Sunday, June 15, 2014

Baseball's History Here is also the History of the City

You might remember last spring when folks in NEN-SENSA met on the airport and Mission Street area.  The meeting notes had more on the old auto dealership site at 25th and Mission:
Jim Green gave an overview of his family’s vacant property on Mission Street, which was formerly an auto dealership. A 4.5-acre portion of the property has been sold to Power Mission, a car dealership, leaving 17.5 acres for sale. He provided a brief history of the property and discussed his family’s efforts to redevelop it into a variety of uses, including a Trader Joes, REI and Panera Bread. Jim said Salem’s demographics as well as difficult site access have made the property unattractive to those and other desirable users. He added that his family has turned down other uses such as a McDonald’s Restaurant and Subway Restaurant and is instead looking to create a destination at the property that enhances the city. His family has met with City and Airport officials about possible uses, including a hotel. Jim also told meeting participants that he and the City would like to see a new road be built that connects Airport Road SE and 25th Street SE; the project is proposed to be added to the City’s Transportation System Plan.
Before the Post Office and before the car dealerships, there was baseball at 25th and Mission!

Waters Field was still on the edges of the city, but at least it was only a couple of miles from downtown, and the Geer line probably served it with rail. Keizer Station and Volcanoes Stadium is oriented to I-5 rather than to any municipality's center.

From Waters Field to Volcanoes Stadium
You can read more about the Salem-Senators and Waters Field here. Mission Mill's summer exhibit on local baseball, "The Boys of Summer," opens June 20th.

When you go, think about the urban forms, urban development, and transportation history expressed in conjunction with the history of baseball.

And think about what a varied history that 25th and Mission site has seen.

(Maybe there will be more to say later after the show opens!)


Curt said...

REI trivia for urbanists. The Portland store in the Pearl generates more revenue per square foot than any other location in the country. The only stores that generate more gross revenue are the flagship stores in Seattle and Denver.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Very interesting. So why, then, I wonder, was the Boise Cascade site ruled out and Keizer Station picked instead?

Mike D said...

Because for the most part REI caters to suburbanites who like to think that they're Lewis & Clark. So they usually pick locations in auto-dependent sprawl and then use the excuse that that's where they have to be to be successful but they'd rather be in town centers.

I stopped shopping at REI because of what they've become.

One final affront-they pick a horrible location and then have the nerve to call it REI-Salem.

Curt said...


I don't know all the factors that were considered in selecting the location. I think the ingredients that contribute to the success of the Pearl store are residential density and proximity to a large customer base. As you have pointed out many times, downtown Salem doesn't have either.

It also has some free garage parking and on street parking cost $1.50 per hour.

Perhaps if the values and priorities change, as they did in Portland, a retailer like REI could be lured downtown; like REI was lured to the Pearl from Jantzen Beach.

The Denver flagship store is right downtown. The NYC store is in SOHO. I think each location reflects the values and priorities of the communities they serve. Keizer Station reflects those values.