A 118 unit apartment complex may be constructed at Riverfront Park, on the site of the former Boise Cascade truck parking lot.

The 3.7 acre parcel is west of the train tracks and just south of the carousel parking lot. There is no direct access to any city street.  The developers are asking Salem City Council to give access through the carousel parking lot.

Currently cars and pedestrians must cross the railroad tracks to reach the carousel and it’s parking. Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says it will not approve an additional crossing over the tracks, and that it does not want any traffic signal timing changes to slow down traffic on Front Street.

The Carousel has 71 parking spaces which are often full. While the apartment complex would have 178 parking spaces, there’s no guarantee that apartment residents or their guests won’t sometimes decide to use the Carousel parking lot.

The developer also owns another Boise site to the east of the railroad tracks, where a nursing home is proposed.  Both sites are zoned under Salem’s “South Waterfront Mixed-Use” code, intended to promote a “vibrant downtown within the City of Salem.”

A number of critics question whether apartments and a nursing home fulfill this objective.

Riverfront Park is currently Salem’s only “event park” with festivals and evening concerts.  These events may result in noise complaints from apartment residents. ODOT commented that noise and ground vibration from trains may also affect the quality of life for residents of the nursing home and apartment complex.

The proposed apartment complex does not have any setbacks from the park boundary.  There is concern that apartment residents may decide to use the park as their personal backyard, with barbeques and lawn chairs.

Salem City Council will also be asked to agree to a ten-year abatement in property taxes on the increase in assessment.