Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Modern Poor Farm? Concept for Hillcrest to Hope Crest Misses on Transport

Back in the last century we had an official Poor Farm north of the city.

Marion County Poor Farm, 1892
(Salem Library Historic Photos, see also these from 1941)

The Poor Farm just north of the Deaf School (1915 USGS)
The idea's apparently hard to resist, and there's new interest in a modern Poor Farm at the former site of the Oregon State Industrial School for Girls.

"to reform, not punish" - September 22nd, 1914
Advocates for the project do not seem to have considered how car-dependent is the area. Or perhaps they have, and its remoteness is a feature. But if we wanted to be able to connect people to services, exiling them out to this rather rural area of undeveloped Salem does not meet that goal. It's really isolated out there! And it will be a while yet before the adjacent land is built out.

The water tower and red roofs of Hillcrest
from Pringle/Battlecreek Road, looking across Fairview
(earlier this month)
An important provider is not interested
In the SJ piece proponents say
the homeless people who participate in their proposed program could come and go freely, but that there would need to be some sort of sign-in, check-out process for their safety and the safety of others.
But what does that mean? How do you "come and go freely" out there without a car? Anyone who argues for this should walk the whole length of Reed Road. Reed Road has no sidewalks or bike lanes and is quite zoomy; and while Fairview Industrial does have sidewalks and bike lanes, it's in an industrial park without meaningful destinations or other services.

A very low walkscore for Hillcrest
CANDO has a broader and more informed criticism over at "Zombie Hillcrest Project Revives." See also previous notes here on Hillcrest and the immediate neighborhood:
December 20th, 1913
It's also interesting that the proposed name, "Hope Crest," seems to echo Mount Crest Abbey and Hope Abbey, two mausoleums associated with Ellis F. Lawrence here in Salem and in Eugene. That's surely unintended, but in a poetic way the echo also underscores some of the problems with the concept.

Altogether this seems like a risky and costly project that is unlikely to help people or to help Salem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The Hillcrest property has been reviewed by City and Housing Authority staff for housing and shelter uses. The conclusion after multiple looks is that City and Housing Authority resources would go further and better meet affordable housing and shelter needs by renovating more modern and code compliant properties, smaller properties, or building new."


"Location is not proximate to services and amenities (another challenge for using federal funding)"

plus several more bulleted deficiencies.

From the City Manager's latest update -