Friday, December 30, 2022

Planning and Talk and not Enough Walk: 2022 in Review

From here the great theme of 2022 has been The Plan.

Two big plans finalized in 2022

The two most significant plans were the formal adoption of a new Comprehensive Plan in the Our Salem process and the "acceptance," not formal adoption, of the Climate Action Plan and subsequent implementation Council subcommittee.

Other important planning documents were the State's rule-making in the Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities process and formulating and voting on the big bond measure.

The conclusions to these four planning and policy processes were central to 2022 and on the reading here furnish the dominant note.

Much of the action on them, the walk following the talk, was deferred. The deferral of course is by design. It will take years to realize most of the changes envisioned in the policy of the plans.

But as we saw in particular with the Climate Action Plan, the City shied away from things it might do more immediately. Though the plans were prudent planning for the future, the words of the plans were too often also a substitute for action.

Big disconnects on Climate

The City keeps saying our emissions "shall be reduced to 50 percent" of the baseline in 2016, but also keeps avoiding doing the big things that will actually make that happen. If we repeat them often enough, the words here, the intentions, are magically supposed to enact the outcome.

Oregonian, November (left) and today (right)

Promise more than actuality, talk more than walk, performative signalling more than substantive action - these seemed to be the dominant note.

In Memoriam

Our public space degraded terribly as measured by outcomes. Road safety for those outside of automobiles got worse. We neglect the walk. Particularly in the discourse around housing and homelessness, instead of focusing on the lethality of autoism, jaydriving, and road design, there was victim-blaming.


Killed in 2022

Other Themes

In many other ways 2022 also seemed provisional, incomplete without seeing how 2023 unfolds. Maybe you will grasp a clearer through-line, but here so much seemed dependent on what follows.

Street art slide from City "year in review"

New YMCA and Veterans Housing (Sept 2022)

Things to Watch in 2023

  • Construction at the former Nordstrom site
  • Across from the YMCA, the Veterans housing will open
  • New Holman Hotel will open
  • Yaquina Hall will open at former State Hospital site; Sequoia Crossings and the Navigation Center will also open
  • The airport. Will the hype carry things, or will Council think more critically about it?
  • Downtown parking. Is this the year for parking reform? 
  • Designating "climate friendly areas" - where will the City want to locate them? Who will be insulated from change?
  • Public Space: The amphitheater seems terrific. Will the trend for more murals, street art, dining platforms go from occasionally nice to terrific also?
  • Biking: Ride Salem went defunct. The Winter/Union Open Streets for Saturday Market did not return in 2022. How will Salem Bike Vision evolve as an advocacy project?
  • Transition at City Hall: New City Manager; and in 2023 new Council members, new Deputy City Managers, and new Director-level hires, including for Public Works. Will these add up to more change and new direction?
  • Cost escalation in construction budgets. The MPO froze allocation for the 2024-2029 cycle. How much of a damper will this be?
  • And more plans: Goal 5 Inventory and an Update to the Transportation System Plan 
  • An ongoing process that might have significant developments in 2023 is the proposed Casino in North Salem.

And Beyond

For previous years in review see here.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

It turns out one Deputy City Manager position has been filled already. In October the City Manager quietly made an interior promotion. The new Deputy City Manager, Krishna Tulasi Namburi, has been with the City for over a decade, most recently as Director of Enterprise Services, and Director of Information Technology/Chief Information Officer.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

And to things to watch in 2023, added the Casino proposal, which I forgot about. I do not find a final Environmental Assessment, and perhaps the Bureau of Indian Affairs hasn't finalized it yet. So that seems likely to be published in 2023 and then there will certainly be sequels of some kind or another, development forward or lawsuits against, or both.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

And here's the National Weather Service on our warming, from the year-end summary for Salem: