessment as to the capacity of resident industries to stay or expand in their existing space. At a very high level, assess the viability of the existing building stock to determine whether/which structures could be considered economically obsolete, or identify cases in which the property may be more valuable without an obsolete structure.
- Conduct Hotel Feasibility Analysis. There is interest in determining whether a hotel could be supported in the West Salem Business District in light of proximity to downtown, overflow at Salem Convention Center, softball tournaments at Wallace Marine Park, access to wine country, and opportunity to obtain views. This analysis will determine the market for a hotel in the area, now or in the future.
- Develop Development Concepts. Possible development concepts will be developed to support further analysis of the range of traffic and infrastructure investments that may be required. Feedback on development concepts and transportation options will be the focus of a public forum later this summer. More detailed design concepts and charrettes may be completed in collaboration with a future architectural studio at the University of Oregon.
- Assess Traffic Circulation Needs and Mitigation. Evaluation will include identifying what traffic mitigation may be required to support the initial development concepts and in light of known transportation challenges in the area [ie: the third bridge]. Order of magnitude cost estimates for transportation access enhancements will also be included. This task assumes transportation modeling to "test" the impact of up to six alternatives on the transportation system and in light of new land uses and increased vehicle trips, assuming redevelopment occurs.
- Provide Summary Memoranda and Develop Recommendations. Recommendations will reflect the anticipated schedule of available funding in that the near-term recommendations should be lower cost and offer quick fixes appropriate to the level of urban renewal funding and/or City action. Longer-term recommendations will include a method for prioritizing future urban renewal investments.[italics added]
The bit about a hotel is also interesting. If a hotel is needed, it seems like there's way more sense in another downtown hotel that would serve Willamette and the State offices and making it easy to get to the ballparks without a car, than in building a highly subsidized one in West Salem and trying to fill it.
And if our experiences with urban renewal have taught us anything over the decades, it's to be suspicious of projects that require large-scale demolition and clearance.
There's potential for hijinks and boondoggletry here!
This is a study to watch closely - but since the Edgewater district is in fact very dormant, it's also possible that something genuinely useful will emerge, so being skeptical doesn't preclude pleasant surprises. It rates a yellow for caution (we're gonna go with a highlighter theme today).
Super important, and also interesting, but not representing a whole lot of completely new information is the draft Capitol Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2014/15 to 2018/19. (Here's the city microsite with a link to a better pdf of the CIP - it's fascinating that the Council agendas usually contain links to scanned versions of the same docs rather than links to the original electronic pdfs. Maybe this is to satisfy some legal requirement, but the second- and third-generation copies of printed-out pdfs are always inferior!)
Here's a bunch of tables and charts. At least theoretically, this is a compilation document, and shouldn't represent new things. You can see how
|Overall funding - see the road bond tail off|
|The corresponding sources - gas tax gone?|
|Transportation as 20% of total|
|More on dinky gas tax and other funding sources|
|Breakdown on the Minto Bridge - are there more pieces?|
- Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) grants (Transportation Alternatives Program and the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program) totaling approximately $2,500,000
- Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) Local Government Grant totaling $750,000
- Business Oregon Brownfields Redevelopment Fund grant totaling approximately $50,000
- Salem Keizer Transportation Area Study (SKATS) grant of $500,000
- Approximately $200,000 from the South Waterfront Urban Renewal Area (for the Trail)
- Approximately $6,000,000 from the Riverfront Downtown Urban Renewal Area (for the Bridge)
|The light at Union and Commercial|
|Marine Drive construction|
The Conference Center
The Conference Center is baffling. Does the Conference Center operate at a loss or not? Evidence is conflicting!
Yearly statements suggest a loss...
|Conference Center's Operating Loss for 2013|
From Urban Renewal Agency Annual Financial Report
|Conference Center Operating Loss from 2012|
But according to the update at Council on Monday, the Convention Center "has operated in the black from the beginning."
|"in the black"? - Conference Center update|
An accountant might be able to parse all this, but it's totally opaque for ordinary citizens!
Also: City Limits and the UGB
Speaking of opaque, the policies on annexations confound. On the agenda is an additional staff report with responses to some citizen comments on the six policies that were on the docket earlier this month.
Approve the following...for the processing of annexations in 2014: (1) include all adjacent right-of-way in the annexation territory; (2) include adjacent properties and potential enclave properties in an annexation territory only when the property owner and the petitioner agree to it; (3) require the petitioner to include the entire lot or parcel of record in an annexation territory; (4) initiate annexation of all eligible enclaves; (5) allow petitioner to retain their farm-use tax deferral status; and (6) allow annexation to be scheduled for the next general election regardless of a scheduled special election being available sooner.As a somewhat related matter, the City proposes to concur with a proposed enlargment of the Urban Growth Boundary to accomodate the recently acquired parcel that enlarged Keizer Rapids Park.
(And what would happen if the City of Salem didn't play nice and said "no" to the City of Keizer?)
Food Carts! There's a brief update on progress towards some updated ordinances for food carts. The main problems new regulations will address:
- Clear definitions for various types of Mobile Food Units.
- Allow Mobile Food Units to vend on public land and right-of-ways.
- Remove the 500 foot and 250 foot separation requirement between Mobile Food
- Eliminate the 6 month time limit on private property.
A summary update on the proposed sale and redevelopment of the North Campus of the State Hospital contains no new action, but some interesting details, including what looks like a statement about how the land is valued because it requires lots of work:
The appraisal identified the "as is" value of the property as $1.6 Million. Demolition and abatement of all buildings, except for the Dome Building, is estimated at approximately $7 Million.The parcel is kinda like a used car that a previous insurer had totaled and now a chop shop has it for sale, isn't it? That's a real big and complicated project. Hopefully backing off and taking more time will ensure a congenial success.
Lastly, there is an information report on a 140-lot Phased Subdivision of a 27.7-Acre Site at about 2825 Brush College Road NW. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it looks like it might be interesting for reasons that can't be verified right now. Maybe you will look at it and see something interesting. If it is genuinely interesting, we'll circle back around to it later. (If not, we'll just leave this elliptical murk. For the moment, "make a note of it.")