Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Proposed Union Gospel Mission Shelter Could Change Division Street Neighborhood

Well, the Union Gospel Mission has a picture for the proposed new shelter!

Proposed new UGM center
(Note stop bar and median on street,
also a sidewalk stub where there is no crosswalk)
It is said to be north of Division and South of D Street on Commercial.

The stop bar and median suggests it is right at the corner of Division and Commercial.

Can't quite get the angle right in the google, but
the rendering appears to show this section
 of Commercial at Division.
Earlier, a letter from March suggested the whole half block, but the architectural rendering here suggests about a quarter block instead.

The thrift store in the NE quarter-block at 885
doesn't appear much affected, but the smaller lots
on the SE quarter-block look involved
The only thing is, this part of Division is an intact mid-century grouping!

Division has wacky charm from another era here
Look at the old dynamo advertising the Electric motor shop! The building, at least somewhat remodeled, is from 1924.

Division Street
On one side of the Electric Shop is a 1910 cottage zoned for office use and on the other side is a mid-century modern office building from 1950.

These are high-style nothing, so it's not like they need to be preserved on stylistic grounds. Behind the buildings is a lot of parking lot that should be redeveloped, and a shelter would be a new use of high purpose and worth.

So the case for historic preservation is probably pretty weak, all things considered.

But they are useful buildings, and they have embodied energy in their construction that should not easily be discarded. The greenest building is the one already there!

Addtionally, the Mission doesn't own any of these buildings yet, so it seems a bit cheeky for the UGM to show a rendering in their footprint with the buildings either moved or demolished.

So there are significant questions yet here.

Hopefully the UGM will proceed with caution and with thoughtfulness and figure out what can be reused and how.

"Guilt" by Association?! - via the facebook
 (The building rendering makes me think of Broadway Commons and the Boise project more than a little, and it wouldn't be surprising for CB|Two to have another religious client. They also did the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs new Lebanon Home. Will check into this. They would handle the site with care and seem like they would have the exact technical expertise for this kind of project.)

(Update - turns out CB|Two isn't the architect. See comment below.)

Don't Forget about Bikes!

A high proportion of shelter clients and residents depend on bicycle transportation, and about a quarter of all homeless people are Veterans (see this 1999 report and data from 2005.)

If we are serious about serving especially those we laud as heroes, we will make a real effort to do better for them.

Clients and residents might have an interest in high quality and secure bike parking as well as better bike lanes along Front, Commercial, and Division here.

So in addition to the private development, we need to continue to think about non-auto travel in the public rights-of-way, especially here where the roads are wide, busy, and fast.


KandN said...

After a discussion on Twitter, when this was first proposed, my biggest concern became the possibility of more peds trying to cross that stretch of the highway. Other than that, I wish them well in creating a bigger space to do their good works.

Terpening Family said...

My husband works at CB|Two Architects. They are not the architect on this project, but feel it is good design and hope the best for the end result and it's impact on Salem. Thanks for affirming words.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the update on the architect - and look forward to CB|Two's next big project in town!

Susann Kaltwasser said...

It looks nice and about time these people had nice place to call 'home' and get the services they need. Too bad Salem does not have more of these facilities for the homeless. There is really no excuse in my opinion to have people living on the streets or under bridges in such a prosperous country as ours. A lot of communities are recognizing the savings of getting the homless in perminent housing and lowering the cost of health care, police and social services. Salem has a lot of work to do. Good on Salem Gospel Mission for all the wonderful work that they do!

Sadly there are perfectuly usable rooms that could be used as affordable housing for the poor going to ruin at the North Campus of the State Hospital. Courtney wants those usable buildings to be razed so that the land might be sold to a big out of area corporation instead!