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

Monday, August 16, 2010

Salem in 2009

World events
  • Hamas rocket attacks on Southern Israel answered with air strikes in 22 days of war.
  • North Korea conducts a second successful nuclear test; war in Gaza.
  • US Jobless rate hits 10.2 % despite stimulus measures.
  • Congress wrestles with health-care reform.Sonia Sotomayer becomes first Hispanic justice on Supreme Court.
In Salem
After an intensive local campaign, 20 months and three competitive phases, the Salvation Army was awarded a portion of the Ray and Joan Kroc fortune to build and operate a Kroc Center in Salem. The Kroc grant provided nearly $35 million for construction and the same amount for an operating endowment, but the Salvation Army asked Salem residents to kick in $8 million, a royal sum in the city of about 154,500, without many deep pockets. They charged into fund raising. More than 1,700 donors pitched in, from kids who held penny drives, to foundations and individuals such as Gerry Frank who gave $1 million to help pay for the center's aquatics center. In all, residents raised more than $10 million. The center is faith-based and no tax dollars were used.

When you visit
The Kroc Center is within the circle of Bill Frey Drive and can be reached by car from Portland Road or Industrial Drive. There are bus lines that accommodate the site. The doors are open to visitors seven days a week and receptionists will supply information about recreational programs, classes and other services.
Salem sold the Salvation Army this 11-acre parcel in the Northgate neighborhood, which borders Keizer and is defined by industrial properties, a city natural park area, housing and vacant lots. Designers, craftsmen and construction workers built an angular, L-shaped structure, filled with materials and decorative themes that evokes Oregon: boulders from the Columbia River Gorge, sturdy wood beams, and massive glass walls that let in ample light even under slate-gray Northwest skies.

Other events
  • Linda Norris, the City Manager, conducts community meetings before the first Budget Committee meetings in April to explain the shortfall in the city budget and cuts that would have to be made. The Library is reduced from a Department to a division of Administration and the Director position eliminated. Other department responsibilities and personnel are shifted in order to cut the budget by $5 million.

  • In May, the transformation of the Union Street Railroad Bridge and Trestle is complete and opens to the public with an official ceremony and parade led by Mayor Taylor. Three interpretive panels had been produced by Ed Austin, local designer and author of books about regional railroads, and were places at either end of the bridge and trestle. The bridge was an immediate success and was filled with local families, bicyclists, individuals with their dog companions, and visitors to the city. The lofty walk over the Willamette River gives views at one of the widest parts of the river to the north and toward the city and Willamette Slough to the south. The Trestle continues over Wallace Marine Park and at the end, paths lead down into the park or straight on the Wallace Road in West Salem. (The pedestrian/biker path closed in November in order to encapsulate the lead paint, but opened again in May of 2010.) This City of Salem project has already gained recognition, winning an Engineering Excellence Award, the Oregon Heritage Award and the national Transportation Planning Award.
  • Sanyo Solar of Oregon LLC opens a $40 million plant in Salem. In the 80-acre Renewable Energy and Technology Park, Sanyo's 130,000-square-foot factory houses the first two steps of solar manufacturing: growing crystals and slicing them into wafers.
  • Oregon State Hospital continues to be the target of complaints about patient care while the demolition of the historical buildings continue on that site. Taking measures to save the original front aspect of the "J" building has been a local concern: the tower has been removed for repair. Creating a museum to honor the former patients and the staff is still being planned within the renovated building.
  • Broadway Town Square, a TELOS mixed-use project on the site of the former Eagles Building at the intersection of Market and Broadway is completed with a ribbon cutting as the Salem Cinema moves into the new 3-theater facility. Town homes, apartments and retail spaces are also available.
Historic and Modern buildings at Willamette University: Gatke and Ford
  • The modern, copper-clad Ford Hall rises next door to the historic Gatke building on the Willamette University campus.
  • Several other construction projects are put on hold during the economic crisis. Downtown they include demolition of the First National/Wells Fargo Bank on Liberty Street for a mixed-use project including the parking lot where the old City Hall stood and prospective building on the McMahon Furniture Store site. The Meridian and Rivers condominiums projects are completed.
  • In legal and criminal news: Sunwest Management Inc. and founder Jon Harder of Salem are sued by the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission; parents are arrested after three children report abuse since their arrival from the Ukraine in 2003; Marion County Sheriff Russ Isham resigns after accusations of personal misconduct.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Salem in 2008

World events
  • Barack Obama wins the US presidency with 53% of popular vote.
  • In the national economic collapse, the Federal Reserve props up banks, automakers & mortgage agencies.
  • China hosts Summer Olympics.
In Salem
Hollywood Station
Portland Road was once just that: the highway to the city north of Salem. With the construction of I-5 in the 1960s, that changed: without the commercial stimulus of heavy traffic, Portland Road's economy faltered. Beginning in 1972, urban renewal attempted to make the area more productive and more livable. One of the most recent and most attractive projects is the area formerly the Goodwill site. The triangular property, owned by the Salem Urban Renewal Agency, is bounded by Portland Road, Brooks Street, Pine Street and the new senior facility, Center 50+. It was sold to Hollywood Renewal LLC, comprised of Mountain West Investment Company. (No commitment of public resources, in the form of a loan or grant, was required of the agency to support this project.) By 2008, unfortunately the year of the great "Recession", the new residences of Hollywood Station (above) are completed and ready for occupancy. The project includes 24 town homes and a 2-story, 23,ooo square feet office/retail building. This is one more civic project in North Salem where the business community and the city staff work together to make living in Salem more attractive for both the long-time residents who have shared its history and the newcomers who will make it their new home.

When you visit
Perhaps you have also driven east on Pine Street, or along Portland Road, during the last few years, wondering what the new highway configurations, landscaping and construction would produce. We may expect that even more improvements are on the way for the old Hollywood business district. The senior center relocation, Center 50+ and the new businesses (we wish them well!), the KROC Center and this Hollywood Station have all brought welcome new enterprise to the area of North Gateway, truly the historic entrance to our city. The North Gateway Redevelopment Advisory Board is an avenue by which residents can provide input to present and future projects in this part of our city.

Other events
Oregon State Hospital after renovation of Kirkbridge Building
 
Artifacts from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" are part of the museum's exhibits.
  • As new structures rise in Salem this year, old ones are threatened. In January, the Oregon State Hospital had been issued a report from the US Department of Justice siting violations of patient safety, supervision and treatment failures. The hospital sponsored tours through the unused, historic buildings as plans for a $458 million renovation and reconstruction are being formulated. Local historic preservationists, lead by Hazel Patton, submit a successful, whole-campus nomination for National Register to protect the most valuable parts of the institution, particularly the "J" Building (above). The Historic Landmarks Commission hears evidence that many buildings most be demolished. Note: The OSH facade had been dramatically remodeled with only a repainted, front portion of this Kirkbride Building remaining. A new main entrance has been constructed (to the right of this photograph) and the original entrance leads into the OSH Museum of Mental Health. Mrs. Patton collected artifacts and documents for display at the October 2012 opening.
Justice Ginsburg cuts the ribbon opening the Oregon Civil Justice Center
  • The Carnegie Library on State Street, for 60 years our Salem Public Library, is rededicated as the Oregon Civil Justice Center of Willamette University. The ceremony includes a ribbon cutting by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court.
  • With the retirement of Bob Wells, Linda Norris becomes Interim City Manager: she is officially appointed City Manager in June. Sean O'Day became Interim Deputy City Manager in February and was officially appointed to that position in October.
  • John Ritter, a local historian and former professor, serves this year as a historian for the Oregon Corrections Enterprises. He produces an Exhibit Guide outlining the 150 years of inmate work programs as displayed in the interpretive museum at 3691 State Street. Exhibit artifacts and background photographs on the wall outline the various programs that have been active in this time span. As the brochure explains: the exhibit begins when the State Penitentiary had its start as the Territorial Prison in Oregon City as a small brick structure and moved to Portland in 1854 where inmates were used to grade streets, crush rock and log trees. In 1866 the Oregon State Prison was moved to Salem and remains here. Over 24 artifacts, actual products made at the Salem institution, are displayed in the exhibit, including the infamous Oregon Boot, a devise worn by inmates when outside to keep them from "wandering away". Other exhibits illustrate today's work programs. For times when the exhibit is open to visitors, call 503 378 2449 or 503 378 2677.
  • The new YWCA facility is opened in the Broadway Plaza, a TELOS construction on the northwest corner of the Market and Broadway streets intersection. (This YWCA facility closed in 2014)
  • Delta ends flights from McNary Field after less then a year of service. However, Salem is moving forward with plans to expand the terminal and lengthen the runway. Lottery dollars will help pay the $4.75 million improvements.
  • Barack Obama has a town hall meeting at the Armory during his campaign for president: Bill Clinton speaks at Chemeketa Community College less than a week later, and returned twice more, on behalf of his wife's campaign. Hillary Clinton answers the phone in her Reed Opera House campaign headquarters: Senator Obama visits the Iris Fair in Keizer.
  • The red-light camera system goes into effect at two of the city's most dangerous intersections: Mission at 25th street and Commercial at Marion Street. If a car passes over the sensor after the light has turned red, a video is taken to record the vehicle's license-plate number. That information is forwarded to the police.
  • Fire guts the governor's ceremonial office in the Capitol and damages the building. This brought back memories of the two previous fires that destroyed our Capitols in 1857 and 1935.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Salem in 2007

World events
  • Housing boom unravels with mortgage banking crisis; gas prices rise.
  • Virginia Tech shooter kills 33 persons on campus.
  • Last Harry Potter book is published; iPhone is introduced.
In Salem
Two Salem developers, Larry Tokarski and Dan Berrey, purchase the industrial site occupied for 46 years by Boise Cascade's paper-converting plant. Bisected by Pringle Creek, with Commercial Street to the east and the Willamette River to the west, adjacent to Riverfront Park, this is prime land for the redevelopment encouraged by the ULI representatives last year. The prospects for this $7.25 million investment depend on the outcome of environmental studies (considering the past contamination of the land and water) and rezoning the property for mixed-use development.
To the left in the wintertime photograph above, the 1926 Fry Warehouse looks like a fortress, rising behind Eco-Earth. The main body of the plant is in the center of the picture and above Pringle Creek, which emerges into the slough of the Willamette River at this sand bar location. The section of the plant to the right, in the distance behind the orange towers, is another structure on the site of the old mill building. Unseen is the railroad track running along the structures in this side.

When you visit
By 2014, there were substantial changes. The Fry Warehouse is gone, the first structure to be demolished, with Mayor Taylor punching out the first block of concrete with a wrecking crane. Also in 2009, the main structure fell until only the substantial building south of the creek remained. The northern section will have new buildings for retail business and offices, restaurants, condos and other purposes. The site south of the creek will be retained as a parking garage and apartment complex. Of great interest are two public-use features of the future: one is "day lighting" the creek by removing all but the railroad crossing so a pedestrian path can lead from the Civic Center Park, under the Commercial Street Bridge and to the slough; the other is a bridge from near the Eco-Earth to Minto Brown Island. Due to economic conditions, no new business or housing construction has been accomplished, but Pringle Creek, running between the cement walls of the old industrial plant, is now visible from west of the Commercial Street bridge to the Willamette River with only the railroad track suspended above. The much anticipated walkway from the southeast corner of Trade and Commercial to Riverfront Park, passing under the bridge, will be the next project. Bridge reconstruction was completed in 2013.

Other events
  • Bill Wingett, a resident of the Sunnyslope neighborhood, returns to the European battle sites in May of this year as a guide for a historical project. A veteran of World War II, he is a former member of the celebrated Band of Brothers, the 101th Airborne Division of the US Army, recently honored in a TV mini-series based on the book by Steven Ambrose.
  • Air service returns to McNary Field with Delta offering twice-daily flights between Salem and Salt Lake City.
  • Marion County lost its first deputy in the line of duty when Kelly James Fredinburg, 33, headed to Gervais to assist police, siren and lights running, is struck by a car that unexpectedly pulled into his lane on Highway 99E. He died at the scene of the crash as well as a passenger in the other car. The other driver survived, critically injured. More than 1000 people filled the Salem Armory for his memorial service.
  • The Vision 2020 Action Plan, originated by City staff and 3500 involved residents, aims to revitalize downtown into a vibrant community gathering place and a magnet for visitors. Committees organized this year will work to realize the concepts of the program and will make quarterly progress reports.
  • The land-use conflicts continued with Measure 49 that left owners confused about which set of rules apply to projects they filed under the 2004 property-compensation law, Measure 37. The new measure limits the number of houses built on prime farm and forest land, but projects underway may have "vested rights" to proceed.
  • Salem's oldest resident, Luella Patton Charlton, died on December 23, just a 7 weeks before her 110th birthday. Luella was born in 1898 in her family's Cooke-Patton mansion on Court Street (demolished in 1938 for the construction of the State Library). Her great-grandfather (who built the house) was an early Salem steamboat owner and merchant, her grandfather was a US consul in Japan and her father and uncle, Cooke and Hal Patton, were prominent in Salem political and business life. After her marriage in 1925, she and her husband built a home on 23rd Street where she lived the rest of her life. The couple had one son; Luella became a widow in 1959. She read widely, kept up with the news on TV, generously entertained friends, enjoyed humor in conversation and was a beloved neighbor. Luella was possessed of a sharp intellect and invested wisely in the stock market: she owned original issues of Coca-Cola stock and remarked with a smile that they had "split many times". Luella was a treasury of historical year-old facts about Salem families, businesses and state institutions (Gov. Chamberlain rented a room in her family's home in 1903 while serving in Salem). She is the last of the Pattons to be buried in the family mausoleum in Pioneer Cemetery.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Salem in 2006

World events
  • The US leads military forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • North Korea detonates a nuclear device.
  • US immigration reform is debated.
  • The conviction of Lobbyist Abramoff leads to resignations in Congress.
In Salem
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue into the third year as partisan struggles within each country and against the occupying military and aid workers have caused thousands of civilian and over 3,000 American deaths. Salem is the first community to memorialize local military losses with the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial begun in 2005. The fountain, seen above, is completed by Memorial Day this year and is dedicated with a ceremony attended by Governor Kulongoski, state and military representatives, veterans, Gold Star families and hundreds of local citizens.
This memorial project was the goal of M. J. and Clay Kesterson whose son, Chief Warrant Officer Eric Kesterson, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, died in Iraq. Planning and construction were made possible by the contributions of many business and veteran organizations, by private individuals, and by the state in providing the site location.

When you visit
The Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs is located at 700 Summer Street NE, north of Union Street. The lobby of the building houses an exhibit of Oregon military memorabilia that is well worth a visit. The park around the building has military memorials for the Spanish-American War, World War I, Korea, Vietnam, and recipients of the Oregon Medal of Honor. This site follows Mill Creek from Capitol to Summer Street and is a beautiful place for strolling or meditation in all seasons of the year.

Other events
  • The most sensational event, at least downtown, was the August four-alarm fire at McMahon's Furniture Store at the southwest corner of State and Commercial Streets. The fire, discovered in the basement during the early morning hours, caused the employees to vacate and the fire department to respond in full force by 8 a.m. Two hours of firefighting were successful in extinguishing the flames, but fire crews remained at the site for several days to check for hot spots. The building, with a value of $5.5 million, was completely destroyed. There were minor injuries to fireman, but none to civilians. The flames drew many on-lookers during the fire and for days afterward. The site is still (2010) empty.
  • On the same day, four pipe bombs are found in and around the city and some suspected a serial pipe bomber was at fault. First, a bomb was found attached to a car in the parking garage of Salem Hospital. Then one was located in the parking lot of a Roth's grocery store. Another was found attached to a car in a parking lot in Dallas, and another found alongside a Salem roadway. The Salem Police Bomb Squad detonated the bomb outside Roth's and rendered the rest of the devices safe. The culprit, who was trying to kill his ex-wife, was found and convicted.
  • On the invitation of the City of Salem, SEDCOR and Boise, the Urban Land Institute sent ten experts in the fields of redevelopment, finance and environment to Salem to discuss with city officials, business leaders and involved residents the prospects for a Boise Cascade property redevelopment. The weeklong interviews and studies of site potential resulted in a report that was submitted in November.
  • Jane Aiken is elected as Municipal Judge and assumes office in January 2007. Court sessions are open to the public and a current schedule is found here on the City of Salem website.
  • The Mill Creek Meadows facility for disabled adults is built at 218-256 25th St. NE. This federally sponsored program, administered by the Salem-Keizer Community Development Corporation, is the first home environment that has been available to Salem residents in need of special housing because of physical challenges.
  • The Salem Multicultural Institute moves its offices downtown and opens the World Beat Gallery at the Reed Opera House with an exhibit entitled Diversity in the Philippines. The gallery has since hosted other cultural exhibits, including Holidays Around the World, Black Voices from Salem’s Past, Scotland and Her People, Windows into China and a series about international marriage customs.
  • Salem is selected for a Kroc Center to be administered by the Salvation Army. The location will be a 10.6-acre parcel in North Salem near Industrial Drive. The actual construction awaits $8 million in matching funds.
  • 77 headstones are vandalized in historic Lee Mission Cemetery. No suspects are found, but many offers of support to repair the damage have been received, the largest from Willamette University. Fifty-three Methodist ministers are buried here. This cemetery is especially important to our city's history as many of the earliest missionary founders are buried here in the
    Photograph of Diamond Circle used by courtesy of Elisabeth Walton Potter
    Diamond Square including Jason Lee, his wives Anna Maria Pittman Lee and Lucy Thompson Lee,  daughter Lucy Anna Lee Grubbs, Lydia and Gustavus Hines, Alvan Waller and others. The land originally was part of the land grant of Josiah Parrish. Rev. Parrish, his first wife and several of his children are buried here. Since 1964, the cemetery has been held and maintained as an independent nonprofit corporation. Proceeds from the sale of burial plots in reserve tracts help support maintenance operations.
  • The Salem Film Festival began this year with 30 independent or foreign films showing at the Salem Cinema, Elsinore and grand theaters. Salem Cinema also was one of eight national theaters to present Oscar-qualifying documentaries.
  • Jackson's Books, a landmark for nearly 30 years, closes as competition with big retailers is too difficult. The owner said goodbye to employees and customers on the last day with music, appetizers and soft drinks.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Salem in 2005

World Events
  • Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans.
  • London's underground transportation bombed.
  • Pope Paul dies, succeeded by Benedict XVI
A Liberty Street view of our Historic Downtown
In Salem

In 2001 our downtown, with many heritage buildings in need of repair, was successfully nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. This honor focused attention on improving the commercial health of the city core: it encouraged owners and developers to work with the city to use available funding for renovations. In 2005, restoration continued on Liberty Street, assisted by the city's "Toolbox" Grant and Loan Program using tax-increment funding from the Riverfront Downtown Urban Renewal Area. (Renewal areas are able to bond by utilizing property tax dollars resulting from increases in assessed value within the urban renewal district.) These grants and loans rehabilitate older buildings in the district such as the Adolph Block on State Street (Wild Pear, tenant), the Reed Opera House (with multiple tenants on several floors) and neighboring buildings to the south on Liberty Street. These include the former Montgomery Ward Building and the Bishop Building. The Metropolitan Store (pictured above) had been vacant for many years, but now offers commercial space on the first floor with new apartments on upper floors. This program is administered by the city's Urban Renewal Agency. This year, a new citizen group is created to advise on these investments in our historic commercial district, the Downtown Advisory Board.

When you visit
For a preview of the Downtown Historic District, a slide show is offered on SHINE. The city has also published a booklet, based on this tour, which is available through the Community Development Department of the city (depending on supply). For casual walkers, many of the historic buildings have markers, identifying the original owners and past uses. The downtown district comprises a compact seven-block area with construction dates from 1878 to 1950 with the earliest along Commercial Street. In the early 1900s, local business and professional activity moved east to High Street to meet county and state offices. At Ferry Street, south of the business establishments, there were railroad tracks and industrial plants. Since the 1970s, our Civic Center and urban parks have replaced these. To the north, the mid-20th century Salem Center development at Center Street limits the historic district. Front Street, to the west, was also industrial until the 1998 creation of Riverfront Park, A. C. Gilbert's Discovery Village and the Union Street Bridge and Trestle. Our redeveloping downtown is truly the heart of the city for the residents and a growing potential for heritage tourism.

Other events
  • The Salem Conference Center opens in February. The $32 million facility attracted events immediately and promises to add vitality to our city, particularly to downtown. It features 14 rooms, totaling almost 30,000 square feet that can be configured for any combination of convention, theater, banquet, trade show or classroom. Attached to the conference center is the Phoenix Grand Hotel (now Grand Hotel) that has 193 rooms, a restaurant and a dignified lobby that will add to the city's appeal for travelers.
  • The Marion County Courthouse, on our historic High Street, is damaged by a Keizer resident who crashes his pick-up truck through the glass entrance doors and sets fires inside the building. Wounded by police officers, he is apprehended and will stand trial for numerous charges. The courthouse is closed for several months while repairs are made. (Inside the County Clerk's office, there are several photographs of the damage and reconstruction.)
  • A man who has placed a rope around his neck stands on the outside of the Marion Street Bridge railing, threatening to jump. For 15 hours, traffic was disrupted, bringing downtown traffic to a standstill. Police are finally able to grab and pull him to safety. Questions about how to remedy traffic problems and protect public safety are subjects of heated community discussion after this incident.
  • Sprague High School became the first Salem-Keizer team to win state championships in both football and baseball in the same year.

Meier and Frank retained its familiar logo for 50 years
  • The downtown Meier and Frank department store, a feature since 1954, will lose its name in 2006. For many years owned by the May Company, it will soon carry the Macy's logo. Hundreds of past and present employees as well as city leaders gathered to celebrate the store's golden anniversary at the Elsinore Theatre. (In 2010, a plaque outside the store entrance outlined the history of the building.)
  • Bill Frey Drive is completed off Portland Road as part of the urban renewal projects in the Northgate neighborhood. It will improve traffic flow and offer access to new development, including the possible future Kroc Center.
  • Two new features are added to Riverfront Park. In April the new boat dock and overlook are completed; in October the Rotary Pavilion opens. This "front lawn" of our city continues to attract residents and visitors for casual strolling, Willamette Queen river tours and dining, children's Carousel entertainment and community cultural activities such as the annual Salem Multicultural Institute World Beat Festival.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Salem in 2004

World Events
  • President George H. W. Bush is reelected; Barack Obama wins an Illinois Senate seat.
  • Tsunami ravages the Indonesian coastline causing over 200,000 deaths.
  • "Friendly fire" is discovered to have killed former professional football player, Pat Tillman, in Afghanistan.
  • Facebook launches.
In Salem
Anyone approaching A. C. Gilbert's Discovery Village or Riverfront Park from Water Street has to turn in at Union Street. As one makes the turn, this is the scene in 2004. The railroad bridge had not been used for many years and the city has an opportunity to buy it for $1. The three-year option is about to close and no action had been taken.
The bridge, originally designed for passenger service across the Willamette River, opened in 1913 to connect two north-south lines: one line ran through our Salem railway station on 12th Street, the other through a station in Gerlinger, just beyond West Salem. However, by the time the long-planned bridge and trestle were finished, the automobile was beginning to be an alternative to the train for travelers. The bridge was increasingly used for freight until the 1950s when trucking supplanted commercial rail transport. Even the track leading to the bridge, along 12th Street on the east, and 2nd Street in West Salem, became disconnected as city streets were improved.
This is the situation when the vote to buy the bridge is taken at city council this year. Only seven members are present that evening to hear Mayor Taylor make a passionate plea to save this potential asset. There is opposition because of the cost and doubt of its value. The vote is 4-3 in favor.

When you visit


The bridge and trestle renovation took five years with the result seen here. Cost was borne by federal and state grants, city urban renewal funds and private donations. It opened in 2009 and was instantly popular with residents for the beauty of the walk across the river and as a handy, and safe, bicycle path for recreation and transport between home and work. The final piece of the project was encapsulating the lead paint: federal stimulus funds to Oregon Department of Transportation were used for this purpose, causing the bridge to close for seven months, much to the disappointment of Salem users, until it reopened in May of 2010. The Union Street Bridge and Trestle has won state and national awards for its engineering, utility and value as a community asset. It is an excellent example of local cultural preservation providing a wholesome, family amenity for residents while promoting valuable heritage tourism.

Other events
  • In January, Bob Wells was named Interim City Manager. He was officially appointed Manager as in September. In December, Linda Norris was hired as Assistant City Manager.
Ferry Street view of the Grand Hotel with Convention Center in background
  • The Conference Center and adjoining Phoenix Grand Hotel ( Grand Hotel) opens this year providing another important asset to our city and the downtown area. The Conference Center stands on the site of the venerable Marion Hotel, a hundred-year old establishment that burned in 1971. The lobbies of the two buildings are connected by a corridor lined with historic photographs of the former hotel. On the glass-walled landing of the steps leading to the second floor of the Conference Center, an interpretive panel describes the historic buildings of the Ferry and Commercial Street intersection visible outside.
  • A proposal to create a local Library District, elect a Board of Directors, and become independent from the on-going crisis of the city's general fund, gains enough support through petition to be placed on the ballot. Volunteers feel confident after addressing local service clubs and canvassing neighborhoods for support, however the proposal is soundly defeated in the November election.
  • Salem has four charter schools this year: the alternative high school downtown, popular with 300 students applying for the 30 to 40 spaces open; the Jane Goodall Environmental Magnet School, within Waldo Middle School; the West Salem Language Academy; the Optimum Learning Environment; and the Howard Street Charter School.
  • In October, flu shots were in short-supply and elderly or ill residents lined up at the Marion County Department of Health on Center Street, waiting for hours at one of the two clinics.
  • Salem is competing for a multi-million dollar Salvation Army community center funded by the estate of the late Joan Kroc. The Salem proposal, judged best of the nine Oregon submissions, requests $70 million, half each for the construction and later maintenance. It may include swimming pools, library, gymnasium, classrooms, theater and other amenities.
  • Another project moving forward is Keizer Station. The developer is obtaining permits for construction of Target and Lowe's, the two major tenants.
  • Train deaths continue with four in the same number of weeks at the Union Pacific track near downtown. None were judged to be suicides, with unawareness or a rush to beat the approaching train as likely causes.
  • Sixteen soldiers with Salem ties die in the Iraq war this year. More than 1,700 National Guard are serving there with other units deployed at Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan. Other military personnel are scheduled to depart for overseas duty in 2005.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Salem in 2003

World events
  • US leads invasion of Iraq, but no predicted Weapons of Mass Destruction are found.
  • NATO begins peacekeeping role in Afghanistan.
  • "Mad cow" (BSE) disease affects cattle in Washington State.
  • "Chicago" wins Academy Award.
In Salem
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were the events on everyone's mind this year, however it would be two years in the future when a graphic remembrance of that conflict began construction in Salem: the Afghan-Iraqi Memorial at the Oregon Veterans Affairs Park on Summer Street. Ironically, this year it was a symbol of peace that attracted attention in our most public arena ~ the colorful Eco-Earth globe in Riverfront Park.
Used by courtesy Salem Public Library
This sphere was originally a large pressurized tank (see above), floated up river to Salem in 1960 and used by Boise Cascade to hold acids that were used to "cook" wood chips into pulp.

 A 5-year process transformed this "acid ball" into a beautiful piece of art that includes 86,000 tiles depicting the entire globe, created by local artists and students, reflecting the diversity on land and water. On the opening day, after the playing of "What a Wonderful World" and a crane lifting off the giant cover, many children quickly moved forward to admire the colorful globe.

When you visit
The Eco-Earth stands at the south end of Riverfront Park near the entrance of Pringle Creek in the Willamette Slough. A pedestrian walkway in the park circles the structure. At the edge of the walkway, an interpretive panel gives more information about the fabrication of this artwork. The white border that circles the base of the globe identifies the mosaics.
The orange tower in the background of this 2006 photograph is one of two Boise Cascade structures that were on the opposite side of the creek when the park was created. By 2011 they had both been demolished as the renovation project continued on the Boise Cascade property that is projected as a mixed use complex with housing and retail establishments. In the distance, you see a bench and railing: that is approximately the location for the footing for the future Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge ~ the date of construction still uncertain in 2012.

Other events
  • Leading up to the invasion of Iraq, the Statesman Journal reports "On February 24, the Salem City Council voted against joining more than 100 local governments in signing a resolution opposing a possible war in Iraq. The vote climaxed weeks of local anguish about a war and emotional protests." Two local men who died in the war this year were Sgt. Donald R. Walters and Army Chief Warrant Officer Erik C. Kester. Large numbers of Oregon National Guard were deployed, worrying families and inconveniencing employers.
  • Janet Taylor took office as mayor in January with three new councilors: Jim Randall, Bruce Rogers and Dan Clem. The new councilors formed a majority that reversed some of the plans of the previous council, saying they viewed growth and the business community in a more favorable light. Budget shortfalls caused the Council to approve an $83 million general fund cut limiting library hours, park maintenance and other services. Many citizens attended the Budget Meetings to express their concerns.
  • The Keizer City Council approved a zoning plan for a 225-acre commercial and industrial development to be named Keizer Station. The location is near Volcanoes Stadium, off I-5 at Chemawa Road.

Extension of Capitol Mall ~ Union Street to D Street
  • The North Mall Office Building is completed. The Oregon Parks Department, including the Oregon State Historical Preservation Office (Blue square), moves in. The State Archives Building (green square) was completed in 1991. New this year is Heritage Park  (black circle) at the north end of mall, creating the transition between the large state office buildings (in progress of construction since 1937) and the Grant neighborhood residential area north of D Street. Seven historic former residences have either been refurbished or moved into this area, between Summer and Winter Streets on the south side of D Street. Five of these CAN-DO neighborhood houses are Local Landmarks: McGilchrist, Adolphson, Huntington, Irwin and Stiff . Mill Creek runs through the property, making a quiet park at the rear of these small office buildings.
Heritage Park
  • A contentious zoning debate was settled when voters rejected the annexation of the Hazel Hill property in South Salem at Kuebler Boulevard and I-5. The opponents warned that the proposed housing and commercial development would overload area streets with traffic.
  • Salem Hospital opened an updated Emergency room, doubled in size through a $4.2 million expansion and remodeling project. Salem Hospital had the state's busiest ER.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Salem in 2002

World events
  • Richard Reid, the "Shoe Bomber", pleads guilty.
  • Homeland Security Act is established.
  • Sour Biscuit fires rage in Oregon and California.
  • Winter Olympics are held in Salt Lake City.
  • Murder charges against Ward Weaver of Oregon City dominate national newspapers.

In Salem
In this year, due to the declining use of industrial property and the age of residences in the Edgewater and Wallace Road areas, the West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board is established as an eleven-member group advising the city's West Salem Urban Renewal Agency. The duties of the Board include considerations of conservation, rehabilitation, and redevelopment matters within the West Salem Urban Growth Renewal Area. The formerly prosperous canning industry, which brought business and residential growth to the Edgewater and Wallace Road areas, had declined to the extent that the neighborhood needed assistance in promoting new business, recovering property values and increasing public services.
Notice was already being taken of the historical value of some residential properties. The Historic Landmarks Commission had designated nine properties as West Salem Local Landmarks. The new Board could now work with the city agencies and departments to recognize both the residential needs and the potential for business improvement of the whole urban renewal area.

When you visit
Among the attractive residential areas of West Salem, Kingwood in the Edgewater area stands out. This house at 270 Kingwood Drive was featured on the cover of the Edgewater Walking Tour brochure of 2009. The neighborhood spans over a century of construction dates, beginning in 1900. The first plats were dated in the late 1800s and Kingwood Park in 1909. Homes were built by different builders or by homeowners themselves, giving the neighborhood a diversity of style and size not always reflected in newer residential areas. There are several large homes, but small cottages are really the heart of Edgewater, many built in the 1930s as jobs were created in the local canneries or the paper mill across the Willamette River.
A subject for discussion by the West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board (2010) is the possibility of a future West Salem branch of the Polk County Museum. (See 2000 in this series.) To learn more about current activities of the Board, contact a city staff member at 503-588-6178.

Other events
  • Janet Taylor is elected as mayor to take office in January of 2003. Mike Swaim gave up a run for a fourth term as mayor in a bid for Oregon's House of Representatives. He lost to Billy Dalto.
  • The Statesman Journal reports the top story of the year is the opening of the West Salem High School in September, "a $49 million dream come true for residents on the other side of the Willamette River and Salem-Keizer's first new high school in 23 years. It immediately became home to more than 1,300 students and a center of activity for the area Friday night football games." At the same time, the state's ongoing budget crisis affected local schools as bus routes are longer and classroom programs cut or scaled back.
  • As Superintendent of Public Instruction, Susan Costello is the first Hispanic woman to be elected to statewide office. She served until the 2012 reorganization of Oregon's public education.
  • The City Council approves a downtown Conference Center facing Commercial Street on the former Marion Hotel site. The project will constructed in cooperation with VIPS, owner of Phoenix Inns. A hotel will be adjacent on the Liberty Street side of the block south of Ferry Street. Our newspaper reports, "Supporters see the conference center as the engine to pull downtown out of an economic rut."
  • Property crime increases due to Salem being a hub for narcotics activity and budget problems causing jail capacity to dwindle as property thieves are released to make room for violent offenders.
  • Section 62 of the City Charter adds Ethical Standards. The goal of the measure is to ensure public confidence in the impartiality of elected or appointed city officials. Each is required to disclose any past or present business or family relationships, any direct and indirect campaign contributions or gifts that might influence any decision.
  • A Community Police Review Board is established to review unresolved complaints against members of the Salem Police Department.
  • Former governor Bob Straub dies. The Statesman Journal reports, "He has been praised been for his many public contributions during 20 years in office, including the governorship 1975-79: protecting Oregon beaches and the Willamette River, defending land-use planning. He was also remembered for many personal acts during the three decades he and Pat lived in a farmhouse in West Salem: helping others less fortunate, donating land for a city park..."
  • The Olympic torch passes through 8 miles of Salem, between lines of school children and state workers. A crowd of 2,500 converged on the State Capitol to celebrate the lighting of the cauldron.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Salem in 2001

World Events
  • George HW Bush is inaugurated as president in January, promises tax cuts as his priority.
  • Almost 3,000 are killed in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Towers (which collapse), the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania when terrorists take control of US airliners in suicide missions.
  • Anthrax spores are sent through US mail: 22 persons exposed, 5 die.
  • The US invades Afghanistan.
In Salem


Memorials were erected to worldwide victims of the 9/11 attacks and to a local resident.

After the 9/11 disasters, vigils at Riverfront Park give residents of Salem an opportunity to express public sympathy for the loss of life in the terrorist attacks on our citizens. A memorial is mounted in Riverfront Park. Two months later, a memorial observation platform was erected at Basket Slough for Rich Guadagdo who died in Pennsylvania during that attack.

When you visit
 The Riverfront memorial to worldwide victims is mounted at the south end of the park overlooking the Willamette Slough and Pringle Creek.
Follow this map link to the Rich Guadagno Observation Platform, or or follow these directions to drive to the Basket Slough National Wildlife Refuge, located 10 miles west of Salem in Polk County. From Marion Street Bridge, drive west on Route 22 for 9.7 miles and turn right on 99W. Drive north 1.9 miles to Coville Road and turn left. After 1.5 miles, you arrive at the Trail head parking lot and information kiosk. Begin the moderate uphill trail and turn left at the junction. The memorial is .4 miles from the parking lot. (Note: walk softly: on our last visit to the memorial, a deer crossed the path and stood to gaze at us.)

Other events
  • At Riverside Park in June, a joyous occasion is celebrated as the Carousel opens. Hazel Patton, a local community activist in historical preservation, inspired the project. The mission of the carousel is to enhance the quality of life in the Willamette Valley by invigorating community cohesiveness, fostering cultural and educational opportunities, creating a living history, and increasing tourism. The project brought together artists and experts in many creative occupations and is enjoyed by residents and visitors of all ages. A visit to Riverfront Park should include a stop at the Carousel, even without children. No one can resist the appeal to listening to the familiar music (if you are old enough to remember the experience from your own childhood) and watching the joy of the children passing as they ride the horses around in a lively circle. As you leave, notice the mementos inscribed in tiles along the walkway. In this fashion, local families have contributed to the lasting heritage of this historical entertainment. Hours of operation vary, but generally it is opens every day, 11-5 with a fee for children, but no cost to accompanying parent.
  • Bob DeLong is appointed City Manager.
  • The City Council also experiences changes, giving Mayor Mike Swaim his "first friendly majority since his election in 1996". The Statesman recorded the council's opposition to "unfettered growth", years-old rules concerning land use for builders, as they raised minimum wages for city workers and employees of contractors and began work on "corporate disclosure that would require contractors to submit information on environmental, labor and consumer relations records." Mayor Swaim announced he would not seek re-election next year.
  • In a local poll taken at the end of 2001, readers of the Statesman Journal report the outstanding local story of the year was the economic crisis when low rainfall and federal decisions caused Detroit Lake to be drained to meet fish needs and water quality downstream. Because of the hardship caused to recreational business and families sustained by them, the Save Our Lake committee is formed and the area put under a federal recreation lake program to bring money for improvement projects.
  • The attraction of the Carousel and the opening of the Oregon Garden in Silverton tie for second place in the newspaper poll. In the following year, the garden attraction added another feature with the relocating of the Gordon House to the property: bringing to our area of Oregon a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • A traffic accident south of Salem causes the death of Albany police officer Jason Hoeroef and Oregon State Police senior trooper Maria Mignano. A young driver, Jacob Todoriko, fell asleep at the wheel of his pickup, which left the highway and struck three officers who were helping a disabled motorist. State Police Sgt. John Burright is critically injured. Todoriko's sentence includes public addresses to inform other motorists of the dangers of driving while drowsy.
  • As meth addiction in Oregon and Marion County deepened, Congress allocates $580,000 to help combat the production and trafficking of the addictive stimulant.
  • Local school news includes the $5,700, 000 sale of historic Bush School, the last downtown elementary school, to Salem Hospital for demolition. Parents are relieved that a replacement Bush School on 14th Street (near Mill Street) will alleviate traffic concerns on Mission Street, but concerned because that the new construction will demolish 16 homes in the SESNA neighborhood.
  • Other school construction, funded by a $177 million school bond of 1998, creates four new schools in the Salem-Keizer School District. The bond also funds renovations at other schools, including a new wing at North Salem High School and a student commons at South Salem High School.
  • The Statesman describes the Salem downtown as being threatened with "decaying buildings, climbing vacancy rates, fizzled improvements, and economic doldrums". Suburban malls and conflicts between teens and merchants are also mentioned. One business that closed this year is the more than 80-year-old Anderson's Sporting Goods on Liberty Street. However, an encouraging event is the new National Register listing of the Salem Downtown Historic District.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Salem in 2000

World Events
  • Terrorists bomb USS Cole in Yemen.
  • The summer Olympics are held in Sidney, Australia.
  • George W. Bush defeats Al Gore in the closest presidential election in history
In Salem


 Historic Salem and Eola were two Oregon towns separated not only by a river, but also by county lines. In Polk County, Eola was absorbed by West Salem and, in 1947, the residents voted to be incorporated into the city of Salem in Marion County. However, there are many towns in Polk County that have distinct characters of their own, and it is this historical preservation that concerned residents who organized the Polk County Historical Society in 1959. In 1995, that society merged with a community group interested in establishing a county museum. Fortunately, a large private donation was offered for the project and this inspired smaller matching contributions. A mortgage for the last one-third of the cost was paid off in 2005, five years after the construction. The all-volunteer staff is proud that the only government support has come from Polk County cooperation in use of a portion of fairgrounds property, as seen in the photograph above.
The 14,000 square-foot, 2-story museum has dozens of different exhibit areas including Native American artifacts, industry from farming to timber, an automobile and stagecoach, an old-fashioned doctor/dentist office and period room furnishings. Its charm is in introducing visitors to a "home town" atmosphere that makes historic preservation a pleasure to experience.
Of special interest on the second floor galley is an inter-active time line teaching young students about important events in history. For researchers, the archive has approximately 6,000 photographs. The library contains 50,000 files on Polk County.

When you visit




Since the museum opened in 2000, Hwy 22, west from Salem, has had major renovations. The museum is now an easy 11 miles west of the Marion Street Bridge on that highway, turning south on 99E to Rickreall.

The museum also maintains the historic Brunk House. Harrison Brunk and his wife Emily Waller lived in Missouri before making the overland trip to Oregon. They freed their slaves and packed their possessions into two prairie schooners with four oxen to pull each wagon for the seven-month journey west. Following the Barlow Road, they arrived in Polk County where they took a Donation Land Claim northwest of Rickreall. The couple lived in a log cabin until their home was completed (by a neighbor) at a cost of $844 in 1861. More information about Polk County history is found in Pioneer History to about 1900 Churches of Christ and Christian Churches in the Pacific Northwest. This National Register property is on Hwy 22 near the junction with Hwy 51, Eola. Hours are Tuesday, 9-noon. No admission, donations only.

Other Events
  • Salem's population is 128,595.
  • Larry Wacker retired as City Manager and Bob Wells is appointed in an interim position.
  • Section 61 of city charter: annexations must be approved by a vote of the people. (Ballot Measure 24-34)
State of Oregon team keeping government computers working in 2000
  • As the capital city of Oregon, Salem was in the midst of the predicted Y2K crisis for state government computers. Much of the alarm was hype, but some of it was real, and state agencies did a good job to fix things before it could occur. Dedicated State of Oregon employees kept the state government computers from crashing as the calendar turned over into the new century.
  • A dedication ceremony for Courthouse Square was held on September 29. Dignitaries present included former U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield who acquired the federal funding for the transit portion of the project. Bus operations at the former on-street transfer facility on High Street ceased at the end of the day on Saturday, September 30 and began at the new R. G. Andersen-Wyckoff Transit Mall on Monday, October 2. The first phase move of county employees from the Customer Service, Operations Supervisors, and Security Offices at 183 High Street to the first floor of Courthouse Square coincided with the beginning of bus operations there. The second phase move of administrative employees from 3140 Del Webb Avenue to the new fifth floor offices at Courthouse Square was made the week prior to the opening of business there on Monday, November 6.
  • Fairview Training Center closed this year. Established by the state in 1908 as the Oregon State Institute for the Feeble Minded, it opened on December 1st of that year with the transfer of 39 adults and children from the Insane Asylum, until that time the only state institution that could provide them with any professional care. Harry E. Bickers of Pendleton was appointed Superintendent of that first home and had supervised the construction of the first five buildings—dormitory, administration building, laundry, a brick powerhouse, and a barn. A reporter described the main buildings as resembling "…a magnificent southern mansion." Here were located the superintendent’s office, reception rooms, attending physician’s office (Dr. W. Carlton Smith was the first to serve in that capacity), and schoolrooms. Separate dormitories for male and female students were maintained, and later the children were grouped in families of 20 to 25 according to levels of intelligence. When it closed in 2000, the few remaining residents were transferred to group homes or returned to live with their families.
  • A reprise of Salem Hospital's "Century of Service", written by John McMillan, is published online on the Public Library's Salemhistory website.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Salem in 1999

World events
  • Senate clears President Clinton in impeachment trial.
  • NATO forces bomb sovereign nation for first time in Kosovo war.
  • At Colorado's Columbine High School, 2 students murder 13.
  • John Kennedy, Jr., his wife and her sister, die in plane crash.
  • The New Clarissa goes aground near Coos Bay creating environmental damage to the shoreline.
  • The Euro is introduced as a common currency in Europe.
In Salem

In the fall of this year, more than a dozen local historians gather around a large table in the Salem Public Library to discuss what each could contribute to the Salem History Project, and the creation of a website, Salemhistory, devoted to local history. The objective of collecting information was to take an encyclopedia approach to providing access to Salem's history of culture, events, institutions and people.
The Library's Assistant Director, Bob Miller, had obtained a grant from the Oregon State Library for establishing this online network. Monica Mersinger became the director of the enterprise and served for five years until the grant opportunity ended. At that time, the website information was frozen in place on the Internet with the homepage established as you see it above. It remains the primary source for online information about Salem's historical events and personalities before 2000. In the Credits notation of SHINE (see column to the right) Salemhistory is given as a primary resource. Those who enjoy reading "SHINE on Salem 150" can thank the Oregon State Library, the staff of the Salem Public Library and the local historians who volunteered for the Salem History Project of 1999.

When you visit
There is a small room in Salem Public Library, adjacent to the Audio Visual area, that looks out on the Peace Plaza. When that section of the library was redesigned several years ago, this was Monica's new office. Unfortunately, when the grant ended, there was no effort by the city or the library to continue the project and the room was put to other uses. Writing for the project is no longer possible. We should be thankful that the Salem History Project did exist for five years and that many loyal volunteers submitted articles that are of such value to us today. Another such project, undertaken by the Salem business and heritage community, would be of great value to residents and researchers of the present and future years.

Other events
  • The estimated population of Salem is 128,595.
  • The Housing and Urban Development Advisory Committee is established. It serves in an advisory capacity on issues relating to allocation of Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds and on other matters related to HUD that may be requested by the City Council. The Committee will make policy recommendations to the Council on five-year strategic plans, on annual plans for specific project budgets, and on project modifications to the plans.
  • Frank Richard Gruber is elected as Municipal Judge and will serve until his retirement in 2006.
  • John and Pam Scott donate the former Chelsea Restaurant to the Family Building Blocks project that had formerly been housed in the First Methodist Church. The primary mission of this community effort is to keep Salem children safe and families together by empowering families to break the generational cycle of abuse. Sue Miller, who founded the organization in 1997, served as executive director until she resigned in June of 2012. She hopes to spend more time with her grandchildren and focus on her volunteer work serving on the board of the Oregon Community Foundation. The nonprofit relief nursery and child abuse prevention agency is a strong organization with healthy community support and a talented staff and board, Miller said.  In 2011, Family Building Blocks served more than 858 children through its therapeutic classes, outreach services, dependency treatment court and supervised visitation programs. Its services are focused on at-risk children 6 weeks to 5 years old.
Harritt House on Wallace Road in West Salem
  • The Harritt House on Wallace Road in West Salem is successfully nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. This oldest house in West Salem has been extensively remodeled. Originally an 1858 log cabin, it was built by Jessie and Julia Harritt. Jessie so profited by his California gold mining, that he was able to build his wife this Colonial style house reminiscent of the plantation homes in her native Kentucky. The original kitchen was added to the house for a recent business, Julia’s Tea Parlor.
  • Mary Eyre dies at age of 101. A former Social Studies teacher at North Salem High School and political activist, she was a member of many Salem civic organizations. She served as president of the Marion County Historical Society as well as president of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. She held a leadership position in the drive to preserve historic Deepwood Estate and was an active member of Knight Memorial United Church of Christ. She was a member of many professional and political organizations, running unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for the State Senate in 1962. "[I] wanted to try out some the things I had been teaching over the years," she commented. The 1893 Eyre family home in the historic SESNA neighborhood had been sold in 1996 when she moved to a retirement home. The 1926 home of her brother, David Eyre, was moved from Summer Street when the Capitol Mall was being constructed and is now on the northeast corner of Mission and High Streets.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Salem in 1998

World events
  • President Clinton impeached by House, trial to be in Senate.
  • US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya.
  • Nicholas II and family reburied in St. Petersburg 80 years after their assassinations.
  • Kip Kinkel murders his parents and students bringing media attention to Springfield, OR.
In Salem
 After many years of effort by community supporters, Riverfront Park was established this year. The aerial views above, published by the Salem Urban Development Department, shows the "before and after" contrast.
For a resident or visitor who did not experience the downtown in previous years, it is hard to imagine the pollution of the air and water before the plants along the river closed.
The park became the front lawn of our city, creating pedestrian contact between the downtown business enterprises and the beautiful river. In 1998, the park is bordered on the south (to the left in illustrations) by the Boise Cascade industrial complex, covering Pringle Creek. On the north (at the right), a parking lot led to Water Street which passed under two vehicle bridge ramps to reach several historic structures at Marion Street owned by the city: this year these will become A. C. Gilbert Discovery Village. One block further is the unused Union Street railroad bridge. The park, as handsome as it was, was a pocket of greenery in an area ready for urban revitalization.

When you visit

In the years that have followed, several projects have made the park more attractive for resident recreation and local heritage appreciation. In 2001, a Carousel was constructed and in 2003, the Eco Ball was completed. In 2005, a new boat dock was constructed. The local Rotary Clubs financed a Pavilion at the north end of the park in 2006. A statue of Governor McCall was placed along the entrance to the dock in 2008. A splash fountain for children was completed in 2009.
In 2012, adjacent to the park on the south, the Boise Cascade plant is being demolished for future mixed-use development. The orange towers seen in the background of the photograph have disappeared as Pringle Creek is "daylighted" to offer a trail from Civic Center Park (near the fire station and east of Commercial Street) to the river and connecting to Riverfront Park. A bridge from this park to Minto Brown Island is also planned for the future. To the north, A. C. Gilbert Discovery Village occupies historic residences owned by the city and provides educational play activities for families. At Union Street the former railroad bridge is now an award-winning pedestrian walkway to Wallace Park in West Salem.

Other events
  • The Hallie Ford Museum of Art opens as a feature of Willamette University. Prior to the creation of the Hallie Ford Museum, Willamette University previously collected various pieces of art donated to the university, housing them first in a museum located in Waller Hall, then on the second floor of the gymnasium (now the Theatre Playhouse). At that time the museum's collection included birds, various documents, minerals, wood specimens, shells, plant specimens, and Native American artifacts, among others. In 1990, the school received a donation of around 250 pieces of European and Asian art from the Sponenburgh family. In 1994 Roger Hull made a presentation to the school’s trustees to push for the creation of an art museum. Over the next two years plans were developed and donations were made that led to the purchase of the 1965 Pacific Northwest Bell building designed by local architect James Payne. One large donation came from Hallie Ford and the Ford Family Foundation that allowed the purchase and remodel to move forward. The museum officially opened with over 3,000 pieces of art, and was the second largest art museum in the state at that time. The museum offers interactive educational tours for a wide range of audiences from preschool age to adult, designed to arouse curiosity, inspire creativity and develop critical thinking. This outstanding cultural resource is open everyday except Monday and is free on Tuesdays. Its location at 700 State Street is near both the State Capitol and Willamette University. It is only a short walk from either downtown or the Willamette Heritage Center.
  • A. C. Gilbert Discovery Village, opening this year, is an interactive children's museum named in honor of this Salem native and inventor of the Erector set educational toy. In fact, the Village is home to the world's largest Erector Set tower at 52 feet. The museum is housed in several historic buildings, including the Andrew T. Gilbert House, the Rockenfield/Bean House, the Parrish House, and a 1998 replica of the Wilson-Durbin House, destroyed by fire in 1990. Each of these structures housed influential, early Salem families. Plaques near the entrances give information about their histories.
  • The former Little Gem Grocery Store on Chemeketa Street, threatened with destruction due to the owner's remodeling of his residence, is moved to a neighbor's back yard. It will become another feature of Water Street and A. C. Gilbert's Discovery Village.
  • Marion County Historical Society publishes Marion County History, Vol XV, compiled and edited by Sybil Westenhouse, Adale Egan and David Weiss. In these 198 pages are found photographs and stories about local native people, business, entertainment, transportation and politics. This is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Salem's heritage. Copies can be found in the Salem Public Library and may be bought at Willamette Heritage Center.
  • Jackie Winters is elected to the Oregon State Legislature as the state's first African-American Republican. She was re-elected to this office in 2000. In 2002, 2006 and again in 2010, she was elected as State Senator for District 10. Jackie has lived in Salem for over 40 years. She was married in 1971 to Marc "Ted" Winters who passed away in 2008. She has served on numerous boards and commissions, winning awards and recognitions including being listed on the International Women's Who's Who.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Salem in 1997

World Events
  • Pathfinder sends Mars photographs back to earth.
  • Princess Diana dies in Paris auto crash.
  • "Dolly", a cloned sheep, is born in Scotland.
  • "Titanic" is the most popular movie of the year.
World Beat Festival 1997
In Salem

The Salem Multicultural Institute is founded in February of 1997. Two moms with young daughters saw the need to create a positive, tangible response to growing concern about racial tensions in Salem. This grass-roots effort grew out of meetings in living rooms and coffee shops into a meaningful celebration and year-round community volunteerism, taking the form of a festival, celebrating all of the many cultures that make Oregon such a wonderful place. Their first event, World Beat, was held in Riverfront Park in the next summer. The photograph above is from the 1998 Statesman Journal files with the caption, " Middle Eastern dancer Naia of Eugene whirls across Riverfront Park's outdoor stage in the World Beat Festival and the official dedication of the park."
Held annually at this "front yard" of Salem, the summertime festival has grown from the amphitheater park site, shown above, to encompass the whole 23-acre park with more 250 exhibitors and performing arts groups, 400 volunteers and 70 sponsors involved with the festival annually. The average annual attendance has reached approximately 30,000 guests.
The Institute continues to follow its original vision: to create an environment of openness for all people. SMI aims to be family-friendly, economically inclusive, and culturally authentic. Although a voluntary donation is welcome at all entrance gates, the Institute does not have an entrance fee for its World Beat Festival or for its exhibits at the Reed Opera House World Beat Gallery or lecture series. SMI also hosts an annual Multicultural Ball each October in the Reed Opera House Ballroom.


When you visit
World Beat Gallery in Reed Opera House 2014
 In 2006, the Salem Multicultural Institute moved their office downtown and opened the World Beat Gallery at the Reed Opera House with an exhibit entitled Diversity in the Philippines. The gallery has since hosted other cultural exhibits, including Holidays Around the World, Black Voices from Salem’s Past, Scotland and Her People, Windows into China and three series about international marriage customs. The Performance and Lecture series, which began in 2007, encourages local ethnic communities to showcase cherished traditions in the intimate, historic setting of the Reed. A small staff coordinates the work of volunteers, curates the exhibits and organizes the year-round events

Other events
  • Raul Ramirez is the first Hispanic to be elected as Marion County Sheriff. A star athlete and student leader, eighteen-year-old Raul Ramirez was ordered to report to his Woodburn High School principal’s office. There he found the local Police Chief waiting to talk to him. "I didn’t do it," thought Ramirez, sure he was about to be blamed for something. As he explains it, "Back then, law enforcement was not a friend of the Hispanic community. "
    Until then, Ramirez's goal was to be a physical education teacher and work with youth. But his meeting with the Police Chief that day changed his life -- and his future career.
    Police Chief Bob Prinslow wanted Ramirez to help police build relations with teen-agers. "I needed him," Prinslow later said. "There was a lot of juvenile crime at the time and I wanted a leader to help me. Raul was a natural." Ramirez became the department’s first police cadet and was later hired as a part-time dispatcher. Prinslow was the Marion County Under Sheriff when Ramirez was hired as a deputy. The two have remained friends and Prinslow watched proudly as Ramirez replaced him as Marion County Sheriff.
  • The Oregon Garden in Silverton is begun with a groundbreaking ceremony in June. It will open to the public in April 1999.
  • The transit district, following ADA guidelines, converts buses for the use of disabled patrons.
  • The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, a minor league baseball team, is organized. They are a Short-Season Class A team in the Northwest League, and are an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. They play their home games at Volcano Stadium that seats 4,252 fans.
  • A group of prisoners in the State Penitentiary dig a tunnel 24 feet long before their escape route is discovered.
  • In January of 1996, Keiko, the killer whale star of Free Willy and Free Willy II, was moved from Mexico City via cargo plane into his new home at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Over the next 32 months, Keiko is rehabilitated at the aquarium, where more than 2.5 million people pay him a visit. In the fall of 1998, Keiko was moved to a pen in the waters of the North Atlantic off Iceland, rehabilitated for living on his own. He died December 12, 2003, after the sudden onset of pneumonia in the Taknes fjord.
  • In 1997 several "Salem Public Library History" exhibits were mounted in the Heritage Room. In March, Tired Old Barns was the exhibit with over 40 Marion Court Historical Society photographs taken by Al Jones. Other collections on display included "Oregon Covered Bridges" and Salem Public Library History.