Inconvenient but Not Fatal

As Mark Twain famously responded to the rumors he had passed away, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." Likewise, the recent decision by the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), which some are trying to proclaim a mortal wound to our hopes for a new bridge, is actually more of a head cold. Yes, it's annoying and something we will need to deal with, but it won't be the end of our bridge, and we're certainly used to dealing with congestion!

So what's the truth about this decision? Well, the people trying to stop the bridge made a total of 16 complaints to LUBA with 13 of them rejected completely. In fact, LUBA essentially agreed with the need for a bridge, finding all of the substantive arguments about the need for it to be correct. Two of the three findings they made requiring simple corrections were very minor issues, and on the third one they are probably wrong.

The first issue needing to be addressed is the preference of LUBA that the city use a different population estimate for our growth over the next 20 years. The city had included an estimate of our growth rate resulting in a population of 316,000, and LUBA pefers a rate that results in a population of 300,000 people. In either case, we are looking at nearly doubling the population over this timeframe. The need for a bridge is completely clear whichever number is used and the city can easily use their other number to resolve this issue.

The second issue was a true technicality with a requirement that the findings the city published and provided regarding the effect of the project on the Willamette Greenway be read into the record. Seriously, that's it. Someone (presumably with a great voice) needs to read the findings into the record. Not exactly an enormous obstacle.

Third, LUBA found the city should have rezoned the land being brought into the Urban Growth Boundary (the island in the river where the bridge will pass over). This is probably not correct, since it is not legal for the city to rezone property that is not in the city. This will likely be turned over on appeal.

None of these are significant problems and all should be able to be resolved easily. For a good explanation of these issues, listen to Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett on the Gator and Denise Show (starting about 14:50). 

There are those who may try to take advantage of these technical issues to attempt to turn a cold into a terminal illness for our bridge, but we will be keeping a close eye on the process and alert everyone if we need to turn out to provide a boost to our bridges' immune system. Stay tuned...  

ODOT Bridge Decision...Action Needed!

 bridgeatnight

 We have GREAT news about our progress on the bridge BUT we need your help to make sure it stays great news!

First, the great news. ODOT has almost competed one of the last hurdles before we can get the permit to build the bridge. That hurdle is the Environmental Impact Study reporting their findings about the impact on the Wallace Marine Park. The findings ODOT has issued are that building Marine Drive to connect to the bridge will have a very minimal impact. This is true, and a great result for us in getting the bridge approved. 

Now for the BUT. Part of the process for this report is a public comment period so the community can give their input. The people opposed to the bridge have asked for, and been granted, an extension of the comment period to July 28th, so they can gather as many comments in opposition to the findings as they can.

We can't let them win this comment battle. Those of us who want the bridge need to send our own comments to ODOT supporting the findings and explaining that the minimal impact on the park is far outweighed by the positive impact a bridge will have for our community. WE NEED HUNDREDS OF POSITIVE EMAILS to counter their negative ones.

Here is how you can help build the bridge! Send your email to ODOT which will make the decision, the Salem City Council who will also be taking a position on the findings, and SBS so we know how many have been sent. Here are the addresses:

ODOT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Salem City Council:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Salem Bridge Solutions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Use the following subject line: 

Subject: Wallace Marine Park 4(f) Comment 

Here are points to include in your email:

  • Your address
  • Your support for parks AND transportation system
  • The need for Marine Drive and the bridge
  • You agree the impact on the park will be small

Here is an example...but please take a couple of minutes to modify it so the people receiving it know it is from you personally and not just a form letter. This is important!


Dear Ms. Henson and Salem City Council,

I live at (insert your address) and am a supporter of our parks and our transportation systems. 
I agree with the findings that the impact on Wallace Marine Park, Wallace Natural Area and the walking trail will be minimal and encourage you to move forward with this project. The completion of Marine Drive and  the Salem River Crossing bridge will have a tremendous positive impact on our community and are certainly worth the minimal impact to the park.

Sincerely,
(Your name)

Thanks for helping us Build it NOW!

 

WSNA's New Position...Build it NOW!

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WSNA's New Position...Build it NOW!

Thanks to a historic turnout of West Salem residents, property owners and workers, the West Salem Neighborhood Association voted overwhelmingly to support our motion to have WSNA "officially support the Salem River Crossing, complete the Environmental Impact Study and act as soon as possible to complete a new bridge." With nearly 90% of the people in attendance voting for the bridge, WSNA's now officially on board to Build it NOW!

It was truly incredible to see our members pouring into Roth's to participate in this vote. Our turnout was MORE THAN DOUBLE the highest turnout for any neighborhood association meeting in Salem history! That doesn't count what we estimate was over 100 people who showed up to vote for the bridge but eventually left in the overwhelming confusion as we waited for the Co-chairs to secure another room! Our members continue to show patience and resolve while maintining respect for others who voice different opinions. We are making incredible progress friends!

Now it's time to switch gears from the intensity (and boredom) of meetings and have some fun working together to build our movement. We are planning Neighborhood Walks and Bridge Brigades over the summer to let our neighbors know about our campaign and get them to join us. Our first Neighborhood Walk will be this Saturday. We will meet at Roth's at 9:30 (grab a donut and coffee...or something healthy if you prefer) and pair up to walk the neighborhoods of our community. Craig and Mike will have our business cards to hand out and coach you on our simple presentation. We'll wrap up about 12 and head to Walery's Pizza for lunch for those who have time. We'll be scheduling a Bridge Brigade some time next week and holding signs on the bridge during the evening gridlock. I'll be posting events for these soon. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to help organize any of these!

Turning Out Turning Tide

CityCouncil6 12 17

Turning Out...Turning Tide

As our beautiful green tide rolled into the City Council meeting last night you could feel the energy that comes with this kind of turn out. Our group, as always, conducted ourselves courteously and professionally as we listened and waited for our chance to speak. Mitch Teal led us off as SBS member after member articulately described what we wanted and why. The issue of the night was whether to build Marine Drive or allow an alternative proposal that would make it a much less useful project. After a long night of testimony followed by debate among the councilors, they decided to table the Marine Drive issue for now and assign it to a work group. While this is not a total victory for us, it's way better than the alternative proposal. Now we have the opportunity to really shape the outcome to what we need to support the bridge!

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Bike Path to Nowhere!

cycle path

We passed a 99.8 million dollar bond measure in 2008 to pay for roads and bridges. One of the major projects that was supposed to happen was purchasing the land to build Marine Drive to lead to our new bridge. The 3.6 million dollars dedicated to that is still sitting in the bank even though they were supposed to be purchasing the land in 2010.

Now our own West Salem Neighborhood Association has recommended to the Budget Committee that those funds be diverted to build a two mile bike path rather than construct the road. This is unnacceptable! Salem City Council will be voting this Monday evening on the budget recommendations. If you want to change this outcome and see those dollars spent for the road to our bridge, you need to do two things.

  1. Attend the City Council meeting at City Hall this Monday at 5:30. Sign up to speak and let them know you want the road you paid for not a bike path to nowhere! We'll be there to coach you before the meeting. They MUST see us in force or they are going to steal the funds for their bike path. Wear your green shirts. If you don't have one of our shirts yet wear a green shirt if you have it.
  2. Write an email to the city manager to include in the writen testimony. (This is in addition to showing up!) Here is a sample that you can just copy and paste. Feel free to modify it.

Here is the link to the original bond measure: Bond Information

Dear Salem City Council,

As a Salem resident, I'm am asking you not to divert the funds passed in our 2008 bond measure from their intended purpose of building Marine Drive. The voters' pamphlet and supporting materials were very clear that this was one of the projects that the bond would spent on. Diverting these funds from the intended purpose, to create a bike path to nowhere, violates the promise the city made to the voters. This is a critical piece of the infrastructure we need to make our bridge possible in the near future. 

Please do what you promised the voters in 2008, and purchase the land for Marine Drive. Then use any leftover funds to begin construction of the road. This is the only way of relieving congestion as was the clear intent of the bond when we passed it. 

Sincerely,

Your Name and address

 

Written comments

Written comments can be submitted to the City Recorder by noon on the day of the City Council meeting by personal delivery or e-mail. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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