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

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Salem in 1981

World Events
  • President Reagan inaugurated, Hostages freed in Iran.
  • Columbia orbits earth and makes the first successful shuttle landing.
  • Sandra Day O'Conner appointed to US Supreme Court.
  • Deadly AIDS identified.
In Salem
After a much-publicized outbreak of violence on Front Street, police officer Leon Colas stands outside the Oregon Museum Tavern. A shooting inside the tavern the night before, May 8 had left four persons dead and 19 injured. Other photographs taken at the time show an injured person carried out on a cart, another in her hospital bed and the Marion County District Attorney, Chris Van Dyke answering questions from media reporters, cameramen and photographers.
The police arrested a resident of Lyons who was convicted and sent to prison.

If You Visit
The same site today is a trucking facility, advertising for a new tenant in 2014. Several taverns still exist on Front Street (one was recently demolished by fire), but the two-mile stretch from North River Road south to Trade Street has always accommodated a wide variety of enterprises. At the present time, residential streets fan off from Front Street at its northern beginning across from Fred Meyer. Several waterfront homes, either gated or out-of-sight beyond their private driveways, are located here. Driving south, small businesses, commercial service suppliers and state offices line the avenue until the Salvation Army facility at Academy Street. A turn to the right here will lead to the adjacent one-lane, appropriately named Water Street with a Local Landmark historic bungalow that was once owned by a member of the Gilbert family. In the next block is a large residential apartment complex, Willamette Landing, also facing the Willamette River.
At the Norway Street intersection, the railroad track joins the auto traffic. Larger trucking and storage warehouses are adjacent to Truitt Brothers Cannery which borders Mill Creek near the Market Street intersection. At Union Street, there is a jog to the right created by urban renewal projects of 1980-81 (see below). Here is the first traffic light for almost two miles. It is no wonder this a popular route for traffic between downtown Salem and Keizer. Continuing south, the widened Front Street passes our cultural attractions of A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village and Riverfront Park before its end at Trade and Commercial Streets.
Front Street is an important part of a City of Salem urban renewal overlay, designed for future development. A recent University of Oregon Sustainable Cities Initiative brought graduate student classes here to plan for 14 future local projects. Several properties on Front Street were featured for new enterprises and for residential, waterfront condos.

Other Events
  • In 1980-1, Front Street is widened from Trade to just beyond Union Street where a left lane, crossing Division Street, continues north on Front Street, widened for one more block. The diversion to the right continues to Commercial Street and so on to Liberty to continue north. This is the historic core of the city: you cross Mill Creek, then Boon Store is on your right. Across the intersection with Broadway is the original site of the Jason Lee house.
  • The highest temperature of Salem's history is recorded this year at 108 degrees.

These department stores are closed by 1981, the Salem Center mall will take their place.
  • Newberry's Department Store, fondly remembered for its lunch counter and "soda fountain" closes; Lipman-Wolfe also disappears from the City Directory this year. Miller's long run (1921-1972) as a major department store had already ended.
  • The years between 1979 and 1981 were hard for Chrysler Corporation and Roberson Motors, Inc. Several factors led to the near-bankruptcy of Chrysler Corporation: a deep recession, high unemployment, high interest rates, low housing starts, and the popularity of Japanese products.
  • Jerry Falwell comes to visit. Rev. Falwell (1933-2007) was a fundamentalist Baptist preacher and co-founder of the Moral Majority, a 1980s political organization with the agenda of advancing evangelical Christian-oriented political action. 

  • Frederick S. Lamport dies at the age of 90. Mr. Lamport was a Salem lawyer and banker; he practiced law with Charles McNary and served in the Legislature in 1951 and 1953. He left a million dollar trust for the Acute Care Center at Salem Memorial Hospital. The Lamport residence at 590 Lower Ben Lomond Drive SE in the SCAN neighborhood was successfully nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.This expanded English Cottage style residence with Tudor architectural details was designed by O. J. Fitch of Portland and included property developed for a tennis court and gardens. Frederick and Eleanor Rogers Lamport were leaders in Salem’s political, social and cultural life between the World Wars.
  • While looking for a joint venture of a business nature, Barney Rogers spotted a picture in the Statesman Journal of Gerry Frank taking a huge bite of chocolate cake while judging the Gerry Frank Chocolate Layer Cake Contest at the Oregon State Fair. From this picture and Gerry's well-known love of chocolate, came the idea to start an Austrian-style Konditorei, which in short stands for "a place for coffee, confection, and conversation". It has been in the same location at 310 Kearney Street SE since this year.

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