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

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.

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