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September 21, 2018


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Thank you, Brian, for offering this commentary. The concerns you raise are valid. The make-up of the Advisory committee is certainly of concern. But unlike the decade old third bridge crossing committee which was populated with bureaucrats who superseded the community perspective this committee offers a spectrum of community representatives. The results of that boondoggle are a third bridge stalemate.

Certainly including political representatives beyond the boundaries of Salem is a wise choice. Certainly including representatives of the development community is an appropriate decision. You may not agree with the breath of the group but each of them is a coherent player in the future of Salem. Should the areas of Salem which will see future development (South and West Salem) be more fully represented? Yes! Should the Latina/o community be more represented? Yes! However, in the end the recommendations of this community are vital to the future of Salem. A Salem that actually implements both its Comprehensive Plan and the ordinances that implement that plan.

Sam Brentano also represents the, in one form or another, the interests of the solid waste industry.

There is an existing land use planning group that has been in existence for 28 years, and that is the Salem Land Use Network. For a couple of decades they met at city hall with city staff support, until the budget cuts of 10 years ago that ended that support. LUN is the Land Use Chairs (or representatives) of the 18 Neighborhood Associations in Salem. They still meet monthly, and they discuss land use in Salem and mutual concerns. LUN has met with the Director of Community development and has been briefed on the proposed Salem Area Comprehensive Plan update. Unfortunately, the City has assembled a group dominated by the Chamber, Homebuilders, and Real Estate, with only a couple of neighborhood representatives. Let's hope that the enlightened members of this committee can keep the focus on Smart Growth and resist the temptation to develop policies that have the effect of endangering or expanding the urban growth boundary. I believe that the group should start their work by viewing the video of Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns speaking in Salem on this challenging topic. https://vimeo.com/185985263

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