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.

1 comment:

Christine and Rob Elder said...

You mentioned the Steusloff family in your Nov 7, 2010 column. The baptismal fount at First Presbyterian Church in Salem was given in memory of "Joanna Steusloff" in the early 1900s, around 1909 as I recall. I was pastor there from 1987 to 2007. Around 1990 there were complaints about the shabby state of the baptismal fount, which had several layers of peeling paint, and an unreadable memorial medallion. A little elbow grease revealed Joanna Steusloff's name on the medallion. The font was rehabilitated into beautiful condition and continues in use there today.

(The Rev.) Rob Elder, Salem