Council convenes on Monday and no big action items are of interest here, so just some notes in passing, marginalia even.
The most interesting thing here is the Planning Commission's decision, an information item unless it is called up for Council Review or is appealed, on the First German Baptist Church. (And all previous notes here. Update: It is been appealed.)
|Exclusionary themes in Grant's appeal|
As part of the decision a letter from a lawyer representing DevNW is included, and it even talks explicitly about "housing people over cars" and about neighbors using "land use planning as a tool to exclude." The general rhetoric of YIMBY and acknowledgement of historical exclusionary planning and neighborhood practices is at least a little noteworthy. Maybe we will see more of this.
|On proprietary claims to parking|
|On street trees|
The Planning Commission specifically agreed to the request on planting new street trees and this might be something to register - maybe something that needs clarification in code.
|Decision on removing street tree condition|
|Consultant response to wildly exaggerated|
worries about traffic
As we saw with Salem Heights and the Wren Heights development (here and here), sometimes neighbors do in fact highlight traffic problems that the City and Developers analyses elide. Here, there is the opposite problem: Neighbors are wildly overestimating traffic impacts, and the consulting engineer is right to criticize the claims and underlying analysis. Because we have focused on the wrong details in our paradigm of hydraulic autoism, it is incoherent and busting up; we need a new paradigm that properly balances speed, safety, comfort, and mobility for all road users and neighbors.
On the Council agenda there's also a history note. Apparently Salem has had two Sleepy Hollows! This is an interesting displacement where we have forgotten one named area and applied the name instead to a new area. Out just east of Swegle and McKay Schools there is small well system supplying 41 homes, and it has a problem with arsenic. The City proposes to bring the homes into the municipal water system and subsidize at least part of the cost to build infrastructure to service it.
|this is a false Sleepy Hollow!|
|The original, June 17th, 1912|
The question of the magnitude of the City subsidy might be interesting also, as it is a kind of "suburban ponzi scheme" problem. The development pattern there does not generate property tax revenue sufficient for the second lifecycle of the water system. It is mean to begrudge people safe drinking water in a way we might begrudge the city subsidizing paving over an unimproved gravel street, which is not the same level of essential service as safe water. Still, this is evidence that the current development pattern is not sustainable.
|Register-Guard, July 2020|
Over at CANDO in a long post and analysis on last month's Work Session, "Council Conducts 'Disjointed' Session on 'Non-Criminal' Policing," they write:
For now, Council would do well to forget about the sobering center and CRU [like CAHOOTS], and concentrate on expanding the hours of the navigation center/low barrier shelter that's in the 2020 Council policy agenda. That's what police are asking for, if Council would only listen.
|Front page Oregonian today|
It may be that we need to give more explicit visibility to the differing agendas and frames in approaches to "non-criminal policing." If the goal is not to shoot people in crisis, to reduce the frequency that police use guns, then a liberal use of a CAHOOTS model may very well help no matter what. But if the goal is less about guns and less about managing the "non-criminal police" encounter itself, and more about helping into housing or more stable life situations, maybe the CAHOOTS model is not so helpful. And, of course, if you don't trust the Police on white supremacy and nascent fascism, would you trust their analysis, and what they request, on homelessness or mental illness?
These are difficult, non-obvious matters with complicated trade-offs.
Bullets for the rest:
- The City purchase of the park parcel at the former State Hospital site is just perking along slowly, and Council will approve an amendment to the purchase agreement. The City is going to pay more in exchange for the seller doing a bunch of street work they can fold into the larger project more conveniently and less expensively.
- The Urban Renewal Agency looks to approve an enlargement of "grant exception criteria...[for] an existing large building such as Penny’s, Nordstrom, or Liberty Plaza." Currently those buildings, and others like them, either do not qualify or are unlikely to qualify, and the Agency would like to make greater help available in order to spur redevelopment or reuse at these sites. It is notable that the proposed requirements would make a project with any housing, not just "affordable" housing, eligible.
- There's the second reading of the Historic Preservation Plan and associated code changes.
- Specifically for the hand-off between Councilor Nanke and Councilor-elect Philips, Councilor Nanke, but applicable to other transitions and situations also, proposes to "amend Council Rule 21(a) to permit a councilor-nominee or councilor-elect to serve as a guest councilor at regular and special council meetings multiple times." Currently they can do so once only, and this would make it easier to get up to speed during any lame duck period.
- Council looks to adopt final orders for denial, reversing the Planning Commission's decision, on the review of the zoning change at 2400 Commercial St NE. (See previous notes on the Planning Commission proceeding and then Council review.)
- Two intergovernmental agreements, one with ODOT and another with Marion County, for road work on Wallace Road in West Salem and on Hollywood Drive NE. When road projects by separate jurisdictions overlap or abut and are going to be executed roughly concurrently, it is often more convenient and less costly to consolidate them under one manager and set of contracts.
- And some internal borrowing to fund Civic Center improvements made possible by the exit of the Police Department as well as a larger proportion of Pandemic-related work-from-home.