|Bar, saloons, and brewing are important!|
Eugene Eckerlen is a candidate name.
(March 23rd, 1909)
|Downtown alleys proposed for naming|
HLC should not give its assent to this first draft for a slate of names.
|Historical research suggested most the the name ideas are fanciful|
These also should have been published last fall
The initial research said "unable to confirm," "could not find evidence of this name," "no historic precedent for this name."
Only one of them, Peppermint Flats, had a history of actual use as a place name. And significantly, researchers may have felt they had to censor and scrub it. They cite only a vague mention in a 1939 piece, and do not cite the multiple attestations as a small neighborhood for prostitution and gambling. (See "Yes, Let's Remember Peppermint Flat! Salem Main Street Group Proposes Alley Names" for more on this.)
What we have then, is something that risks being a sanitized version of history that is not very real: A Potemkin history and Disney-style approach to Main Street.
Altogether it's clear the project needs more voices, more involvement, and more time to sift and settle and rise on a slate of alley names that is historically accurate and likely to be adopted and widely used by a broad range of people. It's still half-baked.
Apart from the names, there may be something of an autoist bias here. If we are going to recognize and name this alley system, are we going to see them as an archipelago, a set of islands disconnected from each other? Or are we going to see them a system operating with and across the streets and sidewalks? There's a bias here for seeing the alleys as places isolated by the streets rather than also as connections, and especially as connections across busy streets. There is not sufficient attention to crosswalks at alleys and to ways we might want to prioritize them over the near highways that intersect the alley system. That is something that could grow organically out of the naming project, but it's also something that might helpfully be considered more in this early stage.
So here are the concepts and some additional commentary. You will recall the five leaders (there are several lists in the Staff Report, and it's a little confusing which is the most recent proposal):
1. Electric Alley
2. Pastoral Alley
4. Spirited Alley
7. Sun Alley
8. Peppermint Flats Alley
The Alley Proposals
|Maybe "Electric Alley" is good, but why not ask more people?|
|They definitely missed on the Old City Hall site|
|This one seems forced|
|Eckerlen Alley sounds great!|
|The Fire Bell is still around!|
At the Civic Center Station
|Again, missed the obvious, the Bell Tower (see here)|
|None of these sound very good|
|This is the right idea, but is the net wide enough?|
|The "8?" alley to the west is more accurate;|
and "flat" might be better than "flats"
Now with the demolition complete on the North Campus parcel of the State Hospital, and with the first phase of development nearing approvals, it is reasonable to see a request to shrink the boundaries of the State Hospital Historic District to exclude the land that is being redeveloped. The lots with Yaquina Hall and the Dome Building would be retained inside the District, but the proposed park and lots east of 25th would be excluded. This seems reasonable.
|Maybe a food hall concept for the Reed Opera House?|
|The first floor storefronts look nothing like this now|
(Oregon Historical Society)
The HLC meets at 5:30pm on Thursday the 16th in Council Chambers at City Hall.
Here are some additional notes on the alleys from 2016 and the Public Art Commission.
|Despite hopes from 1984,|
parking garage + big box =/= vibrant alley
At Council on the 10th, the Main Street Association presented a ballot and schedule for more public comment.
Is this really a good-faith effort to solicit public participation?
Postscript, October 4th
|Final choices for names|
|More than 500 people voted, majorities for all but one|
- The Wexford was only around for a few years, and hardly is the most important feature on the block.
- Fortune's Corner is silly.
- Cherry Lane isn't a feature on the block.