T0night the City of Salem asked people to express their top priorities for actions in the Strategic Plan that's under development.
I took these photos in the Broadway Commons meeting room at about 7:15, more than halfway through the 6-8 pm Strategic Plan Open House. The crowd was pretty thin at that point -- probably as many city staff and officials were in the room as concerned citizens.
So the top priorities might have shifted a bit over the next 45 minutes. But by the time I left, the #1 priority action was a Climate Action Plan.
A Climate Action Plan coming out on top is great news, since while President Trump is a global warming denier, everybody who understands the science knows that climate change is happening, humans are responsible for it, and we need to act now to reduce carbon emissions.
Or, to put it bluntly, we're screwed when it comes to our one and only planet remaining habitable for humans.
A Climate Action Plan got 21 "Best Idea!" votes by the time I left. The runner-up action with 17 orange dots was this one:
The meaning of "Infrastructure Maintenance Prioritization" isn't crystal clear on the face of it, but this was the action that supporters of a Third Bridge mostly used to express their Build It Now mantra -- since there wasn't any action in the Strategic Plan goals calling for the Salem River Crossing, or Third Bridge, to be built.
Amazingly, some Third Bridge supporters put post-it note messages on the Climate Action Plan sheet, bizarrely arguing that construction of a giant half-billion dollar bridge would somehow reduce carbon emissions.
Naturally I and others pushed back against this ridiculous notion. My post-it note is the one on the right.
Two other actions tied for 3rd place in my 7:15 pm Strategic Plan Voting Sweepstakes Awards with 7 votes each. Here they are:
"Sustainable Substantive Funding Stream for Affordable Housing" got quite a bit of well-deserved love from Open House attendees.
So did "Citywide Visioning Process for Growth and Development." Which, not surprisingly, got a Build the 3rd Bridge now! post-it note.
Here's the sad little action that got the smallest number of green dots, just one.
Urban Development Department Director Kristin Retherford was standing next to this sheet. I asked her if she was depressed by the fact that only one person wanted new urban renewal areas in Salem. She smiled and said "No."
I thought I saw a tiny sheen of a tear in her eye. But it could have been the lighting.