Monday, March 11, 2019

Origin of the Boise Mill, Cherries Slow to Blossom, Ducks at Belluschi Pond - Updated

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first announcement for what become the Boise mill.

Near the beginning, early or mid-1920s
Looking southwest from Sculpture Garden corner
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
March 11th, 1919
I don't know how interesting this might be, and maybe we'll follow it a little over the next couple of years.

Demolition of the same building at the end
July, 2009
The 1919 piece highlights several chunks of commercial development coming together or in process right after the war: The paper mill itself, the kitty-corner brewery converting to juice production and new juice products because of Prohibition, new fruit processing facilities, the meat packing plant on Portland Road, and also the prospect of many new hard-surfaced market roads connecting farmers with Salem. This is something of a cusp and transitional moment. Certainly the move from processing flour to paper is a step up in industrialization. (Here's a nice postcard of the old flour mill.)

From the Library's history:
The Oregon Pulp & Paper Company began production at the same site in 1920 and also owned half of the Charles K. Spaulding Logging Company, an adjoining sawmill to the north. The gabled roof of the Oregon Pulp & Paper Company building can still be seen as being a part of the Boise Cascade plant [not any longer, of course]. In 1949 Oregon Pulp & Paper was the largest Salem employer, with 600 employees, except for the State. The plant's papers were distributed as far east as Chicago, and to Mexico, South America, Asia, Africa and the Pacific islands. The sawmill was closed in June 1955, eliminating 135 jobs, and leaving 465 at the paper mill.

Boise Cascade purchased Oregon Pulp & Paper in 1862 [1962] and a yeast plant was added to convert byproducts of papermaking into a food additive. In 1964 a container plant was added to supply cartons for food processing plants. Several improvements were made under Boise both to expand production and to meet air and water quality standards; purification lagoons were built on Minto-Brown Island across the slough.
Cherry Blossoming

The Cherries this year on March 10th: Not yet!
One of my favorite bits in the paper ever was in a piece from March 6th or 7th in 2015 on the Cherry trees at the Capitol. Though it was a newsy feature, and only briefly touched on a hobby, it was also a kind of loving tribute to a long and beautiful project in citizen science, a set of urban records akin to the kinds of records winegrowers accumulate over the generations (and a man named "Bluhm," watching the blooms!):
According to 88-year-old Wilbur Bluhm, the cherry blossom trees in front of the State Capitol building are blooming about two weeks earlier than they normally do.

Each week Bluhm takes a stroll through Bush Park, the Willamette University campus, Chemeketa Community College campus, Deepwood Estates and a couple of other parks to collect plant, flower and tree data.

The retired horticulturist of 30 years records a variety of information including when trees are leafing, flowering, done flowering, bearing fruit, showing fall colors, and when they lose their leave among other things.

Bluhm has been collecting this the data each week for the past 56 years and says that this spring season is the third earliest date that the cherry blossoms have been blooming outside of the capitol.

"On average, the cherry blossoms bloom around March 15," Bluhm said. "But this year they started on March 1."

According to Bluhm, the flowers on the cherry blossom trees are usually in bloom for about a month, usually ending around April 19.

"This warm weather has definitely accelerated spring as far as the trees go," Bluhm said.
This year, though January was a little warmer than average, February was cold! And that seems to have slowed things considerably. The Daphne and Indian Plum to which I look for cues are still slow: Daphne is only beginning to bloom, and Indian Plum is a ways away. So it was not very surprising yesterday in the glorious sun to see the Cherry trees still far from blossom.

Just as we seem to have temporarily replenished our snowpack, this cool late winter and early spring is a reminder that "weather is not climate."

It'll be interesting to see what the rest of March and then April brings. Will we have an episode of warming that speeds everything back up? Or will this growing season be a momentary reversion to the historical mean?

Either way, more and more it seems important to pick out some yearly or seasonal phenomena and to watch closely over the years, and to grasp and make real climate change in a personal way. Checking in on the date of flowering at the Capitol is a good one.

The Pond at Belluschi Crater

Ducks and styrofoam at Belluschi Pond
It is less happy to report on Belluschi Pond. It has grown over the month of February, and now there is a garbage patch in it. The ducks didn't seem to mind, however.

But how is this at all an improvement on an empty building? Conditioning the Marion Car Park's demolition permit on having a new plan for redevelopment is wise, and hopefully this can be a new trend.

The minutes for the January Downtown Advisory Board have a hopeful "what's happening" note: "Wells Fargo Site – Pre-app on mixed use on that and the Diamond lots." Yes, please!

It's grown a little!

In late January
Update, April 2nd

It's hard to discern how far along this really is
The paper looked into the pre-application conference process and found a little more. But it doesn't read like a solid "proposal" quite yet. "Concept" is perhaps better.

It will be important to follow any parking structure and how Chemeketa Street does or does not continue to focus on non-auto travel.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with clip on mixed use concept in early stage proposal talk for Belluschi Pond and the Old City Hall site.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

And on the Cherries, the weekend of the 23rd they were just starting with scattered blossoms, and then last weekend they were really going. So it seems reasonable to say they started about a week later than "normal" this year.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Notes in the May 21st CANDO minutes suggest Mountain West did close on the Belluschi Pond site:

"In interested citizen comments, Richard Berger announced that Mountain West Investment Corp. (MWCI) had purchased the Wells Fargo site at 280 Liberty Street NE (the big hole at the corner of Chemeketa) and had contracted with CB2 Architects to design a mixed-use (residential and commercial) project. Berger will provide more information at the July meeting, but construction could begin late this winter."