Tuesday, August 31, 2021

MWACT Meets Thursday: Lots of Crosswalks and other Safety Projects for 2024-2027 Funding Cycle

The Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation, MWACT, meets on Thursday the 2nd, and they have a number of interesting items on the agenda. 

Even though the membership of MWACT overlaps a lot with the membership of SKATS, the ACT is a creation of ODOT and State regulations, whereas SKATS is largely a creation of USDOT and Federal regulations. For non-specialists these expressions of the bureaucracy are largely opaque, duplicative, and Byzantine.

The ACT also represents a lot of rural area, the whole of Yamhill, Marion, and Polk counties, and often they are focused on highway matters or other roads distant from Salem. So we don't talk about them very often here.

But this month they have a lot of urban and non-auto matters of interest.

Alas, there is something profoundly remedial in the agenda items.

Do we really have to keep doing this?

The first agenda item is "Strategic Bike /Pedestrian Project Prioritizations for FY 24-27 STIP Update." Which might be great if it was really about "strategy" and "priority." But the presentation is padded with yet another instance of supplication, "why fund walking and biking."

Apparently, even with rising traffic fatalities and rising emissions from motorized vehicles, it is not a baseline or self-evident yet. That's the reality and it is dispiriting.

(In fact, outside of urban areas there are ways that walking and biking might be even more politicized now. See especially "How a trail in rural Oregon became a target of far-right extremism," a new take on the collapse of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, which had been on the agenda of MWACT several times in the past few years. Here in 2016 is some criticism of it, which reads a little differently now in light of the news on right-wing extremism. Maybe the composition of MWACT really does need this presentation and approach. At the same time, ODOT could more firmly support walking and biking, and make it clear they are in fact a baseline, not an enhancement or amenity.)

In the minutes from last meeting they talked about the scoring for walking and biking facilities on the "Active Transportation Needs Inventory," but they do not seem to have made any changes since last time. The curves on the downtown Pringle Parkway remain the worst - but scanning the list of projects in this meeting I didn't see anything to address it specifically.

ODOT ATNI Evaluation Criteria and Prioritization

And there are a lot of projects buried in the agenda. The second agenda item is a list of projects proposed for scoping before final funding decisions. Many of these are new proposals that have not, I think, hit City Council agenda.

A bunch of new crosswalk improvements proposed

The most exciting might be a new list of crosswalks for improvement and a couple for outright creation.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Catastrophe on Mildred Lane Shows Problem with Road Design

August 2020

Front page

The front page today has news on sentencing in a traffic fatality from last summer.

It is framed up as the story of poor teenage judgement that leads to catastrophe and grief.

[The driver] told police he was driving too fast and that he saw the stop sign [at Liberty] and knew it was an intersection but didn’t see any headlights, so he didn’t stop, according to the state’s memorandum.

It certainly is an instance of catastrophically bad judgement, but there is also more.

Mildred Lane had a posted speed limit sign of 35 miles per hour less than a mile from the Liberty Road intersection. Investigators determined Goodwin was driving more than 60 mph through the intersection.

Mildred Lane is overbuilt. It is built to our contemporary urban standard for a minor arterial, with bike lanes and sidewalks, and a continuous center turn pocket. The car lanes are a foot or two wider than they need to be. 10 feet would be sufficient, and is safer. Even with occasional medians that interrupt the turn pocket, the street is three lanes wide. The terrain is hilly. The posted speed is high for a residential neighborhood.

Current design standard (TSP, Jan. 2020)

This design and the posted speed of 35mph practically invite speeding. It is comfortable to go faster than the limit.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Driver Strikes and Kills Person at 25th and Mission Early Thursday Morning

At one of Salem's most notorious and gigantic intersections, known to be dangerous and therefore one of the very first to get red light camera enforcement in February of 2008, a driver struck and killed a person in the street early in the morning on Thursday the 26th.

25th and Mission is a top 10 percentile
safety problem statewide

The brevity of the release from Police, as well as its language suggests there is more to the story, but also that Police may not feel any need to say more. The short release from Police is at once ambiguous and definite, the gaps troubling.

From Salem Police:

Salem, Ore. — Just before 2:00 a.m. this morning, August 26, 2021, patrol officers were dispatched to the report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle at the intersection of 25th and Mission STS SE.

The preliminary investigation revealed a vehicle was traveling eastbound on Mission ST and struck a woman who unexpectedly entered the roadway. The pedestrian, identified as Aleta Pierre-Kelly, age 67, was transported to Salem Health where she was later pronounced deceased.

The driver, Kristen La Plume, age 48, remained on scene and cooperated with the investigation. No citations have been issued in this incident.

Even without direct language of blame, the release and its gaps imply the victim was to blame. Police appear to sympathize more with and to absolve the driver, saying that Pierre-Kelly "unexpectedly entered the roadway" and "no citations have been issued." They do not say any investigation is ongoing, or leave other open-endedness. Releases the same day of a crash and death are often less definite. As I read this release, Police are signalling that the matter is closed or near closed, and it is unlikely they will publish any updates.

Still, Pierre-Kelly is dead, cannot share her side of the story, and this frame may uncritically accept the perspective of the driver.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Meeting Structure and Rhetoric on Climate may have Invited Doubt and Delay

The City and project team have published materials from the "Economic Forum for Climate Action Plan hosted by Chamber of Commerce / SEDCOR."

It's great they reached out and initiated a conversation.

Slides 5 and 6 are pretty clear

The introductory presentation mostly looks good. They included a clear statement of sources of emissions and costs of inaction.

But then they appear to have lost focus, and asked about feelings rather than about substantive and effective actions. Rather than building support for action, the "narrative arc" in the structure of the meeting appears to have built to doubt and delay.

People like gas from fracking and other sources

After the initial presentation they presented a set of seven possible actions and asked for feedback, and then polled them. But the polling was all about feelings, whether respondents "loved" or "hated" the action.

Why the heck would you ask about feelings in this way? If we "loved" giving up our fossil fuels, we would have already done so! The reason this whole thing is difficult - that whole "inconvenient truth" etc. - is because we don't "love" giving up our fossil fuels. Very few "love" the real actions necessary to give up fossil fuels. On the contrary, collectively we demonstrate in so many ways we "hate" doing so.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Mini-Cookie Ride to visit Settlement Site 30 Years older than Jason Lee House

The Pandemic's scrambled everything and the Salem Bicycle Club's Monster Cookie has also been scrambled. Customarily in the spring, it was cancelled last year and deferred this year. This year the Monster Cookie ride slots into to the date of what would have been the late summer Peach ride, Sunday the 29th, and it is based not at the Capitol, its usual starting point, but at Keizer Rapids Park.

The Mini-Cookie Route in Keizer

In the disruption, there is opportunity, too, and this edition of the Monster Cookie has for the first time a shorter family ride, the Mini-Cookie, about six miles on quiet neighborhood streets.

Like the full Cookie, which turns around at Champoeg, the Mini-Cookie also runs through an historic site, this one from a full 30 years before Jason Lee's activity in Salem and the  Champoeg meetings.

Wallace House Park (2007 plan, not yet completed)
Possible Location of 1811-13 Fur Trade Activity

The park is the conjectured site of William Wallace's fur trading outpost circa 1812, and is among the earliest settlements in Oregon, not just the Salem area.* Soon, however, activity shifted a little north to "French Prairie," and by the time Thomas Dove Keizer arrived in the 1840s, little if anything was left here.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Beer and Buildings Featured in Latest History Talks at the Mill

The Mill's announced another round of history talks for the "zooming back to history" series.

"Finding Louisa Weinhard" - OHQ, Summer 2021

Two are of particular interest here.

History talk, Sept. 16th

You may recall back in May when Pioneering Oregon Architect, W. D. Pugh was released. On the cover are images of our Old City Hall and the second Mill building, both of which Walter D. Pugh designed. Author, former Salemite, and retired professor of history Terrence Emmons will give an online talk on September 16th.

The remarkable architectural career of Salem native W. D. Pugh and the question of why so little was known about it until now. How I came to make this inquiry. “A life in buildings” is the giveaway subtitle of my book; that is, an attempt to answer that question and to learn more about the life of W.D. Pugh, especially during the quarter century of his greatest activity (roughly 1885-1910), by searching out the buildings he designed, with photographs if possible. It also examines his later career as building contractor and road builder, all in the context of the social and economic development of the American Northwest.

And on December 16th, pioneering Beer Archivist Tiah Edmunson-Morton of Oregon State University will discuss “Women behind the pints: Oregon’s 19th century brewery wives.”

An important detail is missing from most 19th century Oregon beer history: these brewers didn’t arrive alone. Though the name over the door was a man’s, and women weren’t likely to be found in the brewhouse or serving lager in a saloon, their involvement as wives, widows, and daughters is an important, unknown, and untold story.

Edmunson-Morton has an article in the current Oregon Historical Quarterly about Louisa Weinhard (at top).

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Draft Strategies for Climate Action Plan Still Evade the Heart of the Matter

The City and project team have published the first revision of a set of proposed strategies for our Climate Action Plan. The original was published in June. It seemed pretty chaotic and I wanted to wait for more clarity. The second, revised draft is still a welter, but we are approaching a deadline, supposedly with a Council Work Session next month, and so it merits some comment.

It's an awkward spreadsheet format
(and truncated here)

But before we comment, here is a really helpful typology of ways that people dismiss climate action by means of arguing for delay.

Typology of climate delay discourses

We will see several of them in the proposed strategies and actions listed in this current draft for our Climate Action Plan as well as the debate around them:

  • Individualism
  • No sticks, just carrots
  • All talk, little action and non-transformative solutions
  • Appeal to social justice (especially when talking about pricing parking or tolling)
  • Change is impossible

So this might be helpful in identifying delaying action or talk and in assessing the list of proposed actions and strategies.

Monday, August 16, 2021

We need to Stop Ignoring Climate in Transportation Stories

So far this summer we've had an intensified fire season, all-time record-breaking heat waves and mortality from them, drought, so many things directly related to our climate emergency. 

Yet, when we talk about highway widening, we forget all that.

Is it really about safety?
Or safety-washing capacity increase?

Today's front page story about the Aurora-Donald Diverging Diamond project is legitimate news, but at this point readers should get closer analysis of expected safety benefits, of induced travel from congestion relief, and of emissions and climate impacts from highway capacity increases. The reporting accepts and reproduces uncritically the highway postures, even propaganda, from the County, from ODOT, and from our Congressman.

We have choose one of these frames
(front pages, June 2015 and June 2019)

Earlier this month

It's not like the climate issues are a secret. But the transportation stories are compartmentalized to keep climate away. This needs to stop. We know transportation is our biggest source of emissions locally, and at a minimum we should be clearer about the trade-offs when we widen or "improve" highways.

Hope Plaza, Unnamed Tributaries, and Pringle Creek Community at Planning Commission Tuesday the 17th

Continuing with the Planning Commission's busy week, on Tuesday the 17th they will review the plans for Hope Plaza, which generally seem supported and non-controversial, as well as more contested appeals of a Minor Amendment to the Refinement Plan at Fairview for Pringle Creek Community and an approval of a subdivision on Doaks Ferry Road in West Salem.

Hope Plaza

A driveway on Church Street would require
right turns across the buffered bike lane

On Hope Plaza the one interesting item was retaining the driveway on Church Street. I wondered if it could just be closed, but the Staff Report proposes approval for the revised driveway plan, saying that since it reduces an existing two-way driveway to a one-way, right-in and ingress only; since the alley is not wide enough to support two-way traffic and will support exit only; and since City policy is to minimize driveways on arterials and to make access from the lowest street classification possible (Church Street being lower than Center/Marion), the proposal meets all the relevant requirements. So I don't think there is much more to say, even though it might be nice to use the alley more completely.  (See previous notes here.)

No mention of the buffered bike lanes and turning

It is possible, however, to fault the Staff Report for too narrowly focusing on car travel.   Generally, when Staff address "safe and efficient movement...of bicycles" and any "traffic hazards," they do not think very deeply about bike travel, and it would be helpful for the basic template of Staff Reports to drill into more detail on the actual facts of bike travel and not the just the theoretical level that the map shows a bike lane there and "we're all good." The Staff Report does not directly discuss the existence of the buffered bike lane and any right-hook hazard from drivers making right-hand turns across it. It's box-checking, and not any real assessment of "safe movement."

But that is a more general point, and there's a lot of positive in the specific proposal for Hope Plaza, and we should just wish the greatest success for it.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Proposed Code Changes, with City to end new Drive-Thrus Downtown, at Planning Commission Monday the 16th

Dang, the Planning Commission has a full plate this week. On Monday the 16th they've got a formal Work Session on some interesting proposed changes to zoning and the development code, and on Tuesday the 17th they will review the plans for Hope Plaza, which generally seem supported and non-controversial, as well as more contested appeals of a Minor Amendment to the Refinement Plan at Fairview for Pringle Creek Community and an approval of a subdivision on Doaks Ferry Road in West Salem.

We'll start with the Work Session (agenda here), and discuss the others for the 17th in a separate post.

Right off there is a terrific detail in the proposed amendments! The City wants to end new drive-thrus downtown. (It's surprising that single detached houses aren't already prohibited there.)

Prohibit drive-thrus downtown

Remember this from last September?

You may recall this image of a drive-thru coffee shack outside of downtown soliciting business by donating to wildfire and smoke relief last year.

There was no sense of any irony that the prospect of donation induced more carbon pollution as cars and their drivers waited in line - that it would add to and not mitigate the indirect cause and intensifier of the fires. 

In downtown itself, you may recall the new drive-thru at the new coffee shop that replaced the Barrick Funeral home on Ferry and Church, as well as the abandoned plan for a new bank and drive-thru where the Nishioka building is now on Commercial and State. And several other voids in the downtown fabric.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Learn about Neighborhood Greenways and Traffic Calming on Saturday the 21st

The Bike Boulevard Advocates are hosting a mobile seminar on the greenway and the greenway toolbox for traffic calming and safety, treating it as a set of interventions portable to other neighborhoods and other routes.

via FB

This looks like something that could be very helpful, especially if you have not yet traveled on the Winter-Maple Greenway.

Here are some extended notes on each of the stops.

The staple racks on Winter St at Union St. (2019)

They'll start at Union and Winter, the site of the Saturday Market. In the off-season of 2018-2019 the City installed a pod of staple racks. Up to that point, biking to the market had been a little inconvenient, and lots of bikes were chained to trees, street signs, and other places. For a while there was even bike valet parking, which went on hiatus in 2011.

The City has seemed disinclined to finish the greenway south of D Street, finishing the connection into downtown and the Capitol Mall. Maybe this will be an opportunity to build support for that.

Friday, August 13, 2021

City Deletes Three Fifths of Proposed Neighborhood Hub Sites in Latest Revision for Our Salem

The City announced a revision to the neighborhood hubs for Our Salem. The way the information is presented, it does not appear we are to register very much other than that the City killed some. It would have been more helpful to see them isolated, and not on a map already cluttered with detail. The information design here really buries the matter.

Deleting 21 proposed hub sites - City presentation

Here they are isolated - but even this was a view the City never presented and had to be created by deselecting a bunch of layers in a map, and the most recent version of the map has layers collapsed so you can't deselect and isolate individual changes.

The proposed hub sites in February 2021

There is also little explanation with the announcement:

View Proposed Changes to Neighborhood Hubs

We have made changes to proposed neighborhood hubs based on community input and analysis. Those changes include:

  • Reducing the number of proposed neighborhood hubs by nearly two-thirds
  • Adding restrictions to the types of uses allowed in proposed hubs and adding additional standards

Any overarching goal of reducing emissions or any kind of holistic view do not seem to be driving the deletions. Instead, NIMBY sentiment and neighbor complaint appear to be driving the changes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Between 1921 and 1923 Salemites Seemed to Shift Radically on the Triple K

In August of 1921 Civil War veterans, who would remember the first Klan, and who were meeting in Silverton, denounced the organizing effort underway in the mid-Willamette Valley for the second Klan.

August 5th, 1921

They said:

The history of the lawlessness and violence of the past needs no recital. The murders, lynchings and violence of those days are too well known and President Grant's stern orders for the repression of its activities are of record.

No form of secret organization whose members appear in public only in masks and under cover of darkness, pretending to be 100 per cent Americans, can be anything but anarchistic in its real character. The organization deserves and should receive universal condemnation."

But in only a year's time, statewide in 1922 a Klan-associated Governor and Legislature was elected, and after another year in 1923 Salem had a chapter of the Klan.

Things changed quickly.

This is but a sketch, and maybe we'll come back later with more detail on some of the threads. Maybe others will pick up and develop them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Dire Course and Harrowing Future if we don't Act on Climate

LA Times

With forecasts of 105 degrees or more, we have a new heat wave to look forward to later this week.

As the new UN report on climate filters into the media, they seem fairly consistent in representing it: Code Red, Dire Straits. 

We are in a bad way. And we need to take strong action quickly.

Fortunately we have a Climate Action Plan in process and a related update to our Comprehensive Plan in process.

The bad news is, we are not serious enough about them, preferring ineffective symbolic actions and partial gestures over the more thoroughgoing actions that would actually make real reductions in our emissions and avert worse fates for Salem and for the globe.

Seattle Times, Monday

New York Times, Monday

Washington Post, today

Today's front page right here

Monday, August 9, 2021

Three Crossings: Fairgrounds Road at Norway, Jones at Judson School, Pringle and Copper Glen

One of the important projects completed last year for the Winter-Maple Greenway was an enhanced crossing on Fairgrounds Road at Norway.

Two major reductions in the scope
(Drawings from March 2018, red comments added)

Previous drawings from 2018 had shown a lot of concrete, and since the project funding bundled it with four other crossings, and it also appeared to remove parking for a business operated by a new City Councilor, it seemed like a strong candidate for "value engineering." (See previous notes here, here, and here.)

$586,300 was not enough (April 2019)

Indeed, the as-built conditions show a shorter, more compact median refuge in Fairgrounds Road, and the second proposed median in Norway was completely deleted, saving the parking strip for the business.

Median refuge looking southwest, much shorter

Tu Casa parking strip on Norway retained

I had been prepared to find any reductions problematic, but I do not think the reductions here are in fact very problematic.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Case of Woman Found on Church Street last Month Remains Unresolved Publicly

Last month there was a strange crash report with a fatality. Many questions remain and it is not at all clear what happened. (I was holding off posting about it, hoping more details would emerge, but nothing more has come out since the 27th.)

On Friday afternoon, July 23rd, Salem Police released a bare bones notice about a fatality in a collision downtown.

The Salem Traffic Team is investigating a fatal traffic collision. Church ST between D and Union STS NE will be closed for several hours.

On Tuesday the 27th, Salem Police released more information, though many questions remained, and in fact there was, and still is, more to the story:

Salem, Ore. — On July 23, 2021, Salem Police officers responded to the 600 block of Church ST NE on a report of a traffic collision. When officers arrived, they located a woman in the road with significant injuries. Salem Fire personnel attempted lifesaving measures, but ultimately the woman died at the scene.

Officers learned the woman had been seen on the hood of a van traveling south on Church ST when she fell off and landed in the street. The van did not stop and fled the area. Officers found the van abandoned in a neighborhood nearby. A K-9 team was deployed; however, the track was unsuccessful.

Detectives, assisted by the Traffic Team, were called out to the scene which shut down Church ST for several hours.

Based on the investigation, detectives believe the driver of the vehicle is Robert Dornbusch, age 53, of Salem. Detectives ask the public for information regarding Dornbusch’s whereabouts. Anyone with information on his current location should call the Salem Police Tips line at 503-588-8477.

The identity of the victim is not being released at this time pending notification of next of kin.

The street here has a mix of road geometries and adjacent business and residents. It's also a long block with no unmarked crosswalks between Union and D Streets. 

Still, at appropriate driving speed, any mid-block or corner crossing here should not be a great problem for people on foot or for drivers. From the bare bones police statement it's just not possible say where and how driver hit the woman, though speed looks to be involved. (Stranger narratives are also possible, though less likely.)

On that stretch of Church Street Northwest Human Services operates HOAP, the Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Project, and there is usually some kind of encampment on the sidewalk there. People cross the street mid-block or may even have a crisis in the middle of the street.

There is a range of other kinds of non-profit and professional offices also, with people crossing the street mid-block also.

Plat seam with two road widths and parking styles
Looking south from the creek bridge

The street itself is wide and has diagonal parking on both sides south of the creek, then narrows significantly at the creek with parallel parking only on the east side, north of the creek.

A little north, the Knapp Place footbridge over the creek after it turns a corner and goes north, paralleling Church for a brief stretch, also makes little bit of a blind T-connection at the sidewalk.

Hopefully more will come out.

This post will likely be updated.

Friday, August 6, 2021

EV Mania and the Tropes of the Burned out Car and Water Play

Visual tropes of the burned out car to show fire's devastation and of water play to show relief from extreme heat more accurately testify to something else, to the ways we still aren't facing climate very squarely.

I have not tracked this exactly, but it has seemed like when the paper runs an AP story that is climate-adjacent, there is often a clear statement in it about the relation to climate. 

I last noticed this in a story mid-July about west coast vineyards and vineyard workers facing smoke and heat, which the SJ picked up from the AP (though its writer is also based in Salem). It was clear: "The bad news is that extreme weather events and wildfires are apt to become more frequent because of climate change."

Here is another instance in today's paper.

Interior page, SJ today

But the paper's own journalists have seemed less consistent about making clear statements about the relation to climate, as if it might be a house editorial policy not to center climate. 

Columbia Journalism Review via Twitter

We really saw this in heat wave stories, which nearly always focused on water play or other recreation, and did not underscore hazard and the link to climate strongly enough. A July story about our record fire season pace omitted it, and the SJ's own stories about agricultural safety rules for extreme heat also have talked around climate a little. I am not counting them to quantify any pattern, but it definitely seems like the paper should center climate more strongly in stories that touch on it, even in indirect ways.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Railroad foils Union Street Opening for Saturday Market; Hoopla Compounds

In the conversation around Councilor Stapleton's motion to open parts of Winter and Union Street to non-auto travel, there were two plans, one for a soft closure to cars and one for a hard closure to cars.

Work on the tracks will totally close Union at Front

The Railroad said, "Hold my beer."

Portland & Western Pacific Railroad is scheduled to perform track repairs on Union Street at the entrance to Riverfront Park. The work will impact drivers and park patrons starting August 6 at 7 a.m. to August 10 until noon.

Union Street and the Riverfront Park entrance will be closed between Front Street NE and the alleyway to the west. Vehicles traveling southbound on Front Street should watch for crews working in the area and expect some congestion and/or delays.

Riverfront Park is open. Detour routes will be in place to enter and exit the park. Enter the park using the Division Street NE alleyway west of the Front Street NE bypass and continue south towards Water Street SE.

That was from the City's release, and it is a little disappointing that it doesn't acknowledge the impact to the Saturday Market plan for people walking, biking, and rolling. The detour using the alley is known to many people who bike regularly, but might not be very inviting to a family new to biking. Crossing Front Street at Division can be tricky with the traffic from the Front Street bypass turning north, and Division at Commercial is still the charlie foxtrot.  The framing on the City's detour is all about travel by car.

The railroad work really defeats any idea of travel from West Salem or Wallace Marine Park to the market. It's still a hassle rather than newly convenient, and so the Union Street route will mainly serve people who already bike to the market and will not serve those who might want to try for the first time.

Fortunately this is just the one Saturday, and the second instance on the 14th should be smoother. 

For more on the Saturday Market plan, see recent notes on Union Street here.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

July 2021 so much Warmer than July 1921

Like this just past July, in 1921 July was also a dry month.

August 2nd, 1921

The paper printed a weather summary and it is interesting to compare the temperatures to the month we just finished.

Warmer in 2021

A single month-to-month comparison does not say very much about long-term trends. It is a kind of cherry-picking and trivia. But given everything else that we know, it is symptomatic nonetheless. 

It's a lot warmer now!

The difference in nighttime lows is particularly striking. It was a dry, droughty month, not cloudy and wet, with only 12 days with any kinds of clouds, and it was still a lot cooler then.

Update, Tuesday

And here's how the current paper covered it today. They focused on fun rather than anything related to our climate emergency.

Still the "fun" angle for record heat

They note that last month's record was the result of the daily record outliers in the 117 degree heatwave, but this month's was from sustained daily warmth in the 90s and warmer nights.

As a commenter noted, the National Weather Service had noted it was our hottest all-time:

[T]his was not only the warmest July on record at the Salem Airport, but also the warmest month at the Salem Airport since records began in the 1890s. The next warmest months on record were July 2015 at 73.1°F and August 2017 at 73.0°F.

The close proximity of the new second-place records in 2015 and 2017 should remind us that this record won't last long, and we will soon be "celebrating" another new record.

August 3rd, 1921

The Bitsman in the paper 100 years ago highlighted the cool nights; the loss of this, more than any record-setting daily highs, might be the real measure of our warming climate in summer.