Sunday, September 30, 2018

12th Street Sidewalk Improvements Come into Focus

Construction is now far enough along that you can see some of the changes to 12th Street between Fairview and Hoyt.

No more continuous driveway:
Greatly reduced right- and left-hook threats
One very welcome change is the elimination of what had been more or less a continuous curb cut at the market on the corner with Fairview. Even where the curb cut "ended," the curb was so low that you could drive over it easily.

Before: via Streetview
Now there's a full curb between the parking lot and the sidewalk, and one single curb cut for the driveway at the north end of the lot (in the top photo you can see a silver SUV using it).

This looks to be a great improvement for what had been a rather anarchic parking lot and access. There were definitely more dangerous places in Salem, but the drivers trying to whip into the lot through a gap in traffic constituted a real right- and left-hook hazard, requiring heightened attention when walking or biking here.

Some other parts of the project might be worth noticing.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Disparities in Expected LIfespan Deserve Closer Look

In no small part because we are in the midst of an historical moment, this piece on different life expectancies in Salem may not get the attention it deserves. But dynamics about power and status and wealth are also in play.

"Very low income" areas from
Salem River Crossing Project Environmental Justice
Technical Report Addendum (October 2016)
The SJ article cites "Tract 51, the area between Senate Street NW and Wallace Road NW in West Salem has a life expectancy of 72.1 years" as the lowest life expectancy in Polk County. You can see that area in lime green as the gridded portion of the West Salem flats with 33% "very low income."

Public Transit and Third Bridge Equally Popular; Biking Satisfation Suspect in City Survey

The City published results from an annual survey this week, and the readings of it seem a little odd, misunderstanding greater precision than the survey actually offered.

In the report the City published, the survey consultant writes
Taken together, 18% are concerned with transportation issues such as roads, potholes, infrastructure, an additional bridge, public transportation, and traffic.
The framing on transportation may serve advertisers most
The paper echoed this:
The survey found residents consider homelessness and poverty to be the top issues they think Salem's elected officials should address (33 percent), followed by transportation issues such as roads, infrastructure, potholes and adding an additional bridge across the Willamette River (18 percent).
Both formulas are misleading, and the SJ's especially so.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Creeping Doom: The First Influenza Headlines of 1918

As best as I can tell, a small news piece on September 17th, 1918, was the first local mention of the 1918 flu pandemic.

September 17th, 1918
Relative to the headlines for World War I, the notice on the 17th was tiny.

Front Page, September 23rd, 1918
But a week later, on September 23rd, there were other mentions, and it became nearly a daily thing. They did not know of course how it would unfold, the horror and the vast scale of its lethality. The Center for Disease Control notes that it "was so severe that from 1917 to 1918, life expectancy in the United States fell by about 12 years, to 36.6 years for men and 42.2 years for women."

September 23, 1918

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Notes on Diversity: The Exclusionary City in 1926

Inner cover page to the 1926 Polk Directory

The front page article in the Sunday paper about diversity at City Hall* is very much focused on the present, but of course Salem and Oregon have a long history of bias. Any problems today are not merely the product of currently existing systems and people. They are also a deposit and partial legacy of deeply entrenched historical patterns. We've talked some here about statehood and the debate over slavery, and also about racist elements of our State Constitution.

From a couple of generations later, here's a moment from the interwar period shaped by the second KKK, when bias suddenly flowered into an overt expression. Just before this interwar period, in 1903 we condemned our Chinatown. You may recall the popularity of "Birth of a Nation" here in 1916, and in the same period the rise of deed and building restrictions in new housing developments. The expanding surveillance state, with the fear of Wobblies and Enemy Aliens, also were ingredients.

There are surely other early 20th century elements to this. There are also mid- and late-20th century elements, some of which may differ in important ways from the earlier ones.

Altogether, however, the specific modes and instruments of bias here in Salem do not seem well understood or discussed. As far as I know, there's no detailed history of bias in Salem. We talk about bias generally sometimes, about the national currents, but not with names and dates and institutions as bias was specifically instantiated here by Salemites.  I don't know where this moment fits exactly in the full context and sweep of Salem history. Maybe you will know more about it. It's a complicated thing. This will be just a long footnote on the article.

The Polk Directories issued every few years are a great resource for history, and they show a curious eruption in 1926.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Bike Commuting Remained Flat in 2017

BikePortland has a good survey of the recently released census numbers on bike commuting. They write
American bike commuting rates seem to have entered a post-recession skid in 2017. Here in Portland, meanwhile, they once again stayed about the same, according to Census estimates released this month.
That's a good reminder to check on Salem's numbers.

Last year, the 2016 numbers were flat, and within the margin of error, there's nothing new in 2017. It's still flat.

Unfortunately, I can't navigate my way to the exact same dataset I used in that post, so here's a new set. (There's at least three ways to slice it: Salem City; the Salem Metro area, the three-county area; and the principal city in the metro area. This group is Salem City only. Not being a census jockey, it is a little confusing.)

From 2010

At the MPO: DLCD Postpones Rulemaking on Greenhouse Gases

The Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets today, Tuesday the 25th, at noon, and while there's no important decision on the agenda, some of the information items as well as last month's minutes might deserve a few comments.

Probably the most interesting is the announcement from the Department of Land Conservation and Development that the current "rulemaking should wait until after the 2019 legislative session, which we anticipate will include greenhouse gas-related legislation."

Part of letter from DLCD announcing postponement
on rulemaking involving greenhouse gas emissions
In the supporting materials there is much longer letter from the Portland area MPO, METRO, in which they say the proposed rulemaking was heading in the wrong direction, weakening efforts on greenhouse gas emissions.

By contrast, Marion County sent a short and cranky letter in opposition to anything that involved greenhouse gases.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

City Council, September 24th - Riverfront Park

Council meets on Monday, and before the formal meetings themselves, they will conduct a Work Session on the proposals for Riverfront Park.

From a set of three aerial, perspective shots
The city has published a new set of sketches that add a little more to visualizing the proposals for the park.

That and the plan map is apparently it for the moment. I thought there might be more of a narrative and sense of staging in the materials presented to Council. At the moment it's just a 20 year plan, all very vague. Hopefully there will be more detail later. (Previous notes here.)

Hotel Argo where the elevator shaft
for the Chemeketa Parkade is located today,
across the street from the UGM site.
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
There is an amended purchase option agreement for the rest of the block around the UGM site. It is with the Argo Investment Corporation and several individuals, and I just hope sometime we'll be able to find out more about the "Argo" name! There might be some interesting history here.

And there are appointments to the Sustainable Services Revenue Task Force. On the transportation side, for "Safe, Reliable and Efficient Infrastructure," they are Mike Erdmann, Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties; Britni Davidson-Cruickshank, Salem Electric.
The [14 member] task force will gain an understanding of the City’s current and forecasted financial situation and be presented with possible options to sustain current City services supported by the General Fund. After reviewing revenue alternatives, the task force will recommend to the City Council new, additional revenue sources or changes to current fees that should be further explored. The City Council may choose to direct staff on the implementation of task force recommendations in order to balance future budgets and sustain services.
Again, it's interesting to compare these appointments with those to "Our Salem" on the Comprehensive Plan update. And these appointments on the surface look plausible and reasonable in a way the appointments to "Our Salem" did not.

Still, if there is meaning to "sustainable services," the appointments for "safe, reliable, and efficient infrastructure" may be tilted too much towards 20th century autoism. On the other hand, the Home Builders are intimately involved in the way SDCs work, and it is reasonable they should participate in debate and deliberation.

Via Brent Toderian and Sustainable Prosperity
Hopefully at some point we'll really start to dig in and look at the way we subsidize our autoism, and be able to reduce the level of subsidy and then to frame up walking, biking, and transit as more efficient investments for mobility.

More generally, maybe we can develop a better sense for the differentials in cost between compact development in the city center and car-dependent development on the edges.

Yaquina Hall, 1946 - to be affordable housing
The Housing Authority also has an amendment to the purchase agreement on Yaquina Hall at on the former north campus of the State Hospital. There's an amended parking agreement, and a corresponding reduction in the purchase price. Closing on the deal is still a little ways off, apparently.

Maybe you will see other items of interest also.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Comprehensive Plan Update already Prompts Head Scratching

Earlier this month the City announced the initial appointments to the Advisory Committee for the update to the Comprehensive Plan. Soothingly named "Our Salem," the process offers an initial committee that may offer more tension than unity, and shows an odd, even over-broad, sense of "ownership" for Salem.

Over on FB there is already a conversation about this, so there's not much new here to say. But maybe just to amplify concerns that the project already looks compromised from the start?
  • If it's "our Salem," why is there a Mayor from another city that is frequently dismissive of Salem, indeed whose municipal origin story and self-identity is all about "not-Salem"? That's not "ours" that's negation!
  • If the project is supposed to include a greenhouse gas assessment, why is a prominent denialist on the committee?
Sure there's a need to have diversity and some debate on the committee. But is this set up with the right diversity and for the right debates?

The committee's composition looks like something designed for gridlock and the status quo. It doesn't look very productive.

But its composition looks like it might be intended to produce something extra. One way of looking at the odd composition is to note the number of people who also sit on the SKATS Policy Committee, who have for several years resisted any kind of greenhouse gas assessment or scenario planning. Is this "Our Salem" process actually a way to do what SKATS has refused to do? There may be some subtext or other maneuvering going on here.

It also seems worth noticing that while this committee just appeared fully formed as announced, the committee for the Crosswalk Committee will have a process and recruitment.
[T]he City will seek community input and participation from Salem’s 18 neighborhood associations in a Project Advisory Committee to help develop a Safer Crossings Program.
Why didn't Our Salem have a similar announcement and solicitation?

Strong Towns has a series right now on a failed planning update in Austin, and it might be useful reading. You don't have to agree with all the details and argument to find it valuable.
And just as a footnote, on the Council "administrative purchases" list for Monday, the Fregonese Associates contract for "Our Salem" is listed at $ 197,045.

It's early here to have very much to say about the process for "Our Salem," but as first impressions go, it's not auspicious.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Open Streets Salem and Eugene Sunday Streets this Weekend!

The weather for Open Streets Salem on Saturday the 22nd looks mostly good - sun, some clouds, maybe a passing shower. And if you wanted to make a full weekend of open streets fun, you could travel to Eugene for their Sunday Streets on the 23rd.

This is from 2017; there's one new center
on Norway and Winter at Jason Lee Church
(This year's map is a tiny image)
Here in Salem they've published the schedule of traveling events, and it's great to see more of them:
11 a.m. – Ride with the Mayor: Meet at the Highland Elementary School Activity Hub Info Booth for a ride with Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and City Councilor Cara Kaser to Grant Community School!

11:30 a.m. – Nearby Nature Walk: Meet at the Straub Environmental Center booth at Grant Community School - Escuela Comunitaria Grant for a half-hour walk of nature highlights in the neighborhood!

12 p.m. – Choose Reuse, Salem Puppet Parade 2018: Meet at Grant Community School - Escuela Comunitaria Grant for a puppet extravaganza! Make a giant puppet, celebrate at the awards ceremony, and parade down Winter Street to the Salem Saturday Market. Puppet assembly will begin at the corner of Hood & Cottage.

1 p.m. – River Sangha Mindfulness/Peace Walk: Meet at the Highland Elementary School OSS Info Booth for a silent Mindfulness/Peace Walk to the Jason Lee Hispanic Resource Center!

1:30 p.m. – Meet at the Straub Environmental Center booth at Grant Community School for a half-hour walk of nature highlights in the neighborhood!

2 p.m. – Winter-Maple Bikeway Tour: Meet with Salem Bike Boulevard Advocates at the OSS Info Booth in the northwest corner of Salem Saturday Market for a bicycle tour of the Winter-Maple Bikeway route!

ODOT to OTC: Fatality Rate Worsening

ODOT's "board," the Oregon Transportation Commission meets today, and they will get updates on Key Performance Measures and Transportation Options. (Agenda and meeting materials here.)

On both, it is reasonable to ask whether ODOT is actually going to walk the walk, or if it's just talk.

Are we actually going to manage to these KPM?

Fatalities and Serious Injury on worsening trend

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

City Announces New Crosswalk Committee

Coming out of the Pedestrian Safety Study, the City's announced the formation of a new Committee to recommend crosswalks and sidewalk enhancement around Salem.

Crosswalk and Median on 17th at Mill in 2015
From the City:
​The City of Salem continues to focus on making it safer and easier to bike, walk or drive in Salem. In late September 2018, the City will seek community input and participation from Salem's 18 neighborhood associations in a Project Advisory Committee to help develop a Safer Crossings Program. The committee will consist of community members and City staff who will work together to provide final program recommendations to City Council by Spring 2020.

Once complete, the Safer Crossings Program will allow community members to:
  • Formally identify pedestrian safety needs;
  • Request projects to address those needs, such as installation or improvement of crosswalks, rapid-flashing beacons, or radar signs;
  • Easily see the criteria that are used to prioritize pedestrian safety projects and track project status.
The Safer Crossings Program is one of the recommendations from the Pedestrian Safety Study completed in March 2018. The study looked at a combination of crash data, police reports, and field observations to find ways to make it safer for everyone who drives, walks, or bikes in Salem. Other recommendations include upgrading certain traffic intersections and corridors, strategies for citywide application, and specific policy updates.

Rhetoric and Messaging for Effective Advocacy

At a big bike and walk conference this week in New Orleans, Places for Bikes (formerly People for Bikes) yesterday presented on rhetoric and messaging for bike advocacy.

"Activating support for bike infrastructure" - slide deck cover
This is a topic a real interest here, and we'll come back to it for sure.

The all-important "don't"s!
The "dont's" were interesting. Among them were:
  • Don't be in opposition to cars.
  • Don't lecture abstractly about the environment.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Whoo-Hoo! New Fossil Fuel!!! A New Turn Lane, and a Cancelled Crosswalk

Front Page last week
You probably saw the piece last week about the new gas station near Madrona and Commercial. Part of the traffic impact mitigation is a new northbound turn lane from the east, westbound side of Madrona onto Commercial.

New sidewalk and turn lane in progress, mid-September
That's in progress, and supposed to be done soon. But it's interesting to see that the new turn lane (between old curb and new sidewalk) may not be wide enough for later striping of a bike lane. A disconnected fragment of bike lane wouldn't make much sense here, but there are other places where we do stripe fragments, waiting to be assembled into a longer route.

The gas station did cancel a crosswalk.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ride with the Mayor...Then What? How about Drive Less Challenge!

Maybe the centerpiece of Open Streets Salem, the Ride with the Mayor kicks off at 11am on Saturday the 22nd from Highland Elementary School.

Open Streets Salem
But what then? The "Ride with the Mayor" is a one-off, a little orphaned. What happens after the hoopla wears off?

the City as "model" and "leading example"
TDM chapter of TSP
According to the City's formally adopted Transportation System Plan,
The City of Salem shall encourage the use of alternative travel modes by serving as an institutional model...[and] leading example.
Councilor Andersen is great on this and leads by example. You can often see his bike at City Council. Earlier this summer in the midst of the cyanotoxin crisis, he biked up to our Geren Island water intake and treatment facility.

Drive Less Challenge
Is there a way to get more people in leadership positions visibly involved, so these things aren't just one-off photo ops, but knit more into habit and routine? To create more of an institutional culture at the City of visibly "modeling" ways to get around apart from our default drive-alone car trip? Maybe City leadership already does this, and if so they should share more of it publicly on social media, in interviews, and by participating in "encouragement" contests.

The Ride with the Mayor could be a pivot to the Drive Less Challenge and Walk+Roll to School Day, for example. It would be great to see daily updates from the Mayor, other Electeds, and other managers. (Remember when City Manager Steve Powers said he was going to bike and walk to City Hall?) They should really get into the challenge, even issue challenges to other municipalities! How about a West Salem focus from the Congestion Relief Task Force?!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Riverfront Park Plan Open House Tuesday the 18th

The City's published an updated concept plan for Riverfront Park, and it looks like a reasonable compromise, maybe a little dialed-back from the big ideas in the three versions we all looked at earlier this year.

So just a couple of things to note in passing.

at the south end, the new amphitheater at center #5
I was a little worried that any parking lot expansion (#12 and dashed yellow) would be way oversized, but what they have proposed looks modest and proportionate.

The path connection under the railroad and along the creek to Mirror Pond is keyed at #2, but hardly mentioned. This project needs more visibility and and a formal update from the City on the delay.

The possible bridge at #1 might be nice, but let's get the path connection first!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Congestion Task Force Reflects Ad Hoc Process, is Anti-Pedestrian, Anti-Climate

The Congestion Relief Task Force meets on Friday, and they've helpfully posted drafts of the meeting materials. So that's a nice thing to be able to report.
But the overall approach remains problematic, even a little suspect.

Much of that judgement come down to frame and expectations: What is the right frame for and expectations to have of the Task Force?

Task Force as Short-Term Consolation Prize?

To an earlier post arguing that the Task Force was fundamentally missing the big picture, a person commented
I think your criticism miss[ed] an important point. My understanding is that the Congestion Task Force is a political consolation prize for third bridge supporters and is specifically looking at short and mid-term solutions to car traffic in the downtown/river crossing area. I think the questions and issue you raise need to be addressed during the update to the comprehensive plan.
That articulates a frame and set of expectations.

So let's suppose that is the right one for the moment.

If that is the right frame and set of expectations, a useful thing would be to have a "road map" pointing outside of the Task Force and suggesting some "next steps." It wouldn't have to reference the Comprehensive Plan update specifically, and it could be more general in reference. But there would be a network of conceptual relations - bridges?! - that pointed outside of the Task Force's study limits for further consideration and actions. There would be the groundwork for a pivot to the medium- and longer-term planning. It should be more self-aware in method and in process.

But we do not see this.

Utter disconnect on climate and emissions
As it is the Conclusions lead with:
  1. The population of Salem and the region is projected to grow more than 20 percent over the next 20 years. The majority of residential growth is expected to occur west and south of downtown.
  2. Vehicle congestion in the study area is projected to increase. This will result in longer travel times and the duration of the morning and afternoon peak commutes on the two bridges.
Those are numbers one and two.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

City Council, September 10th - Plastic Bags

Council meets on Monday, and there's not much of interest here specifically.

Others will have plenty to say about the proposed ban on plastic bags.

So here's an idea for a next step: A phase-out on dirty two-stroke engines in things like leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and toy motorcycles!

via Twitter and the Wall Street Journal

Isn't this a lawn-mower engine bolted onto a bicycle? (May 2017)
There are two Council appointments to the committee for the Comprehensive Plan update. Councilor Lewis is a realtor and even if he has been championing some disagreeable policies of late, it is reasonable to want on the committee a realtor from Council. They will be shaping a new vision for development, after all. His presence alone on a committee projected to meet twice only will not tank the plan, and it could help develop greater assent, even enthusiasm, from a wider range of realtors and developers. We'll see.

The item also has the first public description of the process I have seen:
The Community Development Department is forming a stakeholder advisory committee to provide guidance and advise staff during the Comprehensive Plan update project, called Our Salem, which will help guide future growth and development in the Salem area. The need to develop a “comprehensive, long-term vision for future growth and development” was identified as a priority in the City’s adopted Salem Strategic Plan.

The stakeholder advisory committee will include City Council members, Planning Commission members, Neighborhood Association representatives, elected officials from area jurisdictions and agencies, representatives from the development and business communities, and other stakeholders. It will provide guidance throughout the Our Salem project, which will be completed in phases.

The first phase, Our Salem: Today, encompasses an analysis of the existing conditions of the city and an evaluation of how the Salem area could grow under current policies. It also includes a greenhouse gas inventory that measures the community’s impact on the environment. This first phase is expected to begin this month and take roughly nine months to complete. During that time, the committee is expected to meet two times. All advisory committee meetings will be open and available to the public.
Finally, the City wants to do more for urban forestry and trees.

There's also an information item on approval to convert a house on High Street at the base of Gaiety Hill to a short-term rental. (There might be occasion to revisit this at another time, as it is another point in favor of the thesis that Mission Street is already in transition. Some of the rhetoric against it also expressed the exclusionary sentiment for single-family housing to which we will return, especially as the Comprehensive Plan update cranks up. See here on historic districts and on deed restrictions.)

725 High Street: To be a short-term rental, back in July

Friday, September 7, 2018

Traces of Old Hotel at New Police Station Site? Archeology Day Offers Glimpse of Older Salem!

The City just announced a nice moment (and probably also calculated for good PR) at the new Police Station, a public archeology day.

Lodging House, Mill Race on corner, Corral on alley
Liberty and Division, 1895
The area for the Police Station is between centers of the earliest urban activity in old Salem: Along Mill Creek and at Boon's there was early activity in the north, and then downtown, along Pringle Creek, and at Willamette University.*

The Police Station site is sandwiched a little between them.

I don't know of any photos of the block, but by 1895 the Sanborn Fire Map shows a reasonably well developed residential area.
1895 Sanborn Fire Map
On the corner of Liberty and Division also note the "Lodging House" and in back off the alley a corral. There are also outhouses.

Running down the middle of Division is an old Mill Race we have lost track of!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Robot Car Task Force Draft Report Looks Autoist and Thin

The Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles has published their draft Report and will present it at a meeting on September 10th.

This is not something we've been following closely here, and it will be very interesting to hear what others have to say on it. Last month the Safe Routes to School team remarked they had some concerns:
The National Partnership has been monitoring the AV Task Force activity and provided testimony during this most recent meeting. We thanked the Task Force for its leadership in this very important conversation for our state, and we also asked for them to hold an in-depth discussion on how this emerging technology could and should impact our most vulnerable and at-risk populations. We believe this conversation needs to happen sooner rather than later, to ensure we avoid furthering economic, safety and health disparities for our communities.
Earlier, AJ Zelada, former chair of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, shared concerns with the Task Force:
Given that the first round of Task Force Agenda and Memorandi are now appearing…there are deficiencies which show the void of not having all the important players at the table. The Pedestrian/Bicycle/Vulnerable Road user viewpoint is missing in every material packet presented on the ODOT website.
Indeed, the report seems to follow recommendations from pro-industry groups, and does not appear to have a sufficiently critical perspective. Crucially, safety for people not in cars is hardly mentioned. It looks like at least a partial instance of regulatory capture by cheerleaders for a nascent industry, and concerns raised by Safe Routes and a former Chair of OBPAC do not seem to have been addressed very robustly, if at all.

There is also reason to think Robot Cars won't reduce the amount of vehicle travel but will induce more. A recent study (here at the Washington Post and at Slate) found that drivers roaming without a fare greatly increased total travel:  "Schaller projects services like Lyft and Uber put 2.8 new vehicle miles on the road for every mile of personal car travel they remove." When we think about a personal commute, there is the drive to work, car storage time, then the drive home: An out-and-back loop. With a Robot Car, the temptation will be chauffeur to work, send the car home, hail the car, chauffeur back home. That's two loops where once there was but the one. Some may be willing to share a Robot Car with others either sequentially as a ride rental, or concurrently as a carpool, but many will want the exclusive pleasures of the solo chauffeured ride. Pricing the use of Robot Cars correctly will be important, and it's not clear incipient regulatory schemes are prepared for this.

As others publish comment on the draft report, this post may be updated.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Winter-Maple Greenway, 25th and State: ODOT Project Scoping at MWACT

The Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation meets on Thursday, and they'll be seeing a preliminary list of projects for State funding in the 2021-2024 cycle.

There's not a lot of information here, and once they get farther along and SKATS takes a look at them, there might be more to say. It's also not exactly clear how far along they are in the scoping process and how many projects (or how much dollar value) will fall out as the vetting continues.

Still, there are three projects being scoped that would significantly help walking and biking in Salem.

25th & State (the spreadsheet is not a very clear scan)
The project for 25th and State "includes median island on west leg of intersection to improve visibility of pedestrians; realigning crosswalk on east leg...; upgrading ADA facilities...extending left turn pocket for westbound to southbound movement..."

The crosswalk improvements would be helpful. You might remember neighborhood advocacy on this intersection even before the State Street Study kicked off. At the same time, because the Study embraced the "hybrid" plan rather than a full 4/3 Safety Conversion, the engineering and design for this project will be different than it would have been under the 4/3 conversion, and it is even possible that the four-lane cross section will be locked in.

That's just something to monitor.
Commercial St between D & Union
The Commercial Street project from D street to Union Street includes new bike lanes, in an area that has lacked them.

That's also at the new UGM/Police facilities.

Winter-Maple Greenway package
The project on Cherry Avenue at the Parkway includes "pedestrian refuge islands," a "bike signal" at the intersection with Auto Group Way, and a "separated bike boulevard between Auto Group Way NE and Salem Parkway," all part of the Winter-Maple Greenway package.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Fear of Wobblies, Expanding Surveillance State: Labor Day in 1918

Labor Day Message, 1918
In the middle of all the war headlines, just a few days before Labor Day, on August 30th IWW founder Bill Haywood's sentencing for sedition got big placement also. Labor might be celebrated, but only as it could be directed, managed, and expressed in authorized modes.

August 30th, 1918
From the paper:
"Bill" Haywood Handed Plenty

With Fourteen Other Leaders Must Serve 20 Years In Federal Prison And Each Pay a Fine of $20,000. - Others Draw Sentences As Low As Ten Days In Jail

Chicago. Aug. - Fifteen leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World, including "Big Bill" Haywood, today were sentenced to twenty years in federal prison and to pay fines of 20,000. They had been convicted on four counts charging sedition and obstruction of America's war program. Others of the 97 defendants drew lighter sentences.

Federal Judge K. M. Landis pronounced sentence's ranging from ten days in the Cook county jail for minor defendants to the twenty year-$20,000 punishment for the more prominent leaders.
It's hard sometimes to grasp the depth of feeling against the wobblies, but some of the reactionary populism and the ways it used patriotic symbolism might rhyme today.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Liberty Street between Court and Chemeketa Points to Historic District Flaws

Pacific Office Automation has a sign request at the restoration on 260 Liberty Street NE. It'll go before the Historic Landmarks Commission later this month.

While the east side of Liberty Street between Court and Chemeketa is formally included in the Downtown Historic District's boundaries, the buildings in it all straddle the boundary between historically significant and non-significant. In the lingo, they are on the edges between "historic contributing" and "historic non-contributing," and so they are useful test cases for our historic preservation codes in determining whether the codes actually do what we want them to do. The street also reminds us that we once did not have such a strict sort-and-separate approach to development, and that our notions about purity and integrity in any "historic district" are themselves historical and not timeless.

It is interesting to consider the immediate context of the building. A photo from probably the 1920s recently turned up in the digital collections of the Oregon Historical Society, and it really captures a moment in the development of that block and side of Liberty Street.

East side of Liberty St from Court St looking north, circa 1920s
(Oregon Journal collection via Oregon Historical Society)

Same view today - via Streetview