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.