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June 09, 2008

Comments

How expensive is Northwest Crossing for housing? I also love how Black Butte is set up but have you seen the prices to live there? If Northwest Crossing is for the average home buyer in Bend-- not a low income market for sure-- then it's more commendable. We certainly need more that think creatively for quality living without paying a fortune.

There have been a few such interesting housing projects in Tucson, sustainable, community oriented, unique and attractive that were laudable but eventually didn't make enough money and ended up being turned into ordinary housing developments probably to the disappointment of early purchasers.

I had high hopes for the fairview project as well, and I'm hoping some of the downtown projects give the downtown some sorely needed energy.

We seem to be headed in the right direction, just not there yet.

How about the Bend Bulletin as compared to our Salem rag? The Bulletin usually has four or five sections with actual local as well as national news stories and about half the junk advertising inserts but stil appears to be making enough money to stay in business. Can it be because it's an independnet rather than part of the Gannett empire

How about the Bend Bulletin as compared to our Salem rag? The Bulletin usually has four or five sections with actual local as well as national news stories and about half the junk advertising inserts but stil appears to be making enough money to stay in business. Can it be because it's an independnet rather than part of the Gannett empire?

Mike, excellent observation. We always buy the Bulletin when we're in Camp Sherman. Last visit, the Bulletin had a lengthy second page story about dark energy and what it means for our understanding of the universe.

Good luck even seeing a mention of this in the Statesman Journal. Like you said, it's part of the Gannett chain -- which is noted for its sleazy business practices and inattention to local needs (focus is on the bottom line of Gannett and S-J advertisers).

I have been in Salem for a little over two months now. I am not impressed so far. I moved from Cincinnati, which is about twice the size of Portland. So the size of the city is one of the factors.

My wife works for Salem Hospital. The hospital moved us out here. There are more things than I care to list that are wrong with this town. But the number one thing I would list is:

Salem's leaders' big economic plan is high end condominiums?! The idea is to attract buyers from Portland and Eugene to live here since it's cheaper. Great! No, it's not. Oregon doesn't have sales tax, so besides property tax the city doesn't gain anything, but folks who will buy their groceries locally and get their art and furniture from contemporary galleries in PDX or Eugene.

The Salem Commerce Department says the largest private employer in town is Salem Hospital at 2800 employees. Out of 150,000 people that's not a good number. If you look at their statistics they cannot account for 28% of the adult working population (i.e., those folks are out of work).

So how do you solve the problem?

A. Build a train line from Eugene to Salem to PDX (it's a straight shot if you build it along I-5). The project will employ a lot of skilled laborers. Did you know that there are 600,000 jobs coming open in the next ten years in PDX due to Baby Boomers retiring?

B. The city planners need to fight hard for manufacturing to come to Salem. There are so many empty shopping centers that could be reclaimed for manufacturing it's not even funny.

C. The city needs to give good incentives to small business owners to open up shop in Salem. In Covington Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, they gave $20k business loans (20 years zero interest) to folks who bought buildings to set up their businesses.

As I have been looking to open my own art gallery in Salem, I have found realtors want to lock you into a five year contract. They want to overcharge you for the spaces. In Cincinnati our rent was under $500 per month for 1000 sq ft and we were on a yearly lease. So far I'm finding the opposite. Business does not seem to be encouraged if you want to stay out of hock.

I love Black Butte Ranch having stayed at a friends home there. Very tranquil atmosphere. It is a bit of a double-edged sword tho in terms of sprawl as these types of communities are not compatible with long-term growth and minimizing the impact on wildness in the area. I live at the Touchmark at Mt Bachelor village retirement community myself. Another amazing development with stunning architecture. They have homes as well but I choose to live in the lodge style apartments - higher density being more nature friendly. As a side benefit I get to enjoy more of a sense of community and the hotel like services available as well. Nice post!

It is helpful to see such concrete analysis of Salem and how it might improve by taking a few clues from around Oregon. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts and photos online. Salem is at a good point for implementing a widescale improvement plan. The comment by Brian from Cincinatti is particularly interesting and I really like the idea of a train from Eugene to Portland.

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