Saturday, December 12, 2015

City Council, December 14th - Fairview and the State Hospital

Most of the good bits on Council's agenda for Monday are discussed in other posts or elsewhere, so we'll start with links. At the top is more on the way we approach redevelopment at former State institutional sites.

Le Breton Hall in 2011
You already know about the new plan to demolish Le Breton Hall at Fairview.

Also very interesting is something SCV turned up. The Salem Housing Advisory Committee recommends "12 acres of affordable housing at the North Campus site [of the State Hospital] on Center Street," or approximately a quarter of the acreage that might be redeveloped:
Affordable housing fits the North Campus redevelopment vision. The North Campus is within several established neighborhoods and within biking/walking/transit proximity to concentrated employment at Government and medical facilities.
From the beginning of talk about the prospect of redevelopment it has seemed like this proximity has always been one of the most important features.

It's 10 minutes by bike to the Capitol!
It is good to see some convergence! - for advocates of better transportation, advocates of better land use, advocates for better neighborhoods, advocates for affordable housing all to see this parcel as critical and useful. (Now if the health advocates will weigh in!)

And although not all the buildings are involved, historic preservation is also represented. The most disappointing omission from the current preservation plan, but also one with great difficulties, is the Pietro Belluschi design of Breitenbush Hall. A long and very thin strip, it has a form and site disposition perfect for institutional use, but more difficult for other market-based uses. It hogs up a lot of the land and spacing, and makes it more difficult to deploy other new buildings around it.

Half of Belluschi's Breitenbush Hall - A shallow strip, super wide
and a good distance from the sidewalk across a lawn
So it's probably going be demolished. SCV has details on a tour of Breitenbush Hall at the State Hospital.


The Department of Administrative Services will open the Breitenbush Hall First Floor on Tuesday December 15, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM for public access to view the interior of the building, and the tunnel from Breitenbush Hall to Santiam Hall.

The tour begins at the rear entrance to Breitenbush Hall, parking is available behind the building. The property is located between Northeast Center St, D St, 23rd and Park.

Following December 15, 2015, the buildings will be secured to begin testing for hazardous materials and access will no longer be possible.

No reservations are necessary.

For questions please contact: Eric Grindy, CCIM Senior Real Estate Manager Administrative Services, State of Oregon, 503-428-3808,
Kuebler Station  - via SCV
SCV is also all over the latest on Kuebler Station, a shopping center proposed for  I-5 and Kuebler. Council will recieve a report on a preliminary determination of infrastructure for the proposal. The land is currently zoned for "residential agriculture," so it seems like there is leverage in the discussion and negotiation about it. So one approach might be to try tame it and make is "nicer." Another approach might be to ask if it is in any form something we actually need, another shopping center right on the Interstate. From here it seems doubtful to be the kind of development that is at all helpful for Salem. Smaller-scaled, walkable, neighborhood-level commercial development, and not big-box development, seems like what we should want.

Proposed West Salem Goodwill from Edgewater
The West Salem Goodwill, which is at the Planning Commission on Tuesday, also has an information report on a replat. (I suppose this is big-box, too, but it has an important difference - big-box for reuse/recycle, and the quasi-industrial nature of the area makes it less suited for other kinds of projects. Goodwill seems like a very good compromise use for this site, and it is also not nearly so car-dependent in the way Kuebler Station would be.)

So the most interesting remaining item that hasn't been discussed - but also related to the  Goodwill - is the budget for up to $100,000 to refine the proposal for an undercrossing of Wallace Road along the RR/Second Street alignment. In light of the 3/4 at-grade street improvement that the current Staff Report recommends Goodwill to build on Second Street, it is strange to see this parallel notion for a below-grade crossing pushed forward. It seems like we should commit to one or the other, and not pursue both concurrently. These parallel and concurrent planning trajectories seem wasteful. I hope the Planning Commission and Staff can find a better way for Goodwill to contribute to concept of a below-grade undercrossing.

Phase I Transportation Projects in green
West Salem Business District Action Plan, Nov 2015
(It is also a little strange that the word "undercrossing" isn't included in the project description, and it is possible that I am misreading it. The formal question for the URA is should the city complete...
a detailed feasibility analysis and cost estimate for Phase I transportation improvements recommended in the Action Plan, including 1) right turn from northbound Wallace Road NW to the proposed 2nd Street NW; 2) access from the proposed 2nd Street NW to Musgrave Lane NW and Wallace Marine Park; and 3) proposed Marine Drive NW from 2nd Street NW to Glen Creek Road NW?
In the Action Plan itself, Phase I transportation improvements do include the undercrossing, but they are not referenced explicitly here in the description. It would be very sad if this feasibility study was only a donut with a hole where the undercrossing should be.)

And there is a brief note with an update on the passenger rail project, whose team continues to recommend the existing UP track as the "preferred alternative."

At the Federal Level
All you really need to know about the transportation bill that the Feds just passed is that it's now called FAST. Pretty much at odds with the Paris Climate talks and all. In any event, I've been looking for a good summary for a few days, and the Toole Design Group, a bike/ped planning firm, has one now. The conclusion:
Perhaps the most significant thing about the FAST Act is that it provides five years of certainty for State and local agencies that depend on this funding for critical transportation infrastructure projects. Effectively, very little has changed in the funding programs and structure compared to MAP-21 and prior years—bicycling and walking projects remain broadly eligible in all the major funding categories and the funding for more targeted programs—now known as the Surface Transportation Block Grant Set-aside Program—remains at a similar level.


Sarah Owens said...

To clarify, this is the recommendation the Commissioners will consider:

Recommendation: The Salem Housing Advisory Committee recommends to the City of Salem Housing Authority Board of Commissioners to direct the Housing Administrator, in conjunction with the Executive Director, to address the growing deficit of affordable rental housing for low and moderate income Seniors, Disabled and Families by pursuing the development of mixed-income affordable housing on the North Campus of the State Hospital, and elsewhere within the City and the Housing Authority's area of operations. Further, to create an affordable housing committee that is responsible for developing affordable housing policies and strategies and reporting on progress on affordable housing development.

Please note it no longer contains the 25% provision, although 25% is mentioned in the discussion. Here again a link to the recommendation.

Anonymous said...

More on the FAST act at City Observatory and T4America -

Anonymous said...

Is it appropriate for this kind of plan for development to contain some information on the effect of the Englewood School district?