City of Salem
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News Releases
City Unveils Climate Action Plan, Public Comment Invited through November 5 - 10/18/21

The City of Salem invites the public to review and comment on a draft of the Salem Climate Action Plan. The plan is the result of a year-long process involving many stakeholders across the community. Its recommendations tackle climate change locally by proposing major changes in how we travel, design neighborhoods, and use energy, among other approaches to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, prepare the community for impacts, and ensure a transition to an equitable and climate-smart future. The plan is a roadmap to guide City and community action, including efforts to meet the City’s goal of reducing community-wide GHG emissions by 50% by 2035 (from the baseline year of 2016) and to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The public comment period is open for 18 days beginning on October 18, 2021, at 8 a.m., and closing on November 5, 2021, at 5 p.m. Comments will be accepted online at SalemClimateActionPlan.com/review-draft-cap, by email at SalemCAP@cityofsalem.net, and by mail to Salem Climate Action Plan Comments, 555 Liberty St SE, Suite 325, Salem,  Oregon, 97301-3515.

The draft Climate Action Plan can be found on the project’s website at the following address: SalemClimateActionPlan.com/review-draft-cap.

To measure the impact of local GHG reduction efforts, the plan forecasts future emissions with and without local action. The City and the project consultant, Verdis Group, are currently revising the GHG forecasts to ensure consistency with evolving state regulations and rulemaking, including DEQ’s new Climate Protection Program that seeks to limit emissions from natural gas. Revisions to the GHG forecasts will be included in the revised plan that goes to City Council on December 6. 

To ensure you are notified of project updates, please register with the project at SalemClimateActionPlan.com.

Help Redraw City Council Ward Boundaries - 10/15/21

Salem, Ore. — Salem residents are invited to join in the process of adjusting City Council ward boundaries this fall to assure the population of each ward is about equal. The City analyzes the wards right after the U.S. Census every 10 years through a process called “reapportionment.” 

Subscribe to reapportionment updates.

The goal of redrawing the boundaries is to get all eight wards as close as possible to 21,942, one-eighth of Salem’s 2020 Censure population of 175,535. Current ward populations vary from this goal by as little as 1.6% to as much as 13.1%.

Mid-Willamette Council of Governments has analyzed the Census data and prepared three alternative ward boundary maps for the process known as Ward Reapportionment. We plan to have the options on the web by early November and ask the community to comment on the boundary options. You will have the chance to comment when the alternatives are presented to the City Council November 8. City Council will also provide input at that meeting. We'll also have a couple of virtual open houses following the November 8 meeting, where you'll be able to ask questions and share comments. 

We expect the City Council will hold a public hearing and select a final alternative for approval in late November. 

Learn more about the process.

Salem Earns Project of the Year Award for Wetland Restoration - 10/13/21

The City of Salem’s Public Works Department was recently awarded a prestigious award for its efforts in restoring wetlands at the Mill Creek Corporate Center in Southeast Salem. The American Public Works Association’s, Oregon Chapter, awarded the City of Salem the 2021 Public Works Project of the Year Award in the Environmental ($5 million to $25 million) Division for their efforts in restoring the wetlands.

Today, nearly 42 acres of the 100 open space acres at the Mill Creek Corporate Center have been dedicated to establishing a new and thriving wetland habitat. The main goal of the project is to enhance wetlands by converting mostly agricultural land into a mosaic of diverse habitat dominated by native species. The wetlands exist on land that in the past was drained artificially to create agricultural fields. The resulting drier soil was more vulnerable to invasion by non-native species. The increasingly diverse and natural space will provide a habitat for local wildlife as well as provide a natural outlet for stormwater runoff during Salem’s rainy seasons.

The Oregon State Legislature passed legislation in the early 2000s directing the Department of Administrative Services to get the Mill Creek Corporate Center property, located near Aumsville Hwy. SE and Kuebler Rd. SE, shovel-ready and sell the property to create jobs and economic growth. Work began with a master plan for the site and resulted in 550 acres of developable industrial/employment lands and 100 acres of open space. The open space was identified to provide passive recreation, wetland mitigation, and a regional stormwater management solution to support the development.

This award recognizes the cooperative achievements between the City of Salem, the Department of Administrative Services, design consultants at Otak, Inc., and the contractor K & E Excavating.

Salem Fire Department ends lifejacket loaner program for the season - 10/11/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, October 11, 2021 Salem, Ore. -- With cold weather and colder water Salem Fire is ending the life jacket loaner program for the season at Wallace Marine Park. For those that are still enjoying the water please ensure you are wearing the appropriate safety equipment. Salem Fire reminds everyone that cold water can be extremely dangerous and to always watch children around the water. Salem Fire will resume our lifejacket program in the spring when it is safe to do so. 

Detours Expected for Front Street NE in Downtown Salem - 10/07/21

Salem, Ore. – Front Street NE will be closed October 11, 2021 through October 21, 2021 as Portland & Western Pacific Railroad and the City of Salem are scheduled to perform railroad line repairs. The closure will impact Front Street NE between Gaines Street NE and Norway Street. 

Detours will be established at Market Street NE and River Street NE. The closures will include any streets crossing through this zone. Local access to homes and businesses will be accommodated to limit any inconvenience during the construction project. Please watch for construction crews working and obey all speed limits, traffic signs, and signals in the area.

If you have more questions about this project or specific concerns with traffic control or safety, please contact the City of Salem’s Public Works Department at 503-588-6211.

New Public Art Image 2
New Public Art Image 2
Amanda Wojick Creates Salem's Newest Work of Public Art at the Main Library Large-scale sculpture commissioned through City's Half-a-Percent for Public Art Program (Photo) - 10/05/21

UPDATE:  Includes images of the new public art.

Salem’s newest work of public art is by Eugene, Oregon-based artist Amanda Wojick.  Call Number Cascade, a site-specific sculpture on the main floor of the newly renovated Salem Public Library is a whimsical composition of color and form inspired by a love of libraries, landscapes, and a story of seven hidden waterfalls not far from Salem. Wojick thinks of the work as a three-dimensional painting that incorporates perforated and folded cutouts of numbers, rectangles, and abstract shapes inspired by the waterfalls. 

The hand-painted steel sculpture is sited on a double-height concrete sheer wall on the library’s main floor.  This is one of four such walls installed as part of the seismic safety upgrades. Constructed from tilted, painted and welded steel panels arranged in layers to create a three-dimensional relief, the work features a variety of colorful shapes and images that invite interpretation and sustained viewing. 

“I’ve been waiting a long time to see it installed; dreaming about what it would look like from various vantage points in the library was very exciting to me,” said Wojick.  “I wanted the colors to feel very vibrant and connected to the different seasons. There are multiple layers that I think you may not notice all at once.” (YouTube – Amanda Wojick Art Installation).

The new artwork was funded through the City of Salem’s half-a-percent for public art program, using funds generated from seismic upgrades to the library.  Through this process, a Request for Qualifications was announced in December 2019 and shared with Oregon and regional arts organizations.  A selection committee that included members of the Salem Public Art Commission, the Salem Public Library Foundation, Library Advisory Board, Hacker Architects, and Library staff selected Wojick in March 2020 from a pool of thirty-three artists who responded to the call. 

Amanda Wojick’s work has been exhibited widely; she is the recipient of national fellowships and awards from the MacDowell ColonyMass MoCA, the Oregon Arts Commission, The Ford Family Foundation and Sculpture Space, among others. Her work is in public and private collections including the Portland Art Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum. Wojick received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University and holds two Master of Fine Art degrees from Alfred University and Bard College in New York. She is a professor of sculpture and the Ann Swindells Chair of the Department of Art at the University of Oregon where she has been teaching since 2001. 

An exhibition of works on paper by Amanda Wojick will be on view at the Salem Public Library through January 2022.  The exhibition will feature nine works on paper that give the public an opportunity to learn more about the artist’s creative process and the inspiration behind Salem’s newest artwork. The exhibition is sponsored by the Salem Public Art Commission with support from the Salem Public Library.

The City of Salem Burn Ban Ends Friday October 1st - 09/29/21

Salem, Ore. — Corrected: The City of Salem burn ban ends October 1st 2021. With improved weather conditions and in coordination with the Fire Defense Board Chief’s, the City of Salem will no longer have a burn ban within city limits. We ask that everyone continues to practice safety when burning anything within city limits.  

Salem Council Approves First Temporary Shelter for the Unhoused in West Salem - 09/28/21

Salem, Ore. – As part of its mission to create a safe and welcoming community for all residents of Salem, the Salem City Council voted to establish a temporary shelter site at 2700 Wallace Rd. NW. The new site, located on city-owned property in West Salem, will be managed in partnership with Church at the Park, a local non-profit that has an established track record for outreach to Salem’s unhoused population. 

For this managed camp, preference for pre-screened individuals of 55 years old or better will be living in a micro-shelter on a temporary basis while connecting to services and a more permanent housing option. With 24-hour security, the micro, pallet-based shelters provide safety for individuals living unsheltered in our community.  At the City Council meeting, several Councilors referenced their intent to have temporary shelter sites established in each area of the City. Many of the buildings and open land parcels in our community, which appear empty or abandoned, are under contract for lease, not suitable for housing, or unavailable for this use.

"With a shelter crisis like this, we have to look for both short-term and long-term solutions to help people stabilize," said City Manager Steve Powers. "We are hopeful that Salem’s efforts to establish a more permanent solution to our housing crisis such as the navigation center, expanded capacity at local shelters and affordable supportive housing developments will come online soon and limit the need for shelters such as this."

This approach to sheltering can help individuals get connected to services in a secure, supervised environment with consistent access to on-site amenities like toilets, storage, garbage removal, laundry, showers, and around-the-clock security. There are several host sites across Salem where individuals are living in micro-communities. 

Survey Finds Salem Residents Satisfied with Core Services, Concerned About Homelessness - 09/23/21

Salem, Ore. — Since 2016, the City has commissioned the Community Satisfaction Survey to better understand community priorities. Insights drawn from the survey and other outreach activities help City leaders plan for the future of Salem. Survey results are one input into the City Council’s annual workplan – the City Council Policy Agenda – which provides direction to the organization and informs the City’s budget. 

The year has been challenging on many levels for most in our community, the region and the nation.  The economic and social impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact Salem area residents, businesses, and those lacking shelter in our community.  In addition to ongoing tension around protests within our community, Salem residents experienced the President’s day weekend ice storm and resulting power outages, followed by extreme heat in late June.  “Feedback from the residents we serve is always helpful,” said Steve Powers, Salem City Manager.  “The City has been tested over the past year, and the survey results indicate where we have work to do.” 

Most satisfied with core City services. For most of 2021, many City services continued to be offered online.  Consistent with responses since 2016, seven of 10 residents are generally satisfied with core City services including fire and emergency services, police, parks, water, and stormwater services.  Residents also report finding it relatively easy to walk or bike in Salem, and to get a permit or pay a bill.  More residents (69%) say they are prepared for a natural disaster.  

Homelessness remains the most important issue for residents. More residents (58%) list homelessness issues as most important for Salem.  This is consistent with many communities where homelessness is a top concern, including many in the broader Portland metro region, the I-5 corridor to Eugene, and along the coast.

Optimism Continues to Decline. Optimism in the direction the City is heading continues to decline.  A majority (57%) of respondents say the decline can be attributed to a combination of City actions and circumstances beyond the City’s control.  In addition, more people are not satisfied with the value they receive for taxes and fees paid (56%).  Most (64%) feel their area receives its fair share of City services but find services are not distributed fairly across the City (47%).  While half believe Salem residents of all identities and backgrounds are treated fairly and with respect, fewer residents of color (43%) believe everyone is treated fairly and respectfully. Most residents (83%) believe it is the responsibility of all residents to ensure the community is welcoming to everyone.

Room for Improvement.  Residents find room for improvement with coordination of services for homeless residents (77%); maintenance of City streets, sidewalks, and bridges (49%); providing affordable housing (44%); City planning and development review (44%); enforcement of City codes for noise, yard upkeep, etc. (42%); and safety for people walking or biking in Salem (42%). 

The 2021 Community Satisfaction Survey was conducted from August 12 to August 16, 2021 via cell and land-line telephone calls, with an online option to both English and Spanish-speaking Salem residents. DHM Research took measures to ensure survey responses accurately represented all areas of the City and the diverse backgrounds of its residents. 

 

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Grants Available for Salem Events and Cultural and Historic Attractions - 09/22/21

Attendance at one of two pre-application meetings is required to apply.

Salem, Ore. — The City of Salem is accepting grant proposals from organizations that want to host historic, cultural, and tourism-related events in Salem. 

Grant awards of up to $7,500 are available for large events hosted by nonprofit 501(c) organizations listed with the Internal Revenue Service. Smaller events hosted by non-501(c) organization are eligible for up to $2,000 grants. All events must take place within Salem city limits, be open to the public, and occur between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. 

The grants are funded by the Transient Occupancy Tax, also known as a hotel tax. They provide marketing and promotion support for various historic and cultural facilities and events in Salem. 

Attendance at one of these pre-application meetings is a requirement to apply:

Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Via Zoom Meeting, organizations must submit email request for the link to cneider@cityofsalem.net or kskelly@cityofsalem.net.

Thursday, October 14, 2021, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Via Zoom Meeting, organizations must submit email request for the link to cneider@cityofsalem.net or kskelly@cityofsalem.net.

Applications will be available beginning October 14, 2021 both online at http://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/cultural-and-tourism-promotion-advisory-board.aspx and by contacting the City of Salem at (503) 540-2361. Applications will be due November 15, 2021.

For more information about Transient Occupancy Tax grants, please contact the City of Salem at (503)-540-2361Si necesita ayuda para comprender esta información, por favor llame (503) 588-6207 x 1 Irma Dowd.

 

Take Survey to Inform Salem Public Library Strategic Plan - 09/22/21

​Salem, Ore. --Salem Public Library has begun work on a five-year strategic plan, which will serve the library through the year 2026. The strategic plan will provide direction for the library and will inform how the library serves the changing needs of the community. 

To do this process well, the Library needs to hear your voices and perspectives. Please share your insights to inform how the library serves our community. The survey is available online in English, Spanish, and Russian:

This survey will be open through October 11, 2021. Please feel free to share the link within your network of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. 

Learn more about the strategic planning process.