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

Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Courthouse Exhibit Features Salem's Neighbors

Marion County 20

 Community Hall of the Marion County Courthouse

        In April, a colorful Oregon heritage exhibit was mounted in the Marion County Courthouse Community Hall.  Each of the twenty framed collections of photographs and memorabilia offered what that Marion County city considered significant to tell its story. The exhibits were constructed by local committees or by an individual volunteer. Above each poster is a wood carving representing the shape of Marion County with the locality of the city clearly distinguished. At the opening ceremony, the County Commissioners greeted guests from around the county, especially thanking the creators of these handsome displays.  Each city had a representative there to speak about what that city had selected to put in their colorful poster.
         Commissioner Sam Brentano, who was the inspiration for the exhibit, often encouraged me to "get out of town" and become acquainted with other Marion County cities.  These photographic essays convinced me that he was right. My son Tom was my partner in the project we named "Marion County 20". On our day-trip adventures, he discovered many scenic back roads and took photographs in each city while I asked questions and constructed a new series of Statesman Journal articles that began on January 6, 2013. Each one reviews the community history, offer a brief profile of the city today and includes our discoveries there as visitors.

         View the collection of Marion County Courthouse exhibits.

        By the way, what do you know about these cities?

        Which Marion County city

                 Was founded by a woman?

                 Was named for a soft drink popular in Idaho?

                  Still uses a 1892 tabernacle for religious conventions?

                  Is named for a Bavarian town?

                  Moved to a new location

                   Is a misspelling of a founder's name?

                   Was named for a son-in-law of a founder?   

                   Was named for a railroad engineer?

                   Was established after a Supreme Court decision resolved land ownership?

                    Has its post office in another county?

                    Became almost deserted during the Civil War?

                    Was named, despite objection, for a woman?

                    Had a popular mineral springs resort?

                    Has a museum in a former church? 

                    Was founded as a religious colony?

                    Celebrates being the "Mint Capital" of Oregon?

                    Was the boyhood home of a US president

                     Provided clean water for pioneer Salem?

                     Is named for a voter at Champoeg in 1843?

                     Has the grave site of Oregon's only authenticated Revolutionary War veteran?

  
     

Salem in 2011

World Events
  • Osama Bin Laden dies in a raid by Navy Seals on his Pakistani hideout.
  • Japan suffered a 9.0 earthquake that caused a devastating tsunami and nuclear emergency.
  • Use of social media triggered an "Arab Spring" of popular revolution in against dictators Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Syria.
  • Global fiscal crisis hits European union, political stand-offs in US Congress and "Occupy" movements protesting Wall Street practices across America.
  • Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, meeting with constituents, survives a gunman who kills 6 others, wounds 13.
  • US combat troops leave Iraq after 8 years, but Security Contractors will remain in Baghdad.
In Salem

A 2011 Welcome Information on State Street in our historic downtown.

Our downtown streets are blooming with attractive information signage thanks to a Preserve America grant, a federal initiative that encourages community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural heritage. Four Preserve America Presidential Awards are given annually to organizations, businesses, and government entities for exemplary accomplishments in sustainable use and preservation of cultural or natural heritage assets.
A Downtown Historic Marker Program to promote preservation and increase citizen awareness of the assets in the downtown historic district; a unique historical downtown logo which appears on the thirty-three historic markers installed on historic buildings in our downtown district; designing a downtown walking tour booklet printed in both English and Spanish (the first Spanish language historically focused walking tour in the state), along with creation of a new website, the "Salem Heritage Portal", that allows residents and tourists to explore downtown Salem online.
Since there were additional funds available, the City of Salem was also able to complete the following projects: (1) Replace a historic marker memorializing Salem's old city hall; (2) Replace two historic markers on the recently renovated Union Street Pedestrian Bridge; (3) Install an interpretive panel in the Salem Convention Center describing the significance of the key intersection of Commercial and Ferry Streets; (4) Translation and printing of our downtown walking tour into Spanish; and the installation of way-finding signs. These signs are of two designs (created by Rick Yurk of BAM): eight Welcome Information Centers (similar to the one pictured above) and 46 colorful directional posts as seen below. (By 2014 these way-finding signs are found in every part of the city.)

We are indebted to the staffs of the Community Development Department, the Urban Development Department, and the Urban Renewal Agency Board as well as the many other professional and volunteer members of the Task Force who made this concept a beautiful and useful reality.

Our special thanks to Debra Meaghers and Courtney Knox for their help in compiling this entry. Additional photographs of Preserve America projects by Todd Klocke.

When You Visit

The eight Welcome Information Centers are found in the following intersections: Front and Court Streets, Ferry and Liberty Streets, Liberty and Court Streets, Chemeketa and Liberty Streets, Marion and High Streets, State and High Streets, Trade and Church Streets and at Church and Center Streets. Each has a map on one side and information about that location's historic significance on the other.
The 46 Way-Finding Directional Posts are located in a wider area, bounded on the north by the newly revitalized Broadway District at Market Street, to the south to Bush Park,
from the east by the Willamette Heritage Center on 12th Street, and on west to Riverfront Park on Front Street.

Other Local Events
At the top of the hill, the Straub residence still stands.
  • The Salem-Keizer School Board names the new West Salem middle school for former Gov. Bob Straub and the adjoining elementary school (both on former Straub family property) for the Kalapuya tribes. This is the first school named in honor of a native culture. His family home on the property was preserved.
The John Carson home on High Street as it appeared in the 1940s
  • On February 11th, Wallace P. Carson, Jr., the third generation of his family in Salem, is honored as the 61st Citizen of the Year. Judge Carson was Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court for 14 years. The family home at the intersection of Bush and High Street was demolished for construction of the Christian Scientist Church.
  • Truitt Brothers announces that the long-established cannery will lay off about 100 employees in their front Street packing plant this year.
  • In April, the City Council approved a deal with SeaPort airlines to provide commuter air service to Portland, Seattle and Newport. (The service was ended after only 2 months.)
  • Yoshikai Elementary School librarian Kristen Truman is named Oregon School Librarian of the Year. (Along with other local school librarians, she lost her position in September.)
  • The City Council voted to pay the owner of the Willamette Queen sternwheeler $250,000 up give up use of the Willamette Slough. This August agreement will enable the city to construct a footbridge over the slough connecting Riverfront Park to Minto Brown Park.
  • In October the Occupy Salem movement, part of the national protest that claims our political process favors the wealthy over the average American, camps in Willson Park for two nights until forced to leave.
  • The names of four contenders to make Courthouse Square repairs are made public by Marion County commissioners.
  • The renovation of the Boise Cascade property has proceeded to a point where Pringle Creek, flowing into the Willamette River, is almost completely "daylighted". Plans for a trail from the Civic Center, under the Commercial Street bridge to Riverfront Park are being formulated.
  • Rich Harcourt, President of Oregon Artists Series Foundation, leads in creating "Sculpture Now", a program of Oregon Artist's Series 5th Annual Exhibit. Opening in the Salem Conference Center Plaza in September, it features five city-owned sculptures, plus seven others by artists throughout the Northwest.
  • The City Council accepts the recommendation of the Historic Landmarks Commission to designate the Stirniman house on Myers Street South as a Local Landmark.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Salem in 2010

 World Events
  • Natural disasters: Earthquake in Haiti, floods in Pakistan, Chilean miners rescued after 69 days trapped in tunnel collapse, December snow storms disrupt holiday air travel.
  • Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes causing massive environmental and economic losses in Gulf of Mexico and adjoining southern states.
  • Health Care reform passes in Congress.
  • November Congressional elections give Republicans majority in House of representatives, Lame Duck session boosts President Obama's agenda with compromise tax-cut extensions, repeal of DADT in military, arms control treaty with Russia, medical care for 9/11 rescue workers and a food safety bill.
  • Technology: iPad introduced, popular Facebook inspires a movie, Twitter and YouTube redefine social communication and influence US elections.
In Salem
Courthouse Square, occupying an entire block of downtown Salem for the last ten years, has been the subject of both pride and debate: it provided a convenient hub for Sale-Keizer bus users and an office building for Marion County (across High Street from the courthouse itself). But leaking windows and uneven floors inside, along with paving irregularities in bus lanes caused increasing concern. In July, employees heard an internal explosion that engineers determined was probably the rupture of a steel cable within a concrete slab. Further investigations led to the entire area being evaluated as too dangerous for occupancy and so was evacuated. The $34 million facility is empty, enclosed by a chain-link fence. The construction responsibility and future for the property was debated until a solution was negotiated in 2012: the structure will be repaired with the bus parking and garage first on the list.  A nearby, temporary transit hub is being used and county offices have been relocated.

When You Visit

Residents acquainted with the history of downtown remember this as the site of the Senator Hotel, conveniently located across High Street from the former city hall. The photograph above is taken here. A closer view shows the early excavations in the bus lanes.
At the time of the closure, a walk following the fence around the property might begin south of this location on High Street where the you see the five-story office building behind the clock. Cross the street to see public art work has been placed in front of this Marion County Business Services Building. Turning onto Court Street, you pass the Chinese restaurant that was forced to close. Next you see the doors of the Marion County/Transit District office entrance. Looking back to the west, you see the historic Grand Theater. Turning north at Church Street you will see the office building on the left and pass the central structure that continues through the parking bays from the clock tower on High Street. As you completed the walk on Chemeketa Street, signs were posted to prohibit crossing the fence.
The loss of the property for public and county use had a negative effect on more than the one business that was on the site itself. However, the reclamation of Courthouse Square was completed in 2014 and the complex is again in use for bus transportation and county offices.

Other Local Events
  • Anna Peterson was chosen as next mayor after a congenial and dignified campaign was conducted by her and rival candidate Chuck Bennett. Bennett will remain on City Council.
  • National television zoomed in on our Oregon School for the Deaf as "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" rebuilt a boys' dormitory and the boosted school revenue with a new facility for their Haunted House site for Halloween events
  • Yes, Trader Joe is coming to Salem ~ a building formerly occupied by Albertson Grocery on South Commercial is being refitted for a summer 2011 opening.
  • Local supporters of the Oregon Ducks celebrated a winning season and a possible college football championship.
  • Marion County Courthouse was the scene of two trials for murder after a failed bombing of a Woodburn bank caused the death of two police officers. The jury voted death as penalties for Bruce and Joshua Turnidge.
Although the majority of Boise Cascade buildings are gone, no new construction has begun in 2009.
Master Plan for Pringle Square
  • The economic downturn effects downtown housing: many new condos remain vacant. Plans for development of Boise property also stalls. Access to the riverfront section of this new Pringle Square development is handicapped by the railroad tracks that run though the property.
  • After tenure of 12 years, Willamette University President M. Lee Pelton accepts an offer at Boston's Emerson College. A native of Kansas, he held leadership roles at Colgate University and Dartmouth College before becoming the first African-American president of an independent college when he became Willamette president in 1998.
  • Salem Art Association charges admission for the July Art Fair at Bush's Pasture Park, a city-owned property, citing increased expenses in producing the well-recognized event that is a prominent part of the cultural life of the city. It is also considered an economic boon to Salem as a tourist attraction.
  • Former Governor Kitzhaber is re-elected. He previously served two terms from 1995 to 2003. First elected to the Oregon House of Representatives, Kitzhaber served in the Oregon State Senate for twelve years, eight of them as Senate President. In 1994, Kitzhaber ran for Governor, winning comfortably. He was re-elected in 1998 by a wide margin. After completing his second term, Kitzhaber returned to medicine and campaigned for better public access to health care. This year he defeated the Republican nominee, former NBA player Chris Dudley.
  • Mexico extradites Salem fugitive accused in the 2009 murder of 21-year old Montez Bailey in Northgate Park.
  • The year ends with a 9 p.m. celebration and lighted "ball drop" for hundreds of visitors to the A. C. Gilbert Discovery Village.