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.)

In the supporting materials for Good Cents they show two different locations on the path system along Trade Street between High and Church, but conflate them: The elevation view shows a site about a quarter-block west from the aerial view. So not sure where the proposed location is either.

Under the heading "Caring for the Collection," the report mentions that about $1 million is currently needed to restore the Acid Ball Eco-Earth and to move and restore the YMCA Peace Mosaic.

$1 million could sure commmission a whole lot of brand-new art! The economics of these restorations may just not work. We'll see. People are attached to the projects and may be willing to forgo other instances of new art in order to preserve these.

A program of "next steps" - p1 of 4
The State Street Study will have a second reading for formal enactment, and SESNA has written a very thoughtful letter outlining a program for near-term next steps.
  • Stripe sharrows on State from 17th to 25th
  • Look closer at crosswalk design on 19th and 21st
  • Study and mitigate sudden transition in posted speed from 40mph to 30mph at 25th Street
  • Consider acquiring a building vacant since 2012 flood that sits in 100 year floodplain and redeveloping more appropriately
  • Create an Urban Renewal Zone on State Street
  • Conduct the Parking Study
  • Consider a new study on East-West traffic, focusing on not on eliminating cut-through traffic, but on ensuring that cut-through traffic travels at appropriate neighborhood, not arterial, speeds
In the Sunday paper today there's a funny Op-Ed by the Hospital about planning for Salem and "its ageing population."

The piece doesn't mention "prevention" once. And nothing that dovetails with our current "Age-Friendly Initiative." It's all about treating sick seniors and having the right medical products and services to sell to them. It's a little skewed perhaps.

In any event, it may not be a coincidence that on Council's agenda is a pass-through bond issue for Capital Manor.
Shall the City Council adopt Resolution No. 2018-74 authorizing the approval of revenue bonds, in one or more series, to be issued by the Hospital Facility Authority of the City of Salem, Oregon, in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $40,000,000, and authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Capital Manor, Inc. indemnifying the City from all claims arising from the City’s participation in the approval and use of the bonds?
There's also an information report on the Site Plan and Design Review for the Capital Manor expansion project. (See notes on the demolition here.) Probably the bond issue is related to the expansion project!

On the Urban Renwal Agency's agenda is a proposal for an exception on using grant funds for property acquisition:
Mr. Francisco Ochoa, owner of Ochoa’s Queseria, is interested in relocating his cheese factory from Albany to Salem. Mr. Ochoa is purchasing a vacant lot in front of the Cornerstone Apartments to develop as a manufacturing and retail space. Since Mr. Ochoa began working with the City in 2017, building construction cost estimates have been escalating. To complete the purchase and development of the site, Mr. Ochoa requests an exception to the North Gateway URA Grant policy.

Mr. Ochoa received a grant commitment from the Urban Renewal Agency on July 12, 2018, for $300,000. The requested exception is to apply $150,000 of the committed $300,000 towards his down payment for the purchase of the property. Program guidelines do not allow grant funds to be used for acquisition, only construction and capital improvements.
For businesses that already have plans to expand, we hand out Enterprise Zone property tax exemptions like candy. This would be a brand-new business in Salem, one that relates to our food processing focus, and seems like a better use of incentives. It will be interesting to read if there is any real criticism of it.

Bullets for the rest:


Susann Kaltwasser said...

The proposed art piece to celebrate Oregon's bottle bill makes no sense to me even after I read the description and inspiration. Another missed opportunity for art the public can relate to. $30,000 of taxpayer money gone to nothing of significance. Typical Salem.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Just to clarify, OEC is a non-profit and they are donating a chunk of the $30,000. The City's not funding the whole thing. (I don't remember the breakdown, but it might be 50/50. That info should have been included in the annual report.)

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Wait. Here it is. On the February 12th Council agenda, this item spells out the 50/50 split.