Thursday, October 31, 2019

Missed the Workshops? Our Salem Interactive Map now Online

The City and consultant team have just published an interactive map that roughly duplicates the mapping charette conducted in the recent workshops.

Placing the pins is a little awkward
It is in truth a little awkward and complicated, and you will have to futz with it some to get the hang of it. You might also tire and give up before you've completed making your notes and marking your ideas.

The good news is, it looks like you can chop your attention into multiple slices: Make a few notes, step away for a while, and return to make more notes. Rinse and repeat.

On the pins that have been placed, and on the discussion about the charettes we've seen, it has seemed like our notions about any kind of commercial zoning, including mixed-use concepts, are still limited by our previous deployments along major arterials.

Activity Nodes and Corridors from 2006
Here you can see Edgewater Street; Wallace, River, Portland, Silverton Roads; Lancaster Drive, Mission Street, Commercial Street, bit of Liberty Road out south. All the higher intensity marks are on the big stroads. Edgewater's really the only exception.

But if we want truly walkable neighborhoods, we will have to put more pockets of commercial and multi-family housing at the crossroads of mere collector streets, inside the residential districts themselves. Perhaps even some local streets will need a kind of upzoning. A small neighborhood pub or grocery will also need more housing to provide its customers, and more missing middle housing will be necessary also.

As you think about putting pins in, think about neighborhoods you know, and realistic distances for short trips of walking and biking.

The notion that we can retrofit South Commercial or Lancaster for walkable mixed-use development and that this might be sufficient is not very likely to be true.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"Baby Eugenics Tests...Grand Success" in 1919

100 years ago on October 30th, 1919, Salem held its first "eugenics tests" for babies.

October 30th, 1919

After six clinics, "Salem's only perfect baby" - June 20th, 1920
The clinics and tests were an unsettling mixture of what we would today recognize as health screenings and wellness fairs on the one hand, and unsavory support for "scientific" racism, nativism, and "sex hygiene" on the other.

County Commissioner Brentano to Retire

On the heels of Congressman Walden's announcement he will not seek re-election comes today's news that Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano will retire from the Commission.

Ordinarily the political horse race and individual candidates are not the subject here. But Brentano has been a revanchist foe of climate action and reactionary booster for mid-century autoism.

"Merchants of doubt" at the MPO
(From the April 2018 minutes)
At the MPO he has retarded progress in many areas, and replacing him on the Policy Committee will be helpful, even if that replacement is one of the existing Commissioners and not anyone new who is elected to the Commission seat in his place.

More generally it's a chance to pick up a rational voice at the County. An uphill climb to be sure, but a worthwhile project. If politics is your thing, and you were looking for an advocacy project, consider working on a campaign for a replacement who values climate action and non-auto transport.

(Comments are off on this post.)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Safe Routes to School Coordinator Job Posted

Want to work with kids and create Salem's first set of Safe Routes to School programming?

Build out Salem's first Safe Routes to School Programming
Here's your opportunity! The MPO/COG posted the job announcement for the Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator.
This position will be responsible for development, coordination, and implementation of the SRTS program at the Salem-Keizer Public School district....The Coordinator position will be employed by the MWVCOG but will spend much of their time interfacing with school district administrators and school officials (principals, teachers) as well as elementary school students, parents of students and volunteers. Key duties include program development/planning, program administration, grant administration, marketing/outreach, SRTS education and training, SRTS event promotion, volunteer coordination, and program evaluation.
See the full notice and link to full job description here. They're specially looking for bilingual English and Spanish speaking applicants. The recruitment closes in a month.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

City's Concept of Resilience Looks too Small, all Slogan and Sticker

Was it just last year that Paradise burned to the ground during the Camp Fire and Sierra Nevada created a collaborative beer called "Resilience"?

Sunday Headlines

Destruction of Paradise: The allegory is apt.
From last November
This year we have the Kincade Fire in Sonoma. It might seem far away, but what is happening there will filter north and visit us in the decades to come, maybe even just a generation.

City Council, October 28th - The Mushroom Plant and a new Traffic Light

While the headlines will probably be the botched ballot and the need for a new vote in appointing a new Ward 7 City Councilor, as well as the Public Hearings on the Operations Fee and Employee Tax, here it is a proposed set of TSP amendments for a new collector street at the old mushroom plant that leads our interest at Council on Monday.

The two main choices for a new traffic signal and intersection
Mostly it seems to boil down to where should we place the traffic light and major intersection on State Street.

As we saw previously (and the Planning Commission approval is here and previous notes here) the TSP currently calls for a collector street along the west edge of the property, and that logical alignment there is with Cougar Court.

The assessment matrix at least nods to walking and biking
North-south travel by any means, including walking and biking, would be best served by a connection at 49th, which continues through south of State Street. Both Cougar Court and Oakmont Court are essentially dead-ends, and make no connections south.

Three Crashes on Terrible Streets: Portland and River Roads and Lancaster Drive - Updated

Update, Sunday Morning: The person biking, Jason Libel, has died. 

An updated story
Earlier post: Two crashes were in the news last night, both on wide, zoomy streets. Just the same, sad, tired notes as always.
The original story.
The person on bike is "he" and has agency
The person driving is erased as "a car drove by"
  • The agency of a person driving is erased here in the passive voice and robot car formula: "a car drove by and clipped the bike"
  • By contrast, the agency of a person on bike is highlighted, and fault assigned: "he collided with a car."
  • Nevertheless, "no citations have been issued" and it is premature to conclude the person on bike was at fault. Maybe they were intoxicated and carelessly swerving or unwisely waving to a friend. But they can't give testimony, and I often see people driving over and into the bike lane, and they might have clipped a person biking that way, and sought to minimize their responsibility.
Columbia Journalism Review
There was a second crash on Lancaster Drive involving people trying to cross the street. Though they were injured, the initial report suggests they did not sustain life-threatening injuries - though these might also be life-changing injuries, and we do not discuss this aspect enough. The language in this report is also worth notice.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Cherriots and Downtown Advisory Board Meet Thursday

Both the Cherriots' Board and Downtown Advisory Board meet tomorrow the 24th, and while there are no action items to note here, there are some small moments in ongoing processes and projects that might be worth a little comment.


In the meeting packet some notes from previous meetings are a little interesting.

Senator Merkeley is not supporting new natural gas buses and is pushing for electric only.

Senator Merkley says "No" to natural gas buses
In a briefing on the Legislature, Director Carney is pushing for Cherriots and their lobbyist to think more about the connection between land use and transportation and the possibility for Cherriots to take positions on housing bills.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Rise in Long Commutes Links Housing Affordability Problem

Yesterday our chapter tweeted out a clip from a recent blog post by the State Economist. Though it does not ask the question outright, it invites it: Why do we subsidize free and easy driving so much but make housing so expensive?
The number of Salem area residents who commute to work outside of Salem really jumped last year. Now, this isn’t a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the real world. Local growth has been strong and I-5 has been a parking lot during rush hour for some time. But the Census data really hadn’t been showing any increases until now. It was hard to reconcile anecdotal evidence and stories with the hard data. Well now they’re both signing the same tune. Commuting is up and at least 70% of these workers are heading north to Portland for work.
This is worth more attention. Our policies are backwards!

By percent, lots of Salemites have a long commute

And the trend of long commutes is increasing
In a preliminary way they relate the commuting pattern to housing prices, especially for people who live in Salem and commute north.
...[S]ome of this is housing-related. At the real estate event, Portland State’s Gerry Mildner noted that there is about a $100,000 price differential in home prices between the Portland and Salem markets. In our office’s previous look, the Portland migrants to Salem who bought homes basically split the different. They bought homes that were about $50,000 more expensive than what local buyers bought, but those prices were about $50,000 less expensive than what home buyers in Portland paid.
But what their post - admittedly a start on presumably a longer, and more detailed note later - omits is that if housing is too expensive, drive-alone transportation is too cheap. The long commutes are only reasonable because we spend so much on highway and road expansion, offer free and underpriced parking, don't charge anything for road use itself, keep gasoline and carbon pollution underpriced.* In so many ways we subsidize driving and don't take action for more affordable housing.**

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Willamette Boys Tore Down Old Lausanne Hall 100 Years Ago

Though today they wouldn't be let inside the fencing of a demolition project, male students with hammers and crowbars were the primary labor for the demolition of old Lausanne Hall 100 years ago on Willamette University's campus.

On October 19th, 1919, Salemites got their first public view of the design for the new Lausanne Hall.

Announcement and picture of New Lausanne Hall
October 19th, 1919
From the paper:
The new Lausanne Hall, beautiful structure which will be constructed on campus of Willamette University to serve as young women's dormitory. The cost will be $80,000, most of which has been raised. Donors of $500 or more have the privilege of naming rooms, and girls taking rooms for four-year period may have them decorated as they please. Fire danger in minimized by interior design or architect. Even the basement of this building presents interesting features....The heating plant will be one of the most modern obtainable. The boiler will be enclosed in a separate fireproof room...[with] automatic sliding doors...There will be a fully equipped laundry in the basement...A gymnasium will be installed in the basement for calesthenic exercises.
Old Lausanne Hall - via shineonsalem
Though the link to Chloe and William Willson always is background to the story of Old Lausanne, this notice gives a smaller link to the sad history of Senator Baker, killed during the Civil War.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

City Council, October 21st - Subsidies and Incentives

Maybe our baroque - and quite possibly broken - system of property tax abatements and other incentives squirreled away in our Urban Renewal Areas and their grants, our Enterprise Zones, and all the other City programs for Economic Development will finally get a publicly available assessment that is not merely soothing bromides.

Sanyo Solar, back in May, 2013 - Still worth $42 million?
First Sanyo, rebranded as Panasonic, now mystery firm
The City's made no attempt to assess!
Monday Council meets for what looks like the first in a series of "Work Session[s] on Financial Incentives."
The City and its Urban Renewal Agency currently provide business and development incentives that include Enterprise Zone incentives, Urban Renewal incentives, and the Multi Unit Housing Tax Incentive Program. Additionally, the City has four federally-designated Opportunity Zones which provide federal income tax incentives.

This work session will provide an update on activities in the Fairview Urban Renewal Area and a proposed new single-property urban renewal program to incentivize affordable units within new market rate multi-family developments. A second work session will be conducted early in 2020 to discuss the City’s remaining incentive programs and urban renewal areas.
Do we even meet these
disclosure standards from 2015?
But Councilors will need to be prepared to drill into detail and ask harder questions. The Staff Report ends with reassuring vagueness:
Incentives are a valuable tool for stimulating investment in the community, revitalizing blighted areas, creating jobs, and building affordable housing. The range and variety of the City’s incentive programs are complex and intended to meet community needs on many levels. Unfortunately, there are limitations on these programs that restrict them from being available city-wide. The current and subsequent work sessions will provide further context on how these incentives are used, why they are available in certain locations and not others, what they have accomplished, and the future vision for these programs.
That "incentives are a valuable tool" is merely asserted! This is what should be proven. Every quarter Council gets an update that assumes the effectiveness of these incentives. The whole reporting scheme begs the question.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Considering near-Final Slate for 2021-2026 Funding: At the MPO

The Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization, SKATS, meets on Tuesday the 22rd, and they've got a mostly baked proposal for funding in the 2021-2026 cycle.

this is helpful! A table with proposed funding
and rough notion of schedule
In the meeting packet is this helpful summary, and just as the presentation of information it's an advance on what we have seen previously.

Altogether, the funding proposal is also pretty reasonable. The gigantified five-lane Center Street project is out, the revised three-lane State Street project is in. Urban projects mostly have greater priority than ruralish suburban ones (like those in and near Turner - but see below for note on regional balance in the MPO).

Several other projects to improve safety and comfort for non-auto travel are also included.

The alternate plan bumps crosswalk funding
So at this point, I don't see any meaningful criticism to direct towards it. The "recommended" alternative does seem better. In recent years attempts to get funded an Orchard Heights project has consistently not scored well. East Salem also deserves the investment more, and so the Connecticut project is worth including. The enhanced crosswalks for Salem also get pushed out two years in the "alternate" scenario. I do not see a reason not to embrace the recommended scenario.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

New City Buildable Lands Map Needs Revision

The City announced today a new map project to identify "commercial and industrial zoned land that may be further developed."

But it's not at all clear this is what the map really shows. There seem to be some additional silent filters that are not disclosed and there are also lots that probably shouldn't be included as buildable.

The idea of the map is good! But the execution is not so good.
Why is the City's new "park parcel" at the Boise project, the home for the future amphitheater, on the map as "buildable land"? It's not available for purchase or anyone to develop other than the City. In the sense that the amphiteater's not built yet, it's technically "buildable"; but in the sense that matters to someone looking for land to develop or redevelop, it's not "buildable."

Downtown Surface Parking Lots in Red
Parking Garages in Solid Brick Red
On-street parking stalls not included
(click to enlarge)
And what about all those surface parking lots and empty lots downtown? Aren't they "buildable"? They are not sufficiently "improved" to count as "unbuildable." We should want to highlight them and find higher uses than parking for them.

And the City should consider including residential land, not just commercial and industrial. There are lots of empty lots in residential areas we should want for infill development. That contested project on Salem Heights is not highlighted and a map like this should also highlight those gaps in our residential fabric as infill candidates.

The idea behind this mapping project is great. But the data filters and queries behind the map need refinement so the map shows a more accurate and useful set of lots on which a person might actually build something. It shows Salem as more full, closer to built-out, than it really is. The map could be a tool in our conversations over "Our Salem," but as it is now, it shows some odd biases, omissions, and inclusions.

990 Broadway Project Looks Great; Proposed Mural Runs into Red Tape

The City's published two Hearing Notices, one for a small apartment block, the other for a mural. The one for the mural looks like an obvious instance of regulatory overreach and suggests reconsidering the process.

The Hearing Notice for the apartment block looks on the surface to be a terrific project just up the street from Boon's, on the corner of E Street and Broadway NE.

Pretty sure this is looking southeast (180 degrees switched)

That southeast view: It's an empty lot now
The proposal is for a "three story mixed-use multi-family and retail development on a vacant portion of the site, and maintaining an existing parking lot and driveways." There would be 23 apartments, a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom units, above and behind a ground floor storefront. (The third floor has a mezzanine with lofts, so it's maybe like three and one half total floors?) A parking lot wraps in an "L" around the building, which sits flush to the sidewalk on the corner. The main building entry is off the side part of the lot and the building wraps in a "U" around a courtyard with the entry.

With the site plan and design review are some requests for small adjustments on parking and landscaping. On the surface these also look reasonable.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Focus on Climate: Three City Workshops Kick-off and Peace Lecture Tonight

Tonight, Wednesday the 16th, there's a chance to think globally and act locally on climate.

Some ingredients to our autoism and carbon pollution,
53% of which comes from our cars
(via VTPI, Salem notes added)
Locally, the Our Salem project is holding the first of its Workshops at 6pm. It's a chance to talk about reducing our local greenhouse gas emissions by changing transportation and land use: By making systemwide improvements for buses, biking, and walking, and by changing our land use patterns so that our homes and important destinations are closer together and better connected, we can make a real dent in our own greenhouse gas pollution.

This is probably bad framing
Alas, the workshops may be framed in too much of an open-ended way, around "how do we want to grow?" The prevailing answer will likely be in the form of "I want my immediate area to stay the same; other places are good for change." The open-ended format points to a NIMBY bias. Instead it should be framed, "we need to reduce carbon, how do you propose we do it?" Change itself should be assumed, including change for one's own neighborhood, and then the real debate is the nature and scope of it, not whether we actually need to change.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

CANDO to moot Proposal for Crosswalk Closure

The downtown neighborhood association, CANDO, meets tonight the 15th at 6pm, and they'll be discussing the City's proposal to close a downtown crosswalk.

Footbridge replacement at stream of mystery last week
Though the weather's turning now, CANDO has a number of interesting things going on or just completed. The new footbridge over the vestige of a largely unknown downtown creek into Pringle Creek at Church Street, a "stream of mystery" one history calls it, is now complete, and the path along the north bank can be traversed.

Continued work on Pringle Creek's streambed and bank at Boise
also last week
Just a little downstream at the Boise redevelopment, the concrete slab over Pringle Creek has now almost all been removed, the streambed broadened and dotted with boulders, and bankside planting is beginning.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Columbus Day Seemingly Prompts Jazz Screed in 1919

A minor interest here is the diffusion of jazz in the early 20th century. The word and evidence for a kind of jazz first appeared in Salem newspapers in 1917. Its frequency of use picked up in text, and as popular culture it was seemingly embraced by a significant subculture.

August 2nd, 1919
In 1919 the only visible celebration of Columbus Day was a dance held by the Knights of Columbus and Daughters of Isabella for soldiers returned from the war. With the conservative sponsorship, perhaps jazz was not featured. The small notices in the paper do not discuss the music.

October 13th, 1919
Perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps not, as it touches on many of the themes Columbus Day expresses and invokes, the holiday also seemed to prompt an editorial screed against jazz.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

City Council, October 14th - McGilchrist Street and Councilor Cook's Replacement

Though the interviews aren't until next week on the 21st, the preview of candidates to fill Councilor Cook's term after her resignation is the most interesting thing on Council's agenda for Monday. Council also looks to initiate the first real steps on the McGilchrist project.

McGilchrist at the SSA Office:
40mph, no sidewalks - but watch out for pedestrians!
The full slate of candidate applications is published, but the Council subcommittee has recommended three finalists. And while Vanessa Nordyke has seemed to have got a lot of early interest, Bonnie Heitsch is the more interesting candidate. The third candidate has a much thinner application, their interests are less consistent with Councilor Cook's, and it seems like some degree of continuity is a desideratum. If that it true, it seems likely Council will select one of Nordyke or Heitsch.

Of the two Nordyke, who is a lawyer, is younger and gives less specific policy direction:
How can we incentivize renewable energy, green spaces, tree canopy, walkable neighborhoods and affordable housing while still being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars? Are we incentivizing employers to allow one-day-a-week reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions?
Heitsch, on the other hand, is very near retirement, and ready for more civic engagement. You may recall her advocacy for a path connection through Pioneer Cemetery. She even appealed a City decision to LUBA. (More here in 2011 and 2012.)

Friday, October 11, 2019

Community Survey Shows Increasing Concern with Housing, Disconnects on Walking and Biking

The latest community satisfaction survey is out, published on the council agenda, and homelessness continues to be the top concern. The numbers on many other issues fall within the margin of error, and several could even round to zero. On walking and biking the survey does not seem to be constructed in a way to generate meaningful results that are actually useful.

Most of the results are within the margin of error;
the only significant change is to homelessness

The margin of error = +/- 4.6%
The fact that people who may not walk or bike are nonetheless asked how they feel about walking and biking renders at least some of the satisfaction levels rather suspect. Probably there are lots of people who don't walk or bike and feel that the City meets the need. "Look at all the bike lanes!"  they might say. So the conclusion here on "room for improvement" is nearly certain to underestimate things badly. If we have a bike commute rate that is less than 1%, it's hard to believe 56% are satisfied with safety and 61% think it easy for people biking in Salem. There's a disconnect between what people say and what they do, and these results just don't add up.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Decongestion Pricing for Wilderness Areas Moves Ahead

Yesterday in the paper there was an update on the prospects for decongestion pricing in wilderness areas.

As decongestion pricing for road access is more likely and gets nearer, this more immediate implementation for wilderness access and pricing is worth following, especially as the arguments for and against it are in so many ways cognate with the arguments for and against road pricing. (See a brief previous note here, "Tolling Editorial Misses Key Points" and the latest on Portland's effort at BikePortland, "City task force will explore how to make drivers pay true cost of road use.")

It observes - though way down at the end of the piece - that decongestion pricing has already been shown to work:
Obsidian Trail (Three Sisters Wilderness) and Pamelia Lake (Mount Jefferson) have had limited entry since 1995.

Both places were becoming crowded and struggling with overuse in the early 1990s. But after the permit system, both have stabilized, are seeing recovering forest, more wildlife and more solitude.

“I think we’ll see similar payoffs,” Allen said. “We have two decades of experience in seeing how this system makes a positive difference."
I have no great conclusions off the parallelism. Maybe you will discern something more meaningful. But it is a process to watch. If the Forest Service can engineer acceptance of new decongestion pricing for Wilderness areas, that process may be a template or offer suggestions for how we get to more acceptance for road pricing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sauntering through the New Crosswalk

With the new enhanced crosswalk on Commercial Street at Royvonne,* it was natural to want to see it in action!

Four cars stopped without hassle, recognizing the marked crosswalk where they had largely ignored the unmarked one, and I sauntered through it, enjoying my right-of-way.

4 cars stopped for the crossing
A commenter on FB scolded those of us who might like to saunter, and disputed the value of our current crosswalk laws.

Important people have cars and schedules
They seem to think that only the little people walk and their time is not important; by contrast, the important people have cars and schedules, and deserve priority. They also use emissions to greenwash free-flow traffic.

It is somewhat offensive, and because of the way they are located in our local politics, they should know better. They punched down when they should have been punching up.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Union St Bikeway at Risk, Shrug on Greenhouse Gas: At the MPO

As the current inflationary construction economy seemingly busts all budgets, the City of Salem is considering cancelling parts of the Union Street Family-friendly Bikeway. The MPO also appears lukewarm, even sandbaggy, on Governor Brown's recent letter requesting action on greenhouse gases and transportation.

The Technical Advisory Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets on Tuesday the 8th, and there's not a lot directly on the agenda for us.

One item on the agenda is that letter from the Governor.

"information" only
It's presented without comment in the meeting packet.

Staff could have embraced the letter, made a recommendation, and said "Let's get behind this!"

But no, it's just an informational item, something to be acknowledged and ignored. "Move along now, nothing to see."

Maybe there is some other strategy to this presentation, and that a flat affect is in fact the best way to elicit action.

But based on the MPO's previous sandbagging, this seems more likely to be an instance of doing the minimum to ensure that the minimum is continued.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sam Brown House Indirectly Shows Enduring Value of New Deal; Respects to Historian Sue Bell

front page today
A couple of interesting history notes in the paper today.

The other day a reader pointed out the story in the online SJ - and today in print, with a three-page article featured on the front page - about the prospects for "demolition by neglect" of the historic Sam Brown House in Gervais.

The house and property were first documented in 1934.

No mention of the depression or New Deal
(via Library of Congress, note added)
The story, however, leaves out that the Historic American Buildings Survey was, as Wikipedia puts it,
a constructive make-work program for architects, draftsmen and photographers left jobless by the Great Depression.
It wasn't just the "first federal preservation program," it was part of the greater New Deal!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

New Crosswalk on Commercial and Royvonne Dedicated Today; Safety Demonstration and Memorial to Follow

The long-awaited crosswalk on Commercial Street SE at Royvonne opens today at 5:55pm with a dedication by the Mayor and a safety demonstration led by Shatamera Pruden's mother, Elizabeth Pruden.

Crosswalk and bus stop at Royvonne and Commercial (late August)
There's a moving front page article today and it's worth reading in full. It's also a little infuriating.

The piece focuses on a mother's advocacy, but it also dwells on the roadblocks she found.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

President Wilson's Strokes and Persistent Race Riots made 1919 a Tense Year

With the heart and health of a major presidential candidate in the news, and the character and capacity of the current President also constantly in the news, it is a little interesting to consider the way President Wilson's strokes were framed and presented in the news.

It is also interesting, but also terrifying and dispiriting, to see the ways "race riots" and what amounts to ethnic cleansing were framed at the same time.

There isn't much on transportation and the City today for the blog, so here's a historical quick bit on national stories as they appeared in Salem newspapers. Maybe we'll come back later and see if there are meaningful differences in coverage between Salem's two papers, or see if we can drill into more detail on the way these two big stories were received in Salem itself.

But also, for as awful as 2019 sometimes seems, 1919 was worse - though perhaps Salemites did not actually feel this way at the time. It's not clear how awful they perceived all this.

In late September, Wilson had a mini-stroke, and it was big news.

Woodrow Wilson's mini-stroke of September 26th, 1919
Though they didn't know it at the time, it was a prelude to the much larger one he had in October

Morning paper: October 3rd, 1919

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Police Publish Video on How to Speed Without a Ticket

via Twitter
Today Salem Police published a "done in one" video on new photo speed enforcement, but its tone and message seem more than a little off.

In fact, the video is less about safety than it is instructions on "lawful" speeding. While they talk about "getting people to slow down," it's really instructions and license to speed up to 10 mph over the limit!

On the tweet, a subhed even reads "speed on green."

And in the body of the video they are totally, nonchalantly, up front about the fact you can speed up to 10 mph over any posted speed. So this really makes the effective speed limit, posted speed + 10! They just right out say that, joking a little about a "magic number" of licit speeding.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

"Housing Situation": Problem in 1919 and in 2019

"Build! Build! Build!" (October 1st, 1919)
An interesting chart came across the twitter the other day. It shows that a little before the Great Recession - but also clearly a precursor of it - in 2005 housing starts fell off the table and we haven't caught up.

New housing still hasn't caught up to 2005 levels
(Housing was Undersupplied
during the Great Housing Bubble)
On FB in discussion of the City's proposal to create single-lot or other micro-Urban Renewal Zones as a way to use tax increment funding to spur more affordable housing, some people remarked that there were already a lot of large multi-family and single-family developments in the works, and we should wait to see if this new funding concept was actually necessary.