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

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.