This is it, the last City Council meeting of the year. Council meets on Monday the 12th. There are several annual reviews on the agenda. Probably the one for Police is most important, but others will have more to say on that. Here are some incidental comments on the others.
There is a bank stabilization project for Shelton Ditch.
Its origin has been a mystery. The first mention in the newspaper may
be in 1930, and then in 1934 a canal, as part of a flood control
project, was made to connect it with Mill Creek. Then through the rest
of the 1930s it appears constantly in the news as a WPA-funded project,
with each instance of flooding (as above), and as needing constant maintenance.
Before 1934 it does not seem to be continuous. Maybe we'll be able to
return to this some time. Wendy Kroger's History of Pringle Creek Watershed summarized many leads, but determined no settled narrative for its origin and development.
On the 1878 Illustrated Atlas Map, Pringle Creek is joined at Church
Street by Shelton Ditch and a stream of mystery which split south from the Mill Race,
beginning between 12th and 13th, Mill and Trade Streets, flowing north of and roughly
parallel to Mill Street until it turned almost 90 degrees south along Church Street,
crossing Bellevue. Two earlier writers note this stream. According to landscape
architect Elizabeth Lord writing a description of Pringle Park, “...There was Pringle
Creek meandering through Bush Pasture, the Shelton Ditch in natural state, very
attractive trees on the bank and the third, Mill Creek, all three joining hands under the
Church Street bridge...” (Lord 1983)....
Did Shelton Ditch begin as a 1930s Great Depression work project to tame Mill Creek
flood waters? Maps show another Shelton Ditch (or Creek) in the mid-1800s coming off
Mill Creek east of Airport Road, curving “in natural state, very attractive trees on the
bank,” crossing a corner of the Post Office property on 25th, and traveling along Shelton
and Mission Streets for several blocks (Chapman 1995). The Depot Addition Historic
Landmark Nomination indicated that the ditch was built on an earlier alignment of
Turner Road, which was abandoned in 1931.
According to a City of Salem Public Works memo regarding the Shelton
Ditch/Winter Street Bridge Flood Mitigation Project, “Shelton Ditch was ‘constructed’
generally along the existing Shelton Creek alignment...” (Lambert 1998). Is South Mill
Creek really Pringle Creek, or is it the old Shelton Ditch, or is it the old flume? To
complicate matters further, Mill Creek overflows during flood conditions to both the
East and Middle forks of Pringle Creek. [link added]
Maybe as part of the forthcoming "Goal 5" inventory, Shelton Ditch will get more attention and we will learn more about its origin and the human interventions that made its current form.
The City has started its own "year in review." Later this month in the blog's year in review post, we'll engage that in more detail. The City's document is primarily an exercise in PR, and is rather uncritical.
It leads with street art and a new city flag. Which are neat and all, but are not the most substantive of accomplishments for the City.
Further in there is a slide on the Council subcommittee on the Climate Action Plan, but it focuses on proceduralism, the mere existence of the committee, and not any decisions they made or actual progress on reducing emissions.
|Signalling only? Or action?|
Though it's probably just an innocent mistake, on the very final slide Councilor Leung was omitted and her successor, who won't be sworn in until January, and had nothing to do with 2022 accomplishments on Council, included.
|Councilor Leung is erased by accident|
Together these suggest the document was not fully baked. The impulse to publish a review is a good one, but the document published here needed more thought, more editorial review, and more self-awareness about the weights of things and about actual accomplishments. It should be more self-critical, not just boosting.