SHINE on Salem 150, celebrating the sesquicentennial of our city's 1860 charter, continues (and concludes) with the 2012 entry.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Salem in 1970

World events
  • "Highjacking" of airliners becomes a danger
  • Ohio four students are killed at Kent State during a protest against the war in Vietnam; two years of Peace Talks continue.
  • Earth Day is inaugurated; Environmental Protection Agency created; Clean Air Act passed in Congress


In Salem
The Salem Public Library is part of the new Civic Center being built on a hill south of Pringle Creek. Hugh Morrow was completing a thirty-three year career with this visionary project that will be completed before he retires in 1972. Mr. Morrow came to Salem in 1939 as director of the Salem Public Library. He had a great interest in history, was a member of the Oregon Historical Society and a founder of the Marion County Historical Society. He was the first president of the Oregon Library Association and secretary of the Downtown Rotary Club for 15 years. Mr. Morrow died July 20, 1990. He was an outstanding cultural leader and an honored member of the Salem community.

When you visit
Mr. Morrow is remembered at the library today by a collection of historical materials. These shelves contain not only books and pamphlets about Salem, many by local authors, but our City Directories including editions from the 1890s to the most current. For anyone doing genealogical or historic property research, these resources are invaluable.

Other Events

City Council Meeting photograph from Salem City Library collection
  • 1970 City Council meetings are conducted with a slightly different physical layout than in the Civic Center of two years later. Mayor Miller, City Administrator Moore, and the city attorney are seated on a raised platform at the front of the chamber with four councilors on each side (as would be continued). Directly in front of the mayor, also facing the public, sit the city recorder, Betty Marsh, and secretary to the administrator, Mary Brady. Historically, the City Recorder had an important position in Salem city government, keeping records of meetings, being ex-officio clerk of the common council and assessor. The recorder previously had jurisdiction over all violations of city ordinances and presided in the absence of the mayor. It was an elected office from 1857 to 1964 when it became a position appointed by the City Administrator. Voters approved an amended charter in May 1996 and in June 1996 an ordinance was passed that created the office of City Recorder with in the legal Department.
  • A new fire station on Lansing Avenue is completed in May. The Lansing area had been annexed into the city in 1920, but it had remained rural farmland until after the accelerated residential boom of the 1950s and 1960s that transformed farmlands surrounding the city into suburban neighborhoods. Because of the increased population between Market Street and Silverton Road, Lansing would, in 1973, become one of the first neighborhoods to become a recognized association.
  • In July, a photographer snaps a dramatic picture of the traffic congestion on the Center Street Bridge ramp as cars make their way into Salem. The problem of traffic crossing the Willamette River remains a concern. Emergency access has been partially relieved by the project to remodel the Union Street Railroad Bridge and Trestle for pedestrians and bicycles. It was approved by the City Council when the plans included a provision for emergency vehicle use. A "Third Bridge" has been in the planning stages for a number of years and will need considerable federal financing to be a future reality. In 1966, a Citizen's Advisory Traffic Commission was established that meets to address all concerns about traffic on our roadways and make recommendations to the City Council in the area of traffic movement and safety. The nine appointed members meet as needed, usually on a Thursday at 7 pm. Residents are encouraged to apply for volunteer service on this important Salem commission.
  • In November, a groundbreaking ceremony is held to begin the construction of the new Statesman Journal building at the corner of Chemeketa and Church Streets. (The building is for sale in 2014.)  A photograph features Jenny Mainwaring, Blanch Sprague and Wendell Webb. The construction of this building completed the transformation of the former residential area east of Church Street into commercial properties. During the previous thirty years, during the expansion of the state buildings north of the Capital and the relocation of the First Presbyterian Church, the substantial homes of many prominent citizens were either demolished or moved to other sites. Fortunately, the Court-Chemeketa Historic Residential District, between 13th and 18th streets, has preserved a flavor of an early Salem urban neighborhood and recorded the history of many pioneer families.
  • Miller's Department Store closes in the historic Reed Opera House. When the Odd Fellows Hall and Grand Opera House was built in 1900, the auditorium space in the Reed Opera House was converted to Joseph Myers and Sons store. New stores adjacent to the former opera house included E.P. McCormack's smaller building to the south and the new J. C. Penney store. Liberty Street soon surpassed Commercial Street as the hub of local shopping. In 1920 Miller's department store took over the Myers store and later the entire building, creating an enterprise supplying fashions and household products in a family shopping environment typical of the next 30 years. Salem seniors still remember their youthful fascination with the system of vacuum tubes that controlled cash payments in the years before credit cards and electronics. After the close of Miller's, a major rehabilitation of the retail space would not occur until 1976.
  • Christmas lights on a temporary tree decorated the old City Hall for the last time in 1970. In 1913, Salem had the first outdoor tree in the United States to be decorated with Christmas lights. The Marion County Courthouse tree was a Norway spruce tree planted by Judge J. J. Shaw in 1882. Over the years, this tree had been featured in many photographs of the old courthouse.

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