Council convenes on Monday for a Work Session on updating the Strategic Plan. Because of the Pandemic and the crises it causes or exacerbates, it remains difficult to have ambitions much beyond simply responding to the exigencies of the moment.
Council has a hard way to chart.
|January 15th, 1919|
The Climate Action Plan is in progress as is Our Salem, the update to the Comprehensive Plan, and once they are completed, if the process works right, they will drive much of the strategic planning, not ad hoc sessions like this. In a year or two we should have an even stronger set of high-level values and goals to set Council's agenda and that's something to look forward to.
In the meantime, here are three notes on the materials presented to Council in October. This Work Session is a prelude to another one in January.
In the Safe Community section, the City highlights safety for people walking and biking, and also the new Police Station. Visually and rhetorically, you might think they are roughly the same magnitude of accomplishment. But of course they are not.
|These two accomplishments are not equal|
|Safe? This is intimidation, not protest|
As we have seen in a year of protest downtown and at the Capitol, the revanchist right has a notion of ethnonationalism that is welcoming only to some people, and Council should want to think more deeply about this. In no small part because of 2A fundamentalism and idolatry, they may have limited powers, but it's not a matter to be shrugged off.
|Are we welcoming ethnonationalism?|
As the big retailers continue to exit downtown, and as we underwrite large warehouses on the edges of the city, Council may want to think more about whether our current approach to downtown is in fact working. There is evidence it is not.
|Are we doing enough for downtown?|
So, again, maybe just responding to the Pandemic will take up most of the City's capacity to respond and plan, but there are other things to think about and potential actions to take.