- 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.
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.
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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.
- 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.