Friday, August 31, 2018

On his Bike Jack Rice Died Last Night in Collision with Train

From Salem PD:
On August 30, 2018 at approximately 7:30 pm Salem police officers and Salem firefighters responded to State Street and 12th Street on the report of a bicyclist being struck by a train. The male cyclist was declared deceased at the scene by medics.

Witnesses reported that the male cyclist had been riding westbound on State Street when he approached the railroad crossing and was struck by a southbound Amtrak passenger train. Based on the initial investigation, it appears that the railroad warnings and barriers were functioning at the time of the collision.

The deceased's identity will not be released until his next of kin have been notified.

It is anticipated that eastbound State Street at 12th Street will be closed for the next few hours while the investigation is completed.
As the release says, State Street is eastbound here, so a person riding westbound is either going against traffic or is on the sidewalk. And the lack of bike lanes on the Court/State couplet may compound any errors in judgement or perception. Hard to say very much until we know more.

Update, September 1st

Update, September 15th

At the crossing

Memorial for Jack Rice

This post will be updated as more information comes out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Safe Routes and Cherriots Host Second Active Transportation Network Meeting Thursday

This is late notice, but if you have tomorrow afternoon free, Thursday the 30th a group of transportation advocates will hold their second meeting at Cherriots. The group appears to be mostly aimed at those already working for government or non-profits in transportation or transportation-adjacent areas, but if you wanted to network and learn, this could be a good way to get involved and for something to lead to specific projects and advocacy.

meeting agenda
From the Safe Routes to Schools description:
The Salem-Keizer Active Transportation Network (ATN) serves as an informational hub for community-based organizations and public agencies in the region to share information on best practices and upcoming funding competitions, and to engage in increasing active transportation investments and policy....

The ATN meeting on the 30th will be focused on transit and transporation options for the region....A Spanish language interpreter will be available to accomodate our Spanish-speaking partners.

Funny Lot with Walls on Second and Patterson NW to Become Sports Rehab Clinic

The City's posted a Hearing Notice for a proposed sports medicine rehab clinic on the funny walled lot on Second and Patterson.

From this...via Streetview

To this! via Public Hearing Notice
Mostly it looks pretty great, but you know, could we just arrange a swap so that Xicha gets this spot, and the clinic goes to the more hidden, industrial park site? (I know, I know.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Four Corners of Dud: At Commercial and Chemeketa Streets

We spend a fair amount of time here lamenting and lambasting the empty lots and surface parking lots downtown. Most of the voids had buildings on them at one time, and after fires or other building loss, owners haven't found sufficient incentive to rebuild on them.

There are other lots that have buildings on them, but are underwhelming, sterile, or just duds.

In thinking about the prospect of the UGM move, the old Gerlinger Building on the southwest corner (Firestone today) of Chemeketa and Commercial came to mind. Between the Chemeketa Parkade straddling the two east-side corners and the buildings on the west side, there are no empty lots here. But there are now four corners of dud. We haven't exactly trashed the intersection, and there are useful businesses on the corners, but the architecture is dull or unfriendly, especially with the parkade, and in total it is much less lively and interesting than it should be.

West side of Chemeketa & Commercial
from north, 1943 - detail
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
Of all the intersections in downtown, especially those that have buildings and are not empty, it is the one I most wished we still had around in an older form. High & Chemeketa is a close second, but that's more related to the voids on the old City Hall site, and the still-empty north transit mall. In any case, even with the too-big roads, Liberty & State as well as Liberty and Court retain most of their integrity and are intersections we should cherish and value while we still have them. By comparison, Chemeketa & Commercial is charmless and lifeless.

This is just a tour of the four corners and what used to be on them. It surfs around in time and is not trying to show what the intersection looked like at any one particular time or to trace out the specifics of building development or retail history. So it's a little ahistorical in that regard. But all four quarters were intact during the early- and mid-20th century, and talking about them together is not to create a chimera.

City of Salem Historic Buildings map, notes added

Monday, August 27, 2018

Environmental Justice at the MPO Tuesday

The Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets tomorrow, Tuesday the 28th, and they'll be getting a refresher on Environmental Justice and Title VI requirements, will consider setting Legislative priorities for the next session, and ratify adopting more Performance Measures that ODOT has set rather than setting them independently at the MPO.

These are mostly just some notes in passing. (See also notes last week on continued intransigence on greenhouse gas assessment.)

On Environmental Justice, even though there is a formal and legal framework, it is more about process and procedure than about outcome, and it is not clear that it's actually very effective. Environmental Justice is another framework we could use for evaluating greenhouse gas emissions - and, indeed, the Federal lawsuit in Eugene may well develop new approaches along this line. But the MPO on its own could still interpret the legal requirements in more charitable and more effective ways rather than in the minimalist, pro forma way we see now.

SKATS currently evades
addressing "adverse environmental effects"
of greenhouse gas emissions

The EJ analysis is not very robust
For next year's Legislative session, the Eugene area MPO submitted a draft of priorities (1-17) for statewide consensus at a state-level organization, and SKATS can get on board with that or can develop its own list. The top of the list is dominated by non-auto mobility. SKATS has been lukewarm, and sometimes even hostile, to this general sense of priority, so it will be interesting to see what they have to say. Probably they will not adopt a concurrence.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

City Council, August 27th - To Buy the old UGM

Council meets on Monday, and there's little in the way of transportation-related issues. There are other topics of interest, of course!

Under Runaway Arts, Saffron Supply, and the UGM
are the bones of old buildings, heavily remodeled.
But also - apartments over retail!
(Salem Library Historic Photos)

Same view today - via Streetview
Bullets only for this one:

Saturday, August 25, 2018

1870s Nesmith Block, Bell Tower Brothel, City Laundry Mystery: Errata and Addenda

A couple of photos posted to social media deserve some comment, and chasing down one of them turned up information about a third. These are mainly just footnotes and some commentary along the way.

The Nesmith Block Update: Smith's Brick

Two views of Nesmith Building Smith's Brick
1870s and 1955
(State Archives FB and Salem Library Historic Photos)

Over on FB State Archives posted an interesting image of old Salem. About the image, which seems to be sourced from State Fair archives, State Archives doesn't have much to say, and they may not in fact know its location:
Our historic image of the day shows Main Street in Salem Oregon circa 1875....

Orrin Atchinson 'Atch' Waller, as O.A. Waller was familiarly known, was the son of Rev. Alvin F. Waller after whom Waller hall at Willamette university was named. Born at Oregon City August 9, 1843, he came to Salem when he was still a boy, and for the space of two generations was prominent in the life of the city.

He was a gunsmith by trade, considered a master in that calling at a time when the use of guns meant gaining the necessaries of life and the protection of it from actual and threatened Indian invasions. In his generation 'Atch' Waller was one of the most popular residents of the capital city. Mr. Waller January 19, 1856, married Mary L. Chamberlain, daughter of a pioneer Methodist missionary. She died March 7, 1924.
We can do better than "Main Street" - which is likely just a generic label, though it could be an earlier name for Commercial Street. (The 1876 Birds Eye map as well as the map in the 1870 Directory both label it "Commercial," not "Main" Street, however, and if there was a name change, it had to have been very early.)

It's pretty clearly an old view of the Nesmith Building Smith's Brick on the southwest corner of Ferry and Commercial, currently the Umpqua Bank site across from the Conference Center. At some point the building became known as the Smith Block, and in the 1870s the State Library was in it. In the 1850s the Territorial Legislature met in it, and other state functions were housed in it also over the years. Later the WCTA, Capital Journal, and Oregon Statesman had offices in it. Directly across from the Chemeketa Hotel, it was an important building in Salem history.

via 1870 City Directory

The photo's too fuzzy to read more than the bit on Waller and a second sign that says "Job Printing." The 1870 Directory listed the State Printer in the Griswold Block (one block north on State and Commercial) and didn't list any printers in this building, so it's hard to say who it might be. If the original is better, maybe a better scan will turn up.

(Update: See here for a discussion of the error on the Nesmith Building and affirmation that it was always Smith's Brick.)

Bell Tower Brothel?

via Facebook
This image of the alley by the Book Bin is circulating quite a bit right now and, shoot, there's a significant, though perhaps unintended, error being spread about any Bell Tower Brothel. It's a little pedantic to point this out, but this "telephone game" is a way bad history spreads and grows.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Weekend Fun: Peach Ride on Sunday, Climate Run on Saturday, Santiam's Trail Builder Lounge

August 20th, 1918

The Salem Bicycle Club's Peach of a Century Ride is this weekend, and if you are looking for a fun, but long, ride through the rolling Waldo Hills, the weather looks pretty good - 72 degrees, though a little cloudy also.

Day-of-Ride registration (for $45) starts at 7:30am on Sunday the 26th. (Full description and links to maps and forms here.)
Each route starts and ends at Chemeketa Community College. The Full Century route is challenging with some steep hills. The 75-Mile route also involves a significant of amount climbing. The Metric Century route offers flat to rolling terrain with some moderate hills....The routes follow low-volume roads past the farm fields of the Willamette Valley, through forested foothills and rural communities east of Salem....

There are three rest stops on the 100-Mile route and two on the 66 and 76-Mile routes. All rest stops have food, water, sports drink, restrooms and friendly volunteers. The weather is typically mild to warm in the late fall although we have experienced rain during past events. Bring extra layers just in case. The 100-Mile route goes through Jefferson, Stayton, Sublimity, and Silverton. The Metric Century and 76-Mile routes visit Jefferson and Stayton. All riders must finish by 6:00 p.m. A sag vehicle will sweep both courses at day's end.

On Saturday, there is a run/walk for the environment.
The local climate action group 350 Salem and the youth environmental organization Plant for the Planet enthusiastically invite you to participate in the first 1st Salem Run For The Climate on August 25, 2018 at 9 am in Minto-Brown Island Park. The goal of our 5k walk/run is to bring community members together around the cause of climate change in an entirely new setting, with the hope of creating a positive, family-friendly walk/run through which people can build community and have fun.

Our registration is $25 for adults until July 1st after which adult registration will be $30 per person. Registration for children 12 and under is $10. The race will start at the covered shelter in Minto-Brown. Please arrive early to hear announcements and to pick up your reusable goody bag and raffle ticket.
Finally, last month Santiam Bicycle put in a bar!

Adult Beverages at the Trial Builder Lounge
This is a newish thing for bike shops. Though it regrettably just closed, the bar at Velo Cult in Portland was a real community hub. The Salem Area Trail Alliance has done a couple of events at Santiam, and this is a nice amenity to add to that.

Twilight on the River will light up the Minto Bridge

Willamette Valley Hospice and several other organizations are holding a combo celebration and memorial down in Riverfront Park this evening.
Imagine thousands of luminarias glowing at twilight, each light representing someone who has brought love, laughter and light into our lives – a friend, family member, neighbor, or co-worker. In celebration of Willamette Valley Hospice’s 40th year of caring for neighbors in our community, 24,000 glowing luminarias will honor and remember each of them.
Quite apart from the fact that it is about dying and memory, it is also about light, and beauty, and, well, infrastructure.

It could be one of the very best and most wonderful uses of the Minto Bridge and path system since it opened. Maybe the best full stop.

In addition to ways you might want to remember someone, it's also a candidate for the most creative employment of the bridge, a delightful and moving aesthetic moment in and of itself, and something to consider visiting this evening.

The smoke is supposed to have subsided, the temperatures will have moderated, and it could be a very magical evening.

There is a program at 7pm, and the twilight stroll between 8pm and 9pm.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Hazy Skies and Unsettled Weather at the MPO: Intransigence on Goal 7

On its one year anniversary yesterday, the Eclipse was in the news again.

What if we had still had smoky, crappy air? - via Twitter
But what might we have missed? We were lucky!

Monday, August 20, 2018

In the Neighborhoods: NEN, CANDO, Planning Commission

CANDO, NEN, and the Planning Commission all meet tomorrow the 21st, and they have several items of interest on their agenda.


CANDO will discuss a "Motion to recommend City Council retain Winter Street SE between Ferry and Bellevue in the Pay to Park District." You might remember that Willamette University wants that stretch to remain free. (See notes here and some CANDO comment here on expectations for free parking.)

Last month they also heard from
Jayne Downing about the Center for Hope and Safety’s development of the old Greyhound Bus station next door, which will soon be raised [razed?] 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.
It's a bit of a bummer that the mid-century storefronts and bus station can't be reused, but adding 20 apartments and the other components sounds like a winning package in total. It's hard to be too cranky about prospects for that demolition. There is a mural, however, on the wall of an old jazz club or something inside there, and some thought should be given to documenting that at least in photos. There's probably some interesting mid-century history to record.

Finally, movement on the empty lot! (from 2014)
Not on the agenda, but an important project downtown, and likely to be on a future agenda...the first permit applications are being submitted for redeveloping the gravel lot on State and Commercial! There will be more to say as the project gets farther along. One important piece is a reduction in the parking requirements, as most of the residences will be studios and explicitly aimed at car-free or car-lite living. This is likely to be contested by MOAR PARKING advocates, and the City could do a better job messaging about the trade-off: We can have more people housing at a lower cost; or, requirements for more car housing cause less people housing and at a higher cost per unit. Car housing raises the cost and space requirements of people housing.

Brooks-Hopmere Rail Loading Project Worth Notice

Just a quick hit from the morning paper...

The proposal for the Brooks-Hopmere Intermodal Facility is worth noting. It would be a transfer site for loading freight from truck to rail as a better way to reach more distant ports for international shipments. With the Port of Portland's struggles, this would make reaching larger ports easier than long slogs up and down I-5. The Brooks-Hopemere site is sandwiched between the Portland & Western (old Oregon Electric) and the main Union Pacific lines, at least on the surface giving the appearance of flexibility and versatility.

This has been percolating for a while, so it's not exactly new news. The pre-proposal packets largely date from November and December:
In July the Capital Press had a piece that went into more detail on potential problems, one of them being a mismatch with the source and flow of empty containers, another the existence of transfer facilities already in the Portland area, and both the SJ and CP pieces are worth a read.

This would be a significant regional transportation hub, and even if it's outside the usual Salem and urban focus here, it is worth knowing about.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Pieces on Work Zone and Motorcycle Safety Still Evade Centrality of Driving's Danger

There was an interesting secondary theme in the paper today on road safety. It didn't make the front page, but it made an interior page of the front section and the bulk of the editorial section.

But together they represent a primary blind spot in our autoism. They work to insulate "ordinary" driving from criticism, imply there is a level or kind of perfectly safe driving, and insist that bad actors and bad behavior is the primary cause of crashes and death. "Distracted driving" is the culprit. Not speed or road design, or driving at inherently lethal speeds itself.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Council Task Force should Follow OTC on Decongestion Pricing

This past week the Oregon Transportation Commission met and decided to advance an application for a decongestion pricing plan to the Federal Highway Administration.

Recognizing that our 20th century toolbox of capacity expansion has failed, the Chair of the Commission said, "We will not be able to build our way out of the congestion issues that we have."

Salem's Congestion Relief Task Force, August 3rd Presentation
The Congestion Relief Task Force here earlier this month saw a slide in the presentation that alludes to decongestion pricing as something possibly to consider. (Again, we call it "decongestion pricing" here because what is being purchased with a toll is less congestion; a toll isn't purchasing more congestion. There is in the rhetoric about "congestion pricing" an inversion of what we usually mean when we say we are buying and selling something we find valuable. Decongestion is the valuable good.)

The politics of decongestion pricing and its widespread unpopularity are what will dominate news about the OTC's meeting, but there was another matter a little buried on the OTC agenda that was even more wide-ranging and important.

The Directors of three other State agencies, DEQ, DLCD, and Energy sent to the OTC an interesting letter on greenhouse gases and transportation.

They write:
According to the Oregon Global Warming Commission’s 2017 Biennial Report to the Legislature, Oregon will not meet the Legislature’s 2020 target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction (ten percent below 1990 levels). We also are not on track for the Legislature’s 2035 and 2050 goals. With greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector increasing (rather than decreasing), and with transportation responsible for 39 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, it’s clear we need renewed focus on reducing emissions in this sector.
It's time we also tied pricing to greenhouse gas emissions. We need to price road use better so we can make more efficient use of transportation resources. That efficiency must include moving more people with fewer fossil fuels.

And no matter how you slice it, this means saying "we must drive less." (The OTC isn't quite there yet, it's true. Chair Baney also said that tolling was a way "to get additional [auto] capacity out of the system." The OTC will also need to come around to the value of driving less, not merely to an argument about efficiency by increasing capacity without new road building or widening.)

That's a big change. You'll note on the Task Force's slide above, it says of the Downtown Mobility Study's recommendations that "adopted projects...[will] reduce vehicle capacity."

Somehow we have to get over this fetish for vehicular "levels of service" and vehicular capacity. We must develop and hew to new metrics that evaluate service and capacity for people who may be traveling - should be traveling - by any number of different modes. We need to make the drive-alone trip the mobility choice of last resort, not the default and automatic first choice for every trip. We have to start discouraging some car trips, even. A commenter here last month said this was "pie in the sky wishful thinking," but there are other things in the sky demanding even more urgent attention, things that have already generated plenty of wishful thinking. We have to change course.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Soil Contamination and Monitoring Wells Point to History of UGM Site

It was interesting today to see the front page item on soil contamination at the current UGM Shelter site downtown at Center and Commercial.

McKinney car lot, Center & Commercial, 1961
on the north side of Center Street (Rite-Aid lot)
(Salem Library Historic Photos, and similar here)
This probably shouldn't be surprising. The area was a center of car dealerships and service at one time. This McKinney lot is just to the north kitty-corner across Center Street.

Otto J. Wilson garage, May 1952.  Image courtesy of John Wilson
You may recall the story of Otto J. Wilson. His garage and warehouse is now the site of Santiam Bikes just across Commercial Street.

The UGM site itself had different garage and gas station when the 1926 Sanborn Fire Map was compiled. (I have never seen any photos of it, unfortunately.)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

HOA Dodges True Cost of Road Use

So many interesting things in today's piece about a dispute over yellow bus service on privately maintained roads.
  • What is the scope of reasonable accommodation for ADA requirements? (And, actually, for any kids - it's hard not to think a subtext for the HOA is a wish to exclude kids entirely.)
  • The costs of maintenance and ways that we are unwilling to pay the true costs of using roads and the costs of ensuring minimum standards, like sidewalks, for roads. The budgetary problems or priorities the HOA faces scale up for the City, of course. (Cue Strong Towns critique of municipal finance...Here's two pieces on HOAs, for example.)
  • Residents might have different standards and expectations for the HOA and and for City of Salem. There seems to be acceptance for a set of lower standards at the HOA that might not always be extended to the City more generally. If road maintenance or sidewalks cost too much, what about projects to ease congestion? If we had to pay the true cost of road maintenance and road access, would we make different decisions and have different priorities?
  • Different construction standards also might be in play. Maybe the HOA roads were not constructed to the same standard we now require of local roads in new subdivisions. Bringing older streets up to standard is often part of the reason annexation doesn't pencil out for a city.
  • The incoherence of a "safety concern": If the lack of sidewalks is a problem for a school bus, how is the lack of sidewalks not also a problem for regular cars and their drivers? Isn't forcing a child to walk farther along substandard roads actually less safe than having a bus pick them up closer to home? This seems like another screen that may mask a preference for no children at all.
  • And, of course, the potentially discriminatory optics for Senator Winters. (Just a reminder, this blog isn't the place for praise or criticism of Senator Winters herself or for other comments on the contest in Senate District 10.)
There are probably other interesting themes as well.

I'm not sure there's enough detail here to have a close reading or any settled opinions on the matter right now, but it will be an interesting story to follow, and there will surely be more to unpack as the story develops and details come out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Staff Recommends Approval for Remodel on old Alessandro's Building Downtown

The Historic Landmarks Commission meets tomorrow the 16th, and the Staff Report recommends approval for the remodel on 120 Commercial St NE, the old Alessandro's/Spaghetti Warehouse building.

Proposal to add patio seating, firepit, and open the front porch
(from the Staff Report)
Even though parts of the building may be quite old, the building has been so remodeled over the years that the whole of it is formally identified as "non-contributing" in the Downtown Historic District. So further remodeling is not much regarded as harming anything and it just has to be generally friendly with its more historic neighbors. The Staff Report finds that the proposal is reasonable and does this. So there's not much of interest to say about that. The outdoor seating, recessed from the sidewalk a little, and sheltered by a roof, looks like a very nice addition, and it's hard to quibble with anything.

But in the historic discussion there's a little bit of new information! Some of it is just new here, but some of it might be new more generally.

The building site, you might recall, has been a frequent source of confusion. It's almost like a "Bermuda Triangle" for misidentification!

The first building on the site was apparently a livery barn and stables. The caption in the Library's photo collection says 1895, but this is plainly in error. The Staff Report cites a newspaper article from 1947 that dates the image to January, 1862.

A livery stable from the 1860s, not 1895
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
From the Staff Report:
The Durbin Brothers (Solomon and C.J., and later Isaac) had a livery at this corner as early as 1853. In 1867, the livery burned down and the brothers elected to build a new one at the same spot. They built a whole brick block, including a new livery, which the local newspaper referred to as Durbin's Block.
That new brick block appears to be captured in a couple of images from horse fairs in the early 1880s. One photo seems to be taken in sun, the other under overcast skies, so it's not clear they were taken in the same session. But they can be spliced together to give a sense for the larger context at State and Commercial.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Transit Committee to Review Draft Report

The Council Public Transit Committee meets this evening, the 14th, and they'll be looking at a draft report.

Alas, it's not yet posted to the committee's website.

When/if it is published, this post will be updated, as there will certainly be more to say.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Proposal for New Project Scoring and Goal 7 in the RTSP: At the MPO

The Technical Advisory Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets tomorrow, Tuesday the 14th, and they will have a conversation about a proposal for a new process and scoring for likely to be funded projects - the "fiscally constrained project list" as opposed to broader wish lists - in the Regional Transportation System Plan.

Agenda item for the new process
The proposal is in draft form and early discussion at the moment, and it may not be important to dig too far into it.

But what is interesting is that the proposed process includes scoring projects against the formal Goals in the RTSP. Previously the Goals haven't been so directly related to projects in the plan; they just floated out there as "goals." This will change to some degree:
With the passage of MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century), a new requirement was introduced for state department of transportations (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to use an outcomes-based performance-based planning and programming approach in developing their long-range plans and short-range improvement programs.
You may remember that Goal 7, with a proposal to include greenhouse gas emissions, is quite contested just now (previously here, here, and here).

The proposed process, and prospect of scoring projects against greenhouse gas reductions, may account for some of the resistance to the proposals for new language in Goal 7. Previously the goals had just been mostly window dressing, but now there might be some teeth and accountability behind them. It had been a little difficult to understand the scope of resistance, but now it is a little clearer.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

City Council, August 13th - Good Cents

City Council meets on Monday and from here there's mostly just several things to note in passing. The most interesting item might be the update on the Public Art Commission and new information on the proposed Bottle Bill commemoration.

Proposed Bottle Bill commemoration near SAIF
The Public Art Commission will give an annual report, and in it is information about "Good Cents" by Lillian Pitt and Mikkel and Saralyn Hilde:
In February, the City of Salem (Oregon) Public Art Commission in conjunction with the Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) solicited conceptual designs from experienced artists or artist-led teams to develop a three-dimensional outdoor artwork that addresses the significance of Oregon’s landmark Bottle Bill. A total of $30,000 was made available from the OEC and the City of Salem for this opportunity including design, artist fees, fabrication, transportation, installation and documentation.

The Pitt-Hilde team has proposed a brushed aluminum sculpture 10 feet in height, incorporating the use of recycled materials in its fabrication....Through the design, the team is intending to honor ancestors by drawing on basket designs, petroglyphs and pictographs; employing symbols referencing the bottle bill; showing respect for nature and sustainability, and inspiring healing and understanding. The art work will be installed in section of the City’s Mill Race Park on the south side of Trade Street between High Street and Church Street....

This is one work commissioned by the Oregon Environmental Council to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its public policy work in Oregon. Artwork commemorating the Beach Bill will be sited in Cannon Beach; Land Use will be addressed on the Portland State University campus in Portland. Senate Bill 100 - the land use planning law that protects agricultural lands and reduces urban sprawl - will be commemorated with an art project at Sokol-Blosser Winery in Dundee.
I have trouble reading the sculpture; I'm not sure it works. One the one hand it looks like a 1970s corporate logo, or a "Where's Waldo" figure, but then there's this petroglyph motif for the face. Pitt is a respected Native artist, and so it's not just an instance of appropriation. Maybe it's artful collage, but it reads at the moment here like awkward mash-up. Not sure about this one. It will be interesting to read and hear what other people think. (Do you have an opinion of it? Here also is a similar work by the team at another site.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Congestion Task Force Missing Big Picture

The City still hasn't published any materials from the August 3rd Congestion Relief Task Force meeting. (Update - here's the presentation.) The committee, however, is reviewing a list of possible actions, tens of millions of dollars worth of actions, and preparing to make a recommendation. There is a decided lack of transparency and open debate on this.

Today's front page

Yesterday's front page
Almost like samizdat materials, some handouts are circulating nevertheless, and between cyantoxins, sustained heat, drought, and wild fires, there should be one overarching message, but the fundamental basis for the Task Force expresses exactly the opposite.

August 3rd presentation (unpublished)
and Oregon Global Warming Commission
2017 Biennial Report to the Legislature
(red comments added to both)
The consultant presentation included, and has always included, traffic projections for more and more driving. This is an unquestioned assumption behind everything.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Art Commission to Grapple with Peace Mosaic

The Public Art Commission meets tomorrow the 8th and they'll be grappling with the problem of the Peace Mosaic.

The story has been a little slow to develop. You might remember a brief note here in May, and then a longer note at Salem Weekly.

The SJ picked it up right at the end of July. And the story now seems to have traction. Two opinion pieces followed quickly.

News story, July 29th

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Congestion Task Force meets Friday

The Congestion Relief Task Force meets tomorrow morning, the 3rd. It would be nice to have something to say, but the materials are not posted in a public form.

The agenda is still password protected and goes to a 401 error
Last month the presentations and agenda were posted a few days in advance, but this time there isn't anything public.

And this is not a completely isolated instance. You might recall a few broken urls that were posted to the Downtown Streetscape Study site. There have been other examples, and things aren't always posted in a timely fashion. Some committees post bare-bones agenda, but never post meeting packets and presentations. Just generally the City process for making information public does not seem to be buttoned down after a year of the new website.