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November 20, 2013


If the vision is for a small town stuck in the 70's--MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!! Nothing reflects 1970's small town suburban values more than Salem's soul-crushing network of decrepit strip malls, parking lagoons and traffic sewers.

Its the Chamber's desire to market those small town values in their quest to turn Dallas, Rickreal, Independence, Monmouth into the next Portland exurb that is driving the push for the bridge.

But I agree that the Salem Community Vision for a recycled, discount, Walmart police station that totally disregards the needs of the Salem police reflects those small town suburban values. I just don't think its working very well. Salem might have the poorest quality of life in the Mid Valley because it has all the worst qualities of a big city and a small town in one dysfunctional package. Salem has the violent traffic, asphalt, sprawl, urban poverty and crime like a city but without the cultural amenities, shopping, services, diversity, or vibrant urban life of a city. It has totally failed to preserve any of the small town charm of places like Silverton, Monmouth, or McMinnville but we are still deprived of many of the services that other cities Salem's size take for granted. We don't even have very good access to outdoor recreation that other small town in the valley have.

In fact, when it comes to small town charm, Portland's streetcar neighborhoods blow Salem away.

Curt, I agree with almost all of what you said. However, I disagree that building a Police Facility at an existing site is a horrible thing. Eugene did it, and the police department there says they were happy with the renovation.

I suspect the Salem Police staff have been told to stick to the City Party Line on this issue. Anyway, it is up to the citizens of Salem to tell their "public servants" how they feel about wasting $40 million on a brand new building crammed into the Civic Center property, complete with underground parking at $50,000 a space rather than the usual $20,000.

All Salem Community Vision is saying is, "let's talk... about options... about alternatives... about what is best for the taxpayers and the entire community -- not just a few government officials. Questions are always good. When people are scared of questioning, this is a sign that something is amiss.

The City of Salem shouldn't be afraid of citizens asking whether $40 million can be saved.

Well SCV clearly doesn't want to talk about options, or grade school math. Geoffrey James went to the same open house I did and here is what he has said about the cost of the proposed police facility:

"The Police Palace includes underground parking and at that meeting Linda said it was $13 million. So $23 + $13 = $46 million Police Facility".

I have questioned him about this statement and its the same evasion and obfuscation. Its more of the same villager group think that we have seen from the downtown Tea Parking Party and No Pringle Access. Has it come to that is Salem? Where if enough villagers agree to suspend the law of mathematics and repeat it enough it becomes true? Its like something out of a dystopian science fiction horror movie.

So what do say about Geoffry James' statement Brian? Is Geoffrey James correct or incorrect?

Curt, Geoffrey James' figure for the total is correct. I'm pretty sure Geoff knows how to add. He and other members of Salem Community Vision have been using $45-46 million as the likely cost of the City's proposal for a Police Headquarters. So I suspect Geoff meant to say "33" + $13 = $46 million.

I come up with almost exactly the same total cost of the Police Headquarters using figures shown on a slide presented at the June 2013 City Council work session.

Police headquarters cost is shown as $32.1 million. This is 63% of the Civic Center construction total of $50.8 million. Soft costs are shown as $10 million. Allocating 63% of those to the Police Headquarters adds $6.3 million to the cost.

Then there is $9.7 million for 2017 cost escalation, since the construction wouldn't happen until then. Allocating 63% of that cost to the Police Headquarters adds $6.1 million.

So we get: $32.1 million plus $6.3 million plus $6.1 million, which totals $44.5 million.

Again, Curt, this is from the City's own June 2013 Civic Center cost estimate. Compare this with Eugene's $17 million similarly sized Police Headquarters.

Salem Community Vision wants to save taxpayers $25 million or so by smarter planning. What bothers you about that, Curt? Don't you agree that the City's $45 million budget for a new Police Headquarters is way higher than it should be?

More of the obtuse villager routine. They won't even accept your numbers. When someone is that evasive, it's a sure sign they are either hiding something, they don't know what they are talking about, or both. No wonder the transit mall collapsed when the villagers insist are so excited to build public structures on shifting sands.

Curt, what are you talking about? The numbers I gave are the City of Salem's numbers. Right out of a presentation to the City Council. Are you saying that the City won't accept its own numbers?

Plain fact: the City is planning a $46 million Police Facility that is the same size as a Police Facility Eugene built for $17 million. If you can refute that fact, do so. If not, accept the fact.

When you live in Salem, keep your head down and your mouth shut, or be the object of the next witch-hunt.

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