Did you know that Salem City Council is considering massive street construction and property destruction along Front, Commercial, Liberty, 4th Street, Broadway, Pine, Hickory, Locust, Tryon, Bliler, Salem Parkway and more?  Did you know streets will be torn up in West Salem including Wallace Road, Orchard Heights, Glen Creek?

How do you really feel about that destruction?  When it’s all just to make way for a 3rd Bridge across the Willamette.

I call the 3rd Bridge the “SACC Bridge.”  That’s because nobody really wants it except the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the city Public Works Director and a couple of City Councilors.

ODOT says the 3rd Bridge would wipe out, “between 65 and 75 business units that employ 490 to 510 people and have annual sales of $71.3 to $79.3 million. These businesses are located primarily in the North Salem Business District, but a substantial number would be displaced on the West side of the river in the Edgewater and Wallace Business Districts.”  Read the plan and check out pages 3-256 and 3-257  (http://www.salemrivercrossing.org/ProjectLibrary/Salem_DEIS_3.05_Socioecon.pdf)

Salem Area Chamber of Commerce has this to say: “For those businesses and residents that would be displaced by a new bridge, it will be extremely important that a collaborative team approach be taken to assist both businesses and residents with relocation.”

Right.  Sure.  Here’s what I say to them:  http://thirdbridgesalem.blogspot.com/

You have to ask yourself why the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the Public Works Director and a couple of City Councilors hate Salem so much?

The “SACC Bridge” would cost $800 million and “lose estimated annual property taxes of $259,000 from these displaced businesses. This represents 0.06 percent of Marion County’s 2008 budgeted property tax revenues and 0.14 percent of Polk County’s 2008 budgeted property tax revenues,” according to their own figures! (pages 3-256 and 3-257 at http://www.salemrivercrossing.org/ProjectLibrary/Salem_DEIS_3.05_Socioecon.pdf]

Yes, growth is inevitable but growth requires more police and fire services, more classrooms and streets and growth simply does not pay its share of these costs. The $800 million SACC Bridge is a case in point.

In the coming weeks, Salem City Council is expected to approve the SACC Bridge knowing the collateral damage includes nearly $1 billion and hundreds of taxpayers.

I urge you to tell Council to “Just say NO to the 3rd Bridge” by weighing in at citycouncil@cityofsalem.net.

Tell your officials to use sense instead:
1) The City should finish the traffic mitigation designed and approved in its 1998 Bridgehead Engineering Study (http://www.salemrivercrossing.org/ProjectLibrary/Bridgehead_Exec_summary.pdf)
2) ODOT should support affordable bridges up and down the valley where Salem taxpayers won’t foot the bill;
3) Our transportation leaders should fund bus service and follow through with bike/ped plans so people can travel safely without cars.
We have far better options than a disastrous SACC Bridge.  Let’s use them!

Richard Reid is a founding member of Salem CityWatch www.salemcitywatch.org and state chair of Oregon Communities for a Voice in Annexations www.ocva.org.