Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Our Salem Open House, Small Manufacturing, Cherriots Restart, ODOT Climate Office

Our Salem, the project to update the Comprehensive Plan, will hold an online Open House tomorrow.

April 6th
The pandemic's added several swerves and wrinkles, and the cancellation of in-person open houses is one of them. Thinking about manufacturing is another. The surlyurbanist is on the faculty at PSU in geography, and one topic they've harped on is manufacturing.

Surlyurbanist riffs on importance of manufacturing
One new thing here that the pandemic has highlighted and prompted reconsideration on is the role of small manufacturing and light industry in the total economic mix and for resiliency.

"Craft Industrial" is maybe not so silly after all -
The Edgewater District and West Salem Zone Clean-up project
While we don't have big things like idle car plants and idle labor forces working to retool to manufacture ventilators, we have smaller kinds of manufacturing responsiveness. I have discounted much of this in the hype and fad around "makers" and "maker space," but at least some of it is very real and useful, and it may not be getting adequate attention in our planning. As I understand it, this pandemic work is non-traded sector work; it's all staying here. SEDCOR and the City are all about traded-sector manufacturing, whose product is traded out of the area. This small and nimble manufacturing has great value in a crisis, and it deserves more support and love in our formal planning. It's something to keep in mind during the Our Salem project in addition to climate, transportation, missing middle housing, 20-minute neighborhoods, and emissions.

Today's front page

April 3rd - via Twitter
The Open House will be from 11am to noon on Wednesday the 8th, and will be available on the web here.

(It's not entirely clear whether you must install the app, or whether you can just use a regular browser from a desktop machine. If it works from just a browser, it may prefer chrome. It looks a little fussy, and it may be just easier to wait until they publish the video and support materials, and not try to participate live.)

Cherriots Restores Skeleton Service Network

via Twitter - see details here
This morning Cherriots restored a very basic level of service. It's meant for essential trips only. It's still free, uses back-door boarding, and it's also a little complicated. See the temporary schedule for details on active routes and times. It is sure to be fluid and change again, so check the schedule before any time you might need to use it.

Addendum on ODOT Climate Office

Because of the pandemic, I missed this from late last month.

ODOT is creating a new climate office. From the press release:
SALEM -- The Oregon Department of Transportation announces the establishment of a new Climate Office to respond to the challenges presented by climate change and to take active steps to reduce Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The new Climate Office will support implementation of the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04, the Oregon Transportation Commission’s Statewide Transportation Strategy for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and support the state’s transition to a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system....

“Transportation is Oregon’s largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Robert Van Brocklin. “We need to make it easier for Oregonians to choose cleaner transportation alternatives, like driving electric and hybrid vehicles and using mass transit. If a broad cross-section of our citizens make those choices, Oregonians will truly drive down carbon emissions in our state and dramatically improve air quality,” said Van Brocklin.

“Transportation agencies can and should be doing more. Under Governor Brown’s leadership, we look forward to working with our partners to reduce emissions and increase our resiliency wherever possible,” said Kris Strickler, Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. “This new Climate Office is a critical step toward a clean, reliable, and sustainable future,” said Strickler.

Amanda Pietz will lead ODOT’s Climate Office beginning immediately. Pietz served as ODOT’s Program Implementation and Analysis Manager. The Climate Office will report to Cooper Brown, ODOT Assistant Director for Operations.
Right off, this looks like a lot of greenwash. OTC Chair says, "We need to make it easier for Oregonians to choose cleaner transportation alternatives, like driving electric and hybrid vehicles..." It's mainly about swapping fuel sources and keeping the same mileage and trip count of driving. But we know EVs will not be enough and we will also need very large decreases in driving itself, in VMT reduction. We will know ODOT is serious when they lead with We will make it easier for Oregonians to drive less and not to drive at all. At the moment ODOT sees this as self-negating, as they cannot conceive of transportation without driving. But we need a different understanding of mobility and transportation.

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