SHINE on Salem 150, celebrated the sesquicentennial of our city's 1860 charter. It originally concluded after 150 entries, but now continues through 2017.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Salem in 2017

World Events
  • President Trumps first year is overshadowed by Special Council Mueller's investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 election.
  • Women's March in response to Trump election drew the largest world-wide protest in recent history.
  • Hurricanes created extensive damage in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
  • In Las Vegas fifty-eight people are killed and 546 injured during the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in US history.
  • #MeToo signals women's campaign to reveal sexual harassment and abuse against them. Several men in prominent business and political positions lose their reputation and careers.
  • US announces the intention to leave the Paris Climate Agreement and UNESCO.
  • President Trump announces the US will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, causing condemnation in the UN.
 
Ron Cooper photograph, City of Salem
In Salem

At long last, the eagerly awaited bridge connecting Riverfront Park to Minto Island is completed. The public was allowed, temporarily, to cross in the spring, but it was closed and opened again in August for an official ceremony. The crowd was enthusiastic, despite the soaring midday temperature of over 100 degrees. The joyous occasion began with a parade from Wallace Marine Park, over the Union Street Bridge, and into Riverfront Park ~ dignitaries, musical units, pet dogs, and plain ordinary folks joined in the joyous celebration. Speeches were delivered from under a shade canopy while listeners in the sunshine enjoyed refreshments (supplied by Roth's) although the chocolate in the cookies melted before they could be consumed. Representatives from many city departments attended and all were in a holiday mood. A great time was enjoyed by all!
The bridge has been deemed a success, with many daily pedestrians enjoying the opportunity to access Minto Island from Riverfront Park.
Mayor Chuck Bennett said, "The Peter Courtney Bridge is the realization of a decades-old community plan to connect Minto Island to the rest of Salem. The bridge is an iconic and valuable addition to Oregon's Capitol City."
First envisioned in 1975, the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge and Trail is the last critical link in connecting 1,300 acres of City parks and nearly 30 miles of trails between South Salem, Downtown and West Salem. When combined, the acreage is larger than New York's Central Park.

When You Visit
The bridge can be accessed from either Minto Brown Park or Riverfront Park. Parking is available from Front Street either at the turnout to the left at State Street or take the Union Street turnoff to the left. The bridge is visible and close by. In Minto Brown Park, use any parking lot and follow the signs. Be aware that the walk in Minto Brown is a mile or more, depending  on which lot you choose. It is a delightful walk, which ever path you choose.
Because Minto Island is a Conservation Area containing sensitive habitat and wildlife, the City reminds walkers to stay on the trail and keep their pets on leashes.

Other Events 
  •  A citizen appeal to LUBA, testifying against a recent Urban Growth Boundary extention, was upheld. The mayor recommended to the City Council that other solutions to traffic problems be pursued instead of a "3rd Bridge" between Pine Street and West Salem.
  • The solar eclipse is enjoyed by Salem residents as well as many visitors for the day.
  • Lancaster Mall is partly closed while that shopping enterprise is redeveloped as Willamette Town Center.
  • Two bond measures pass: one will finance a new police facility at a lower price ($61.8 million) and the other to retrofit the city library against human injury and property damage in case of an anticipated earthquake.
  • Homelessness is growing problem, especially downtown. The Union Gospel Mission will relocate from downtown to a location to north, across Liberty Street from the future police facility.
  • A new councilor is elected to replace the one who recently resigned: Chris Hoy is the 5th candidate successfully sponsored by Salem Progressives.
  • Le Breton Hall, the last remaining structure of the former Oregon State Fairview Institution was razed for the creation of a city park. This 1908 structure was designed by Walter Pugh, distinguished architect of many, now demolished, local historic buildings.
  • Another historic structure, the former Wells Fargo building, designed by Pietro Belluschi (who also designed our Marion County Courthouse) was demolished. At the corner of Liberty and Chemeketa streets, it contributed to the Downtown National Register Historic District, but had remained vacant for many years. Eight Frederic Littman marble relief sculptures were removed and will be used to decorate the new building that will be erected in that location.
  • George Jennings is named Citizen of the Year by the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Salem On Ice, a 7,200 square feet seasonal rink opened in Riverfront Park November 17. The temporary facility will be open through January 21, 2018. The city agreed to a four year contract with the sponsors, so we can expect to see the structure reconstructed again for at least three more years.

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