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January 10, 2015


This isn't all overreaction, but there is some overreaction going on. The case here is more complicated than at the Blind School.

For example, the housing goals in the "Leland report" don't show "ticky tacky crap housing" and while this isn't a guarantee that bad housing won't be built, at least at the start they are aiming higher.


The idea that the City wants to screw the neighborhood doesn't ring true. I think the City wants to create something more like a walkable residential and neighborhood commercial district with early 20th century streetcar scale charm.

As for the trees, the Walnuts are starting to die off from "thousand cankers disease." One has been removed by the Kirkbride building already and others will follow shortly. Elsewhere around town you can see Walnuts withering from it. It is not likely the magnificent row along D street will survive intact.

Eola, Yaquina, Santiam, and McKenzie halls aren't that great, and folks should be open to replacing them with finer buildings. Especially - are people really clamoring to save Eola hall???

The City's screwed up too many things, but I think it's more likely that the State's haste to unload the property is a greater threat.

The Dome Building is the real gem here, and let's just make sure we take care of it. Not everything else is essential.

Breakfast on Bikes, you make some good points. There's certainly room for debate about every aspect of how the North Campus should be redeveloped.

But this is one of my main concerns about how this effort is proceeding: a lack of debate, of open public hearings, of a transparent process for deciding on goals for this property and who should implement them.

Given the City of Salem's track record in this regard, citizens have good reason to be wary.

Just consider what has happened with Pringle Square, the Third Bridge, Policy Facility planning, downtown parking and dissolution of the downtown association, Howard Hall, and the generally dismal track record of the current folks at City Hall when it comes to encouraging creative, bike/pedestrian friendly, mixed use, mass transit centered, non-autocentric projects that reflect a broad community consensus about what sort of town Salem should be, and become.

I readily admit that I don't trust our current crop of City officials.

Their habit is make decisions behind the scenes, almost always tilting toward special interests, then to reveal those plans to an appropriately skeptical public, trying to sell people on a project that already has been set in motion, and not being willing to change course even in the face of facts and citizen input that demands a different way.

We've seen this game played over and over by the folks at City Hall.

I don't see any reason to believe the redevelopment of the North Campus isn't being manipulated in the same fashion. This is a big part of why I'm concerned about the effort to essentially have the upcoming session of the Oregon legislature decide on the future of the North Campus.

If you look at the original early 2014 planning document linked to in this post, you'll see that the open, transparent decision-making process outlined in a slide has gone off course, since the sole response to the RFP for redevelopment was rejected by DAS in a rather strange manner, and apparently no new RFP is in the cards.

Rather, backroom political manipulations have replaced open community planning, which isn't a good sign for the future of the North Campus.

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