Monday, September 16, 2019

Clinic Monoculture is Defeating Edgewater Mixed Use Zone

Do you remember the offer to give away a cottage cluster just off Edgewater Street, on the corner of Gerth Avenue and Second Street NW?

The cluster of nine cottages and courtyard at center
The plan for that lot's redevelopment is out and will be at the Planning Commission on October 1st.

It's a little disappointing, especially in light of the Edgewater/Second Street Action Plan from 2010 and the subsequent Edgewater/Second Street Mixed Use Corridor Zone adopted in 2018. I'm sure it conforms to the details of code, but it does not seem to express the spirit of the code very well. It is more monoculture than mixed-use.

Phase 1A, a new parking lot, is the site of the cottage cluster
While there is something of an improved facade along Edgewater, it reads still like the back door, and the front door will be off this enormous traffic round in the parking lot, almost like a porte cochere. That entry will relate to the parking lot, not to any form on Second Avenue. It's not very "main street."

The conceptual framework for the Action Plan has not been very effective at all, in fact.

Little of the conceptual framework seems likely to be realized
If we really want housing and a genuine diversity of uses here, the City may need to intervene more strongly. Apparently, by itself, the market is calling for medical clinics here. This seems strange, but it is what it is, I suppose.

The Sunday paper had a nice feature on a neighborhood bar, Noble's Tavern at 17th & Center. It was in an older "main street" and walkable corner commercial cluster with a grocery store. Now the corner and streets are more autoist.

Street widening casualties
If we really want to revive "main street" forms in a modern reinterpretation, there is much more to be done.


Sarah Owens said...

" Apparently, by itself, the market is calling for medical clinics here. This seems strange, but it is what it is, I suppose."

This might not make any difference in your design analysis, but it's not the market that's calling for this clinic, but Salem's extreme poverty. Maybe you're not aware that NWHS [adapted from their website] offers medical, dental and mental health services on a sliding fee scale based on family size and income. No one is turned away due to their inability to pay. Homeless youth and adults at our HOST and HOAP Programs access basic needs services, case management, peer support, and health care at Community Health Centers.

NWHS was begun in 1971 by two UCLA medical students who were interning with Marion County Health Department. Appalled by the lack of health care services available to the low-income and homeless, the students, Phil Yule and Paul Kaplan, requested the assistance of the health department in opening a clinic to serve disadvantaged populations. With the department’s support and assistance, The Cry of Love Free Clinic was opened, named after a popular Jimi Hendrix album of the day.

In 1979, The Cry of Love Free Clinic became the West Bank Health Network, and later the West Salem Clinic, as it is currently known. In 1982 the agency as a whole took on the name 'Northwest Human Services' in an effort to move with the times and away from its counter-culture image - though the original mission to serve underprivileged citizens with respect and compassion remained, and remains, as strong as ever.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

But poverty's not necessarily behind the Salem Health clinic on Edgewater and Patterson and the sports medicine clinic on Second and Patterson. Then there's also the dialysis clinic on Second and McNary.

NWHS has some particular reasons for its expansion, and you rightly highlight a dimension not touched on here.

There is also this larger pattern of an emergent monoculture with multiple clinics along Second and Edgewater. This monoculture seems to be in tension with the larger goals for a "main street" and mixed-use corridor.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The City's published the approvals on Council agenda for Monday. Scanning it, there doesn't seem to be any surprises.