It’s not at Courthouse Square. It’s not at Cottage Street. It’s not at Marion Street. But finally, the transit mall will be making preparations to move to Church Street between Marion and Union streets.

The Salem City Council approved moving forward at the location on September 13. The decision was not without controversy from residents surrounding the new location.

Written testimony was submitted referencing the potential for criminal activity. One testimony pointed to “low-rent apartments which have a high concentration of sex offenders in residence at any one time” and also pointed to the HOME Youth Center that houses at risk teens “who already cause problems running out into traffic and avoiding street crosswalks.” In addition to the written testimony, a number of emotional testimonies were given in opposition. To read the full written testimonies, visit: Cheryl Roberts, president of Chemeketa Community College, spoke in support of the new location on Church Street.

At the Council meeting, Salem Police Department stressed as they did in Salem Weekly’s past coverage that there are no statistics that show an increase in criminal activity around the transit mall. City councilors asked multiple witnesses to provide a report showing an increase in crime. No additional information was provided. Cherriots assured councilors that the new location will be under the same surveillance that was once at the Courthouse Square location.