There's some really encouraging stuff happening in Salem's urban core. Hey, at some point we may not need to feel like the boring-by-comparison waypoint between Portland and Eugene.
That was the upbeat message I got at today's Salem City Club program about the development of downtown and riverfront properties.
The speakers were Jordan Truitt, who used to be plant manager of the Truitt Brothers cannery just north of downtown, Jim Vu, board president of the Salem Main Street Association, and Shelly Ehenger, Urban Development Program Manager for the City of Salem.
In this post I'm just going to share the Truitt presentation. I'll discuss what Vu and Ehenger had to say in another post.
Truitt showed slides of the current plan to refashion the cannery into a vibrant mixed use development. I took photos of the slides. He started off talking about an invisible barrier between downtown and north downtown, which the cannery project will help erase.
The slide below shows the big picture of the cannery property.
The cannery property has a long history. It was first used as a cannery in 1917. The Truitt family took it over in 1973.
This was a touching slide of a multigenerational family connected to the cannery.
Canning used to be a really big deal in Salem.
Until it wasn't. Truitt said that pears from Hood River ended up costing twice as much as a can of pears from China.
After this bit of history, Truitt shifted to talking about plans for the property.
There would be true riverfront dining on a structure extending over the water.
Plenty of housing, along with retail shops.
A soccer stadium is being considered. I don't think this is the best use of the riverfront property. But I'm not a big soccer fan.
In a Zen-like comment, Truitt said "the train is the train." Adding "it will always be there."
Here's how people can help make the project become a reality.
It won't be easy. Truitt said this would be a $170 million development, with all the complexities that come with such a large project.