Sunday, July 15, 2018

NEN to talk North Campus of State Hospital; CANDO on old Greyhound Station

CANDO and NEN meet this week and there are several items of interest on their agenda.

Northeast Neighbors, the Englewood/North High area neighborhood Association meets Tuesday the 17th and they have a very interesting item of citywide significance:
  • Mountain West, Richard Berger, Conceptual drawings for OR. State Hospital property.
This is adapted from an earlier Mountain West Proposal
for the North Campus. (Comments in white and red added)
I have not been following NESCA, the neighborhood to the east of NEN, and it turns out they've had a lot of discussion of it recently.

Though there doesn't appear to be an executed sale yet, everywhere you turn it's talk about Mountain West, as if they are the only ones negotiating with the State now. So this makes it look like we are heading towards a more cookie-cutter three-story walkup apartment complex rather than a more urbane plan with generious "missing middle" types and more mixed-use on Center Street. This is looking like monoculture and big parking lots. (Of course the neighborhood wants monoculture at the other end of the scale: abundant single-family housing.)

Here is an excerpt from the February NESCA minutes with more:
North Campus Update (Darrin Brightman, DAS)
The North Campus project will be proceeding without the segments that face onto Center Street. Currently working on designs for street improvement, with RFPs out for bid. Until this is completed, the sale of the property can not be closed. Darrin reported DAS hopes to have this completed by June or July. At that time DAS can then proceed on contracts with Mountain West (4 parcels), the Housing Authority (Yaquina Hall), and the City of Salem (D Street Park). Darrin mentioned that the D Street park property has not yet been officially transferred to the City as it can’t be finalized until the street improvement designs are completed, probably June or July with the rest of the property. Darrin also provided information about the Dome Building repairs that are being done (roof, etc.) Corrections would like to paint the building to match the “J” building and the South Campus. As the building falls within NESCA and is on the historic register, they are unable to proceed with changing the paint color without the approval of NESCA. A motion to allow Corrections to change the paint color from the current cream color to match the South Campus buildings was made, seconded, and voted on. Motion passed....
A new paint scheme for the Dome Building indeed
(See notes from April)
The complete removal of the walnut trees on 24th was brought up and the question was asked if this is a possibility for the North Campus walnut trees. Darrin said that the 24th Street trees were the responsibility of the hospital administration, not DAS. DAS learned of their removal at the same time as the rest of us. He said that the North Campus trees will likely all come down EVENTUALLY as there is disease in some of the trees and those trees will need to be removed sooner or later. But, he stressed they will not be done all at the same time as was done on 24th and, when a tree (or trees) is taken down, there will be succession planting. He was unsure of the type of trees to be used as replacements but believed the plan is to use White Oak.

Richard Berger: Mountain West
Richard said that the same basic plan as presented to NESCA in November is still in place. The question was asked if the “integrity of the single-family homes” stated for D Street has been given any consideration as was requested for the single family homes on Park Avenue. He said there has been discussion and we will have more opportunities to discuss it before any actual construction is started. They are hoping to begin construction sometime in early 2019.
So I don't know. It's the sinking feeling of disappointment and having to see reduced ambition.

Hopefully there will be a more definite proposal made public soon.

NEN will be the best opportunity for the latest.

Also, in last month's minutes from NEN, there was a very exciting note about the Congestion Task Force, which is supposed to meet again later this month:
Congestion Task Force....Look at modifying items such as adding extra lanes to help with traffic flow. Instead of engineering solutions wants to look at behavior change with carpooling and transit.
That's the spirit! Look at managing demand better instead of just increasing road supply! This is a promising sign.

NEN meets Tuesday the 17th, at 6:30pm in the Salem First Church of the Nazarene, 1550 Market Street NE.


The downtown  neighborhood association, CANDO, also meets on Tuesday the 17th, and they'll get a briefing on the mid-century Greyhound building that the nextdoor Center for Hope and Safety will be remodeling and reusing demolishing. (See update in comments.)

Old Greyhound Station (left)
and Center for Hope and Safety (right)
You may remember a few years back some information on the sale and City support of that project, and it is nice to see it moving again.

CANDO will also vote on a proposal to apply for Parks Foundation grant to install a bike fixit station at the Conference Center.

CANDO installed this one in fall 2014
That's a nice idea and all, but the Conference Center is one of the worst places in Salem for bicycling! Neither Liberty nor Commercial have bike lanes, and only the very most confident cyclists will "take the lane" even with the sharrows on Commercial. Though there are bike lanes on the Trade/Front couplet, the east-bound bike lane on Trade essentially terminates in the rudest way with the right-turn only lanes onto Commercial. It is also on the opposite side of the street from the Conference Center. The bike lane on Ferry is also on the opposite side. When you "stay to the right" it's impossible to reach the Conference Center on the left. Conceptually, we would say the Confererence Center is in a giant center median for two highways, one an actual State highway, the other might as well be a highway.

Trade/Front and Commercial. Going straight is nearly impossible.
With dual turns, large radius corner,
speeds are also often too fast.
This is a broken bike lane!
So this would be a little bit of a Potemkin bicycle-friendly gesture, more an optimistic emblem, a kind of bikey virtue-signalling really, than something deeply useful for broad numbers of people.

So sure. Put in a repair station. It will be nice. It'll be useful also for any public bike system we finally get put in. But let's talk more about the roads downtown. We have to tame the cars. We should want to have a way to use the station without having to bike or dismount on sidewalks and in the crosswalks. A station here effectively enforces the sidewalkification of bicycling.

New sculpture at the Conference Center: "Entwined"
Also at the Conference Center they recently installed a new sculpture. It looks a little like a mid-centure mobile, a little googie or atomic-era. You might have other readings. It's playful and active in a way that some other sculpture we've added recently is not.

But this photo is on a beautiful summer evening last night! The plaza is dead, dead, dead. There's nothing going on here, and nothing on the adjacent corners at Commercial and Trade. (Remember, a nursing home will be going in kitty-corner.)

Our approach to public art too often is as a drive-to destination, or tucked into spandrels that have nothing else going on, and not part of creating lively urban places.

CANDO meets Tuesday the 17th, at 6:00 p.m. at First Christian Church on 685 Marion Street NE.


Susann Kaltwasser said...

Art in a desert!

I saw them setting up some tables on that barren wasteland called a this heat I'll bet that was fun.

Lost opportunity for something nice.

And taxpayers got to spend their hard earned money on this nothing.

Why can't Salem have some nice human relatable art like an animal or a person doing something interesting, so that it at least it looks like someone goes in that space?

BTW, good work on digging out the information about the State Hospital land. Again another lost opportunity for Salem. Predictable that it would just be more standard apartments with little green space. I was just beginning to enjoy how nice and green that oasis was!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Shoot! On the Greyhound station it looks like demolition rather than remodel and reuse. From the CANDO minutes:

"The board heard presentations by...Jayne Downing about the Center for Hope and Safety’s development of the old Greyhound Bus station next door, which will soon be raised to make room for Hope Plaza, a three-story, mixed-use building intended to serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual exploitation no longer under safety threats. The project, which is set to begin construction in 2020, envisions first floor businesses offering services such as job training. The upper floors will consist of meeting rooms and 20 low-income apartments, with an interior courtyard."