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March 19, 2016

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As chair of the Salem Skywalk committee in 1982 and author of that Plan that was adopted by the City of Salem I still believe it is a project that could still be implemented. When we built the first skybridge between JCPenney and Nordstrom Mall, it was exciting that 5 a.m. in the morning in October 1983 when the bridge was raised in place. But the Plan was not just for skybridges: it was a for a connected and defined 2nd. Floor system or Skywalk or route through downtown Salem, through Malls, Department Stores, Food Courts, even Bank lobbies. You can experience something like it at Chemeketa Community College, where as design architect, I linked all the buildings by skybridge and defined a second floor route through the campus. The downtown Skywalk plan is illustrated in the Salem Tomorrow report in 1984 (see below). Spokane has completed their Spokane Skywalk, and it is a tourist attractions. Their brochure says "come explore the Spokane Skywalk", and it includes a color map and it features all the businesses along the route. There is still time to implement a Skywalk (Spokane's links 16 blocks) in Salem, but it will take enlightened City leaders and staff who are visionaries and who see the economic advantages and the enhancement of our quality of life to achieve a revitalized downtown. https://www.scribd.com/doc/304676234/Salem-Tomorrow-Report-1984

Here's the counter-argument:

https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2007/11/urban-designers-minneapolis-should-dump-skyways

http://streets.mn/2012/01/06/is-it-time-to-remove-those-pesky-skyways/

"When two of the world's top urban designers drop in for a visit and come away with the impression that your city — in this case Minneapolis — is a relic of the 1970s, ill-equipped to thrive and compete in a new century, and that its only hope is to tear down its skyways, well, that gets your attention. "

I'm less insulted by the sky bridges than I am by the disgrace that is created by the windowless walls of JCP, Nord, RiteAide, Macy's, Salem Center. The northern blocks of downtown have all the street appeal of a prison, albeit one with marginally better food and fewer stabbings.

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