News | Salem Weekly News http://salemweeklynews.com Salem area's Independent Newspaper Fri, 30 Sep 2016 05:14:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://salemweeklynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/cropped-salemweekly-1-32x32.gif News | Salem Weekly News http://salemweeklynews.com 32 32 Reimagining Salem as a Strong Town http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/09/reimagining-salem-strong-town/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/09/reimagining-salem-strong-town/#respond Thu, 15 Sep 2016 18:24:05 +0000 http://salemweeklynews.com/?p=124299 The post Reimagining Salem as a Strong Town appeared first on Salem Weekly News.

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About the cover: A street that shows wealth from good planning in Detroit, MI

When they were first conceived of, streets like Lancaster Boulevard in northeast Salem were projected to be a source of commerce and community wealth for all. Subdivisions in south Salem were designed to provide housing that would bring ongoing good to the city as healthy places to live and thrive.

But because of the way they were designed, says Chuck Marohn, founder and President of Strong Towns, a non-profit organization working to support a better model of development, Salem’s decisions about downtown, its roads and neighborhoods, actually created long term debt for citizens and for the community as a whole.

“We’ve had massive growth in this country,” Marohn says, “but we’re still not wealthy. Instead, we are creating tremendous long term obligations because of how we’re building our places.”

Badly planned freeways

Badly planned freeways

Marohn, a professional engineer and certified planner, says that America’s auto-based development has led us to live beyond our means, provide unsafe environments for our children, deplete jobs from communities and diminish quality of life.

He will discuss these matters, ways towards better growth, strategies for for everyday community members to make a lasting difference in Salem, in a free public presentation on October 5.

Good planning in Bellevue, KY, Photo by Jonny Sanphillippo

Good planning in Bellevue, KY, Photo by Jonny Sanphillippo

“We need productive growth that makes us wealthier,” Marohn says. For example, “let’s say we will build a mile of road to situate businesses on it. These businesses pay taxes today, but when you look at the money the city gets from those businesses, it really won’t pay to fix the road in 30 years. The development is unsustainable.” When Lancaster Boulevard was being devised, designers did not calculate for the slow, grinding traffic, the pollution, the empty parking lots and vacant buildings. People were employed to build the street, but may be unemployed now. The amount we spent and the costs we deferred all over the city make Salem vulnerable and unresiliant.

Badly planned roads, Photos by Strong Towns

Badly planned roads, Photos by Strong Towns

“We have a short term appearance of being rich,” Marohn says,  “but there’s a long-term bill that’s going to come due. And I think most Americans understand that something is inherently wrong.” His organization, by contrast, is “showing people that we can have real jobs and, growth by doing this properly. People intuitively understand what should be done, and in discussing it, we are empowering people. One example is that we should fix and care for existing roads before be build a new one. It’s not a hard concept to understand.”

Marohn argues that when a country fixes what it has, it can actually invest comparatively smaller amounts to make things better. “We can show people that we are way better off financially when we do that,” he says.

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Chuck Marohn believes cities like Salem can do better

It takes, for one thing, a longer-term vision. It is understandable that banks and businesses are often focused on the next financial quarter, because “they are worried about bonuses and share prices. But government is supposed to have a longer view of things,” Mohen says. “Yet, what we have decided in America, unlike in any other country, is that it is important to be able to go a couple blocks in your automobile. The result is that we obsess over how convenient it is for people to drive, but we ignore the fact that when we do that we force people to drive everywhere. Which is actually a huge inconvenience.” A costly one, too.

Badly planned neighborhood

Badly planned neighborhood

Marohn believes that solutions can be found right in a community like Salem. He says local leaders who can lead the way don’t have to have degrees in civil engineering to address these issues.

“And, they’re not necessarily the mayor or city council, either. Often they are people who care about their block, who volunteer in the community, who are invested in their church or school. These are the people who know what needs do be done and will actually do something about it.”

Good planning in Collingswood, NJ, Photos by Jonny Sanphillippo

Good planning in Collingswood, NJ, Photos by Jonny Sanphillippo

The cities Marohn sees as being most successful in creating long-term wealth, jobs and healthy communities are those who recognize how critical it is that decisions arent simply left in the hands of planners accustomed to the status quo. “People like city leaders and department heads of local governments,” in contrast, “often have a hard time really understanding what things need to change.”

 

 

 

How can Salem become a Strong Town?

Wednesday, October 5th, 7 pm.

With Chuck Marohn

Loucks Auditorium at Salem Public Library

585 Liberty Street SE in Salem.

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Inaction on gun control provokes frustration -Salem Progressive Film Series http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/09/inaction-gun-control-provokes-frustration-salem-progressive-film-series/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/09/inaction-gun-control-provokes-frustration-salem-progressive-film-series/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 18:15:00 +0000 http://salemweeklynews.com/?p=124295 “We cannot wait one moment longer to address the unacceptable fact that on average, 91 Americans are killed by gun violence every day,” says Zicra Lukin, of Moms Demand Action in Oregon. “Hundreds more are injured. As we’ve seen all too often, gun violence can occur anywhere. We know what the common-sense solutions are, and […]

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“We cannot wait one moment longer to address the unacceptable fact that on average, 91 Americans are killed by gun violence every day,” says Zicra Lukin, of Moms Demand Action in Oregon. “Hundreds more are injured. As we’ve seen all too often, gun violence can occur anywhere. We know what the common-sense solutions are, and we must implement them to save lives.”

Lukin will be one of the speakers at the first presentation of the 2016-17 season of the Salem Progressive Film Series. The film being shown, Under The Gun, 2016, directed by Stephanie Soechtig and produced and narrated by Katie Couric, is a documentary about the country’s inaction on gun control.

It is a timely subject. Last October, in response to a CBS/New York poll asking, “Do you favor or oppose a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers?” 92% of Americans interviewed said they favored the checks. 7% were opposed and only 1% were unsure or did not answer. Polls by Gallup and Quinnipiac University at about the same time showed similar results.

Yet since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012 – when 20-year-old Adam Lanza, after probably killing his gun-enthusiast mother, drove about 5 miles to the school where he fatally shot 26 people, twenty of them children between 6 and 7 years of age – there have been no substantive changes to American federal gun laws. Gun control advocates have grown increasingly frustrated by the inaction of their government.

Under the Gun examines the reasons why there has been so little forward movement.

The film itself speeds by. With assured editing it presents interviews with broken families affected by shootings in Aurora, Isla Vista, and Tucson, as well as those experiencing gun violence in inner cities such as Chicago. It provides numerous easily understood statistics about mass shootings and gun deaths and gives the arguments of advocates on both side of the issue.

Though it makes gestures towards impartiality, , Under The Gun is clearly impatient with the repeated delays in steps that might save the lives of thousands of innocent people. Its arguments are well researched, passionate and persuasive.

It is no news that the National Rifle Association’s substantial political power has a huge influence on the way politicians discuss issues like universal background checks, but Under The Gun surprises by showing a number of NRA members, in informal street polls, saying they would endorse these measures.

In 2015, Oregon became the 18th state to require background checks on all gun sales, closing some gaping loopholes. “Research has shown that this step, which keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people, is the most effective way to save lives,” says Lukin.

While “Under the Gun” is convinced that robust gun regulations will save lives, it is not against the 2nd Amendment. It contends that realistic regulations and Constitutional rights can exist hand in hand. Neither do Lukin and Moms Demand Action oppose the 2nd Amendment. Instead, as Lukin says, she believes “that with rights come responsibilities – particularly with this right, when exercising it irresponsibly can have lethal results.”

Under The Gun does not say that addressing the many issues that lead to mass shootings will be easy. Its purpose seems to be to arouse the feelings of anger and helplessness that many feel after a mass shooting – feelings that necessarily dissipate over time with the preoccupations of daily life and a 24-hour news cycle.

The film repeatedly shows how family members who have lost children can be galvanized by grief into taking action in a country where politicians find it difficult to achieve meaningful change. Bereavement rallies an inner city Chicago mother similar to the way it does conservative gun owning parents. The movie acknowledges that no workable solution will be simple. But it forcefully contends that more can be done.

Joining Lukin in discussion after the film will be Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon.

Under the Gun

Salem Progressive Film Series

Guest speakers &

audience discussion follow,

Presentation and Q & A with Penny Okamoto, Executive Director, Ceasefire Oregon and

Zicra Lukin, Oregon Chapter Leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.

The Grand Theater

191 High St. NE, Salem

(503) 881-5305

salemprogressivefilms.net

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Salem’s controversial $82 million police station: Is it too big? Or just right? http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/09/salems-controversial-82-million-police-station-big-just-right/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/09/salems-controversial-82-million-police-station-big-just-right/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:49:16 +0000 http://salemweeklynews.com/?p=124264 On September 23rd, two dynamic speakers – one in favor and one opposed to a ballot measure funding a controversial $82 Million police station – will present their cases at Salem City Club. The measure is ‘24-399,’ and will appear on the November 8 ballot. A “yes” vote means that the City should issue bonds […]

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On September 23rd, two dynamic speakers – one in favor and one opposed to a ballot measure funding a controversial $82 Million police station – will present their cases at Salem City Club.

The measure is ‘24-399,’ and will appear on the November 8 ballot. A “yes” vote means that the City should issue bonds for taxpayers to fund a 148,000 square foot police facility on the 700 Block of Commercial Street NE, in central Salem. A “no” vote means that the City of Salem should not do this.

“The moment this police station opens, its doors will never shut,” says TJ Sullivan, who will speak in favor of the measure. Sullivan is a partner at Huggins Insurance and Vice President of Business Advocacy at the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. He chaired the Blue Ribbon Task Force that first examined the need for a new facility.

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“It will be a 24/7 facility,” Sullivan says, “and it will combine all of the facets of community protection that we need now and into the future. A community should want their 911 operators being in the same building as the police officers that they work with every day. A community should want the evidence stored in a single safe place. A community should want their public servants to be in a secure building that will be operational after a major event.”

Brian Hines will speak in opposition to the measure. Oregon blogger, author, citizen activist and treasurer of Salem Can Do Better PAC, Hines says, “Just as someone can be a strong supporter of our nation’s armed forces, yet oppose wasteful military spending, those of us who oppose the police facility bond measure admire Salem’s Police Department and Chief Moore, while disliking the extravagant $82 million plan being voted on this November… The $82 million bond measure gives the Police Department much more than it requires for a perfectly adequate new police facility, which squeezes out money for other important unmet needs in this town.”

police-diagram-03aOne hot-button facet of the measure is the way it includes a 25,000 square foot 911-call center in the new facility. Currently, the region’s 911 needs are met by staff working in a leased building in another part of town, entirely separate from the police station. Opponents question whether this regional center should be housed under the new Salem police station roof.

“The current 911 Center is fine where it is, in leased space for at least another ten years,” says Hines. “A City of Salem financial analysis showed that continuing to lease space for the 911 Center saves money over the next 30 years, compared to spending $11 million to build a new Center. And Salem taxpayers would pay the whole construction bill, even though the 911 Center serves many other jurisdictions.”

Proponents like Sullivan say placing “911” in the new facility is appropriate. “The police officers want to see and be with the people they work with all day long – for them it is a safety issue as much as it is a camaraderie issue,” he says. “In addition, the 911 Center is going to outgrow its current facility and will have to move as a matter of necessity. The main reason is that a person could completely disable the 911 Center right now with a pickup truck; they need to be in a safe and secure facility.” 

police-diagram-04aIf voters pass the measure in November, the new police station would be paid for by an increase in property taxes. It is estimated that for the first year the rate would probably be $0.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For example, for a home assessed at $200,000, the estimated property tax would be $72 per year, or $6 per month.

Hines maintains that public safety can be served best if the community rejects the bond and returns “to the plan that was being pushed by the Mayor, Police Chief, and other City officials back in 2014: build a 75,000 square foot police facility AND make City Hall and the Library earthquake-safe — all for $50 to $60 million.”

Sullivan believes it is essential the measure passes for Salem’s well-being. “There is a difference between opulence and necessity,” he says. “The building is big, but it is built for the size of the police force that Salem has and is going to have. If you want to give your kids and my kids a chance to fund other needs in the city 20 years from now, let’s pass this bond.”

police-diagram-06aThe issues associated with this ballot measure are more numerous than this article has space for, and audience members should expect the conversation at this City Club matchup to be wide-ranging and spirited. Both speakers take strong and passionate positions.

For those who are curious about the possible new police station but who dread the uninformative political literature arriving in the weeks to come, this meeting may be the best available opportunity to learn more.

Arguments For and Against the $82 Million Police Bond Measure

With TJ Sullivan and Brian Hines

September 23, 2016

Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill

1313 Mill St. SE, Salem

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

salemcityclub.com

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Mayor determined to force bridge down taxpayer’s throats http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/09/mayor-determined-force-bridge-taxpayers-throats/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/09/mayor-determined-force-bridge-taxpayers-throats/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:31:01 +0000 http://salemweeklynews.com/?p=124261 One of the most wasteful, harmful, unnecessary projects in Salem’s history will be ‘greenlighted’ in a few weeks, say local observers that include a leader of the ‘NO 3rd Bridge’ group, Jim Sheppke. With little public notice and little public knowledge, the hearing on October 12 will likely mean a swift city council endorsement of […]

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One of the most wasteful, harmful, unnecessary projects in Salem’s history will be ‘greenlighted’ in a few weeks, say local observers that include a leader of the ‘NO 3rd Bridge’ group, Jim Sheppke.

With little public notice and little public knowledge, the hearing on October 12 will likely mean a swift city council endorsement of the largest and most expensive public works project ever planned in Salem.

“The mayor has the votes on the Salem City Council, so the public hearing is meaningless,” Sheppke says.

The vote will give a go-ahead to burden taxpayers and the ecological jewel that is the Willamette River with an additional “3rd Bridge” across the Willamette River between Salem and West Salem – uninfluenced by traffic statistics showing bridge traffic has decreased for years.

Mayor Anna Peterson’s support for the project was evident at the public comment period on August 8th. At that time, she did not even allow the Council to ask questions of the two dozen citizens who testified against the bridge.

The project is estimated to cost nearly a half billion dollars, and may have to be paid for with tolls on the Marion and Center Street bridges, as well as on the new bridge, and new gas taxes and a vehicle registration surcharge.

As this paper went to press, the October 12 public hearing  – which begins at 6 pm at Center 50+ in North Salem – has not even been announced on the Salem River Crossing website or the City of Salem website.

Additionally, no notice has been given to the 55 households and 65 business that are in the path of the bridge and would be “displaced” according to recent reports that NO 3rd Bridge obtained through a public records request to ODOT.

“The Mayor wants it that way,” says Scheppke.

The players appear to be conducting themselves just within the law in order to shield themselves from civil action. After the October 12th hearing, the council is expected to move swiftly to add the 3rd Bridge, officially called the Salem River Crossing Preferred Alternative, to the Salem Transportation System Plan and the Salem Comprehensive Plan, and to initiate the process of adding the footprint of the bridge to the Salem-Keizer Urban Growth Boundary.

Only two Salem City Councilors, Tom Andersen and Diana Dickey, opposed moving forward with the public hearing and land use actions at a Council meeting on August 8th, after hearing from about two dozen citizens opposed to the plan. Andersen has long opposed the 3rd Bridge as unnecessary and too expensive, and Dickey is unhappy that the “Salem Alternative” bridge plan that the City Council approved in June of 2013 has been altered significantly since that time and is not the same as the “Preferred Alternative” now moving forward.

The City has issued an official “Notice which indicates that a staff report on the “Preferred Alternative” will be made available only 7 days before the hearing.

The Salem Breakfast on Bikes blogger in a recent post called it “public participation theater.” “Even if … the Salem River Crossing team has still been fulfilling the minimum of legal requirements for disclosure prior to a Public Hearing, as a statement of public-minded interest, it is a sham and a sign of disrespect. It is totally reflective of commitments to a pre-determined conclusion,” he wrote.

Scheppke urges citizens to come to the public hearing and let the Council know about their unhappiness with what NO 3rd Bridge characterizes as, an “authoritarian and undemocratic” process.

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Field trip to a Salem indoor “grow” http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/08/field-trip-salem-indoor-grow/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/08/field-trip-salem-indoor-grow/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2016 07:42:26 +0000 http://salemweeklynews.com/?p=122491 Good things are happening inside a nondescript industrial building in Salem. There, Don, his family and fellow growers are cultivating healthy cannabis. Most of us haven’t seen a cannabis “grow,” so Salem Weekly sent this reporter to check out Don’s, which does business under the name, Herbal Evolution Gardening. The building has many rooms; some […]

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Good things are happening inside a nondescript industrial building in Salem. There, Don, his family and fellow growers are cultivating healthy cannabis.

Most of us haven’t seen a cannabis “grow,” so Salem Weekly sent this reporter to check out Don’s, which does business under the name, Herbal Evolution Gardening.

The building has many rooms; some for growers doing paperwork and some for storing garden supplies, but one door opens to a brightly lit, noisy room full of strong, robust plants, cooled by fans and entertained by music.

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“Our system is a hybrid hydro system that works like soil does rather than like conventional ‘hydro’ gardening,” Don says. His methods have been developed over many years; pampered plants are fed twice a day from a nutrient-rich feed bin. A netted trellis supports each branch of the plant. “These supports are like giving the plant a giant hug,” Don says. Plants enjoy the golden rays of high-pressure sodium bulb lighting, which is reflected off the walls with reflective materials. They listen to boisterous rock and roll.

“You’ll always find music playing at grows,” Don says. “The show ’Mythbusters’ actually did an episode on this, and they found the most vigorous grown comes when you play speed metal.”

Mature producing plants live on carts that Don invented himself “by necessity,” to allow them to be positioned off the floor and moved when necessary to better light or for cleaning. It also “individualizes the plants” – three to a feed bin – “to make it easy to follow their progress for our monitoring system.” Growers follow feed uptake, PH levels and indicators of health.

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Owner Don and his mother, Vicki, work long hours

Don himself manufactures the carts from a composite plastic material “to keep it all food grade.” He sells the carts to other growers and off his web site.

The plants are fed with all kelp-based nutrients “and lots of love and care,” Don says.

Grow rooms are sealed off with heavy charcoal filtration. “We keep the [distinctive herbal cannabis] smell down that way,” he says. “It’s a requirement, and it’s important for the community we’re in. So we do everything we can to take care of it.”

A separate grow room houses young plants, from several inches high to several feet high. The plants, radiantly green, grow vigorously. They have their own lights, their own fans and their own music.

Cannabis is comprised of many dozens of chemical components called cannabinoids. Two of the most prominent of these are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC demonstrates analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties while CBD shows anti seizure, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic properties.

Don and his growing team raise medicinal marijuana. They raise three strains of a primarily-CBD product. These strains are 17 – 21% CBD, he says, with less than 1% THC. It’s a tested therapeutic ratio that offers medicinal benefits without producing a mind-altering “high,” and has proven an extremely effective cannabiniod ratio for those suffering from medical conditions such as cancer and many kinds of seizures.

The high CBD products are grown for family members, other farmers at the grow, and donated “to the indigent community,” Don says. “This medical program allows members of the indigent community to get the medicine they need, that they couldn’t get otherwise because they can’t afford it.”

Herbal Evolution also produces 12 marijuana strains with 21 – 29% THC, a level that produces stronger psychoactive effects. These are sold to dispensaries.

“Everything we grow is food quality,” Don says. “You won’t find powdery mildew or bugs here.” He has “a high respect for cleanliness and professionalism, and taking pride in what we do.”

Don is himself a medical patient for diabetic conditions. “I see this business as a wonderful opportunity for those who are business-minded,” he says, though he cautions that growing cannabis, “is not as easy as it may look from the outside… you have to know a russet mite from a spider mite. We have to remember that what we are dealing with is alive, and it is vulnerable.”

His work in the grow tending plants, filling out exacting compliance paperwork and other tasks keep Don busy long hours, 6 days a week. A businessman since the age of 17 and a cultivator of medicinal cannabis since 2009, Don observes, “over time, it has been amazing to see the rapid growth of the medical patient program, which has led to the full legalization for persons 21 and over.”

He is proud of his work with several cancer patients deemed ‘terminally ill’ whose use of his medicine for a short time produced a cancer-free bill of health. “Everyone is still dealing with stigmas of before my generation. This medicine has been a major taboo, even though studies have shown time and time again the stigmas were wrong,” he says.

Don is making plans to expand his business to other grows. He has a building under construction for recreational cannabis.

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Waterfalls of Salem http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/08/waterfalls-of-salem/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/08/waterfalls-of-salem/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2016 07:18:43 +0000 http://salemweeklynews.com/?p=122478 From its beginnings, the city of Salem was built above and among waterways that originated in the foothills of the Cascades and flowed through town to the Willamette River. When they first enter city limits, these waters are still more than 200 feet about sea level; by the time they discharge into the Willamette River, […]

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From its beginnings, the city of Salem was built above and among waterways that originated in the foothills of the Cascades and flowed through town to the Willamette River. When they first enter city limits, these waters are still more than 200 feet about sea level; by the time they discharge into the Willamette River, they are less than 115 feet above sea level.

The story of Salem’s ‘waterfalls’ is the record of how human beings have channeled that approximately 90’ drop in elevation to manage flooding, allow commerce and create power.

Before it even reaches town, Mill Creek is supplemented by Santiam River water carried in a ditch dug prior to 1860 by early settlers. The purpose of the ditch was to enhance Mill Creek’s natural volume; the creek tended to dry up in the summer, which made it unreliable for the fledgling wool and other mills in developing Salem.

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1) Diversion Dam

1) Diversion Falls

This falls is located just southwest of the Kettle Chip plant (3125 Kettle Court SE) in a wooded, natural area maintained by the company. Mill Creek divides at a dam.. One section goes northward in a waterway still called Mill Creek; a significant portion goes into Shelton Ditch, which heads nearly straight west. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), built the picturesque dam in the 1930s.

In its flow west through Salem neighborhoods, Shelton Ditch is a straight, man made waterway for the three blocks between 24th and 22nd Streets SE, passing to the south of Lee City Park. This direct route squared it with residential streets, but the creek resumes its historical course at 20th Street SE, rushing west along Mission St, passing near the Railroad Station and under 12th St. SE where it emerges deck side of The Ram.

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2) Waller Dam

2) Waller Dam

Up to the north, Mill Creek flows along State St. past the Oregon State Penitentiary. Between State and Ferry Streets, the creek tumbles down Waller Dam, built in 1864 and modified in 1915 – our second waterfall. Waller Dam is best reached through the back parking lot of Muchas Gracias Mexican Food restaurant at 1980 State St.

To the south across the waters, tiny Mill Race Park sports signage about the historical diversion engineered here; while the larger portion of water goes over the dam, the smaller is directed into Mill Race, a narrow 1-mile manmade straightaway originally constructed in 1864 to generate power and pump water for Salem mills and factories.

Mill Creek itself winds sleepily through North Salem, eventually entering the Willamette River just West of Boon’s Treasury near the foot of “D” Street NE.

Along this route, Mill Creek has no falls, but plenty of history, since Jason Lee built Salem’s first sawmill on it in 1840 as part of a Methodist Mission. The Willamette Woolen Mill was built along Mill Creek in the 1850s as well, but an 1874 fire destroyed it.

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3) Falls at Willamette University

3) Falls at Willamette U.

Mill Race passes through Willamette Heritage Center, runs through Willamette as a leisurely stream and spills over this appealing waterfall behind WU Law School.

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4) Pringle Plaza Falls

4) Pringle Plaza Falls

Mill Race once again adjusts altitude by means of this waterfall set in Pringle Plaza, at High and Trade St. SE, spilling into a waterway favored by ducks and people alike.

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5) Mill Race Falls

5) Mill Race Falls

One block lower, Mill Race reconnects with Pringle Creek in this waterfall, seen from a developed walking and viewing area off Commercial St. SE just south of Trade St. SE. The combined waterways of Mill Stream and Pringle Creek then dash over rocks and cement pilings below Commercial St. SE and join the Willamette Slough on their way to the Willamette River.

Salem’s waterfalls aren’t Niagaras and they aren’t Silver Falls, but they aren’t meant to be. They tell the history of a practical, working city that managed and directed its water to improve the quality of life for its citizens.

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Salem may not know until 2017 if Willamette fish are safe http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/08/salem-may-not-know-2017-willamette-fish-safe/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/08/salem-may-not-know-2017-willamette-fish-safe/#respond Thu, 18 Aug 2016 06:59:52 +0000 http://salemweeklynews.com/?p=122475 On July 19, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced it found elevated levels of dioxins in sediment in the Willamette Slough. These levels exceeded DEQ’s human health and ecological screening levels and caused the agency to warn that eating fish from the slough might be unsafe. The slough is posted while DEQ continues to […]

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On July 19, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced it found elevated levels of dioxins in sediment in the Willamette Slough. These levels exceeded DEQ’s human health and ecological screening levels and caused the agency to warn that eating fish from the slough might be unsafe.

The slough is posted while DEQ continues to investigate.

Dioxins are carcinogenic industrial contaminates which break down very slowly. They are found at low levels from natural processes like forest fires, but are dangerous at higher levels.

The screening level for dioxins is 0.001 parts per trillion. Recent testing of slough sludge showed 5.5 – 67.9 parts per trillion.

“The elevated levels of dioxins found in the Willamette Slough may be related to past industrial activities in the area,” DEQ said in July, “including the chlorine bleaching process used at a pulp and paper mill operated by Boise Cascade.”

Boise Cascade operated a mill beside the Slough from 1962 – 2007 and in 2000, the company itself conducted a study that showed elevated levels of dioxins. Later that year, DEQ found that no action on the contaminates was required.

The mill employed several practices that caused pollution, including the chlorine bleaching process known to create dioxins and also by building settling lagoons for liquid waste on Minto-Brown Island, across from the slough. As a result, environmentalists have long expressed concern that dioxin would be found in the sludge.

Two weeks after the July 2016 announcement, Michael Kucinski, DEQ’s Cleanup and Tanks Program Manager for the Western Region, says the agency is still involved in the matter and results may not be known this year.

“DEQ is continuing to work with Boise Cascade to determine the level of risk to public health and the environment,” Kucinski said.

Additional study may include: conducting fish tissue sampling, evaluating how much fishing takes place in the area, further delineating the extent of the contamination and assessing background conditions in the area. “If DEQ finds that dioxin levels are unsafe, the public will be advised about the safety of eating fish caught from the area,” Kucinski adds.  The agency will conduct longer-term studies to focus on the risks to human health and the environment, and the need for specific cleanup actions.

“Additional testing could take months to complete,” Kucinski says, “so DEQ might not have more information about the safety of eating fish until early next year. If DEQ finds that dioxin levels in fish are unsafe, we will work with the Oregon Health Authority on a public health advisory.”

Until then, the area remains posted.

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Salem Weekly Editorial Board has just released 28 videos of our interviews with Carole Smith and Chuck Bennett for mayor http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/05/salem-weekly-editorial-board-just-released-28-videos-interviews-carole-smith-chuck-bennett/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/05/salem-weekly-editorial-board-just-released-28-videos-interviews-carole-smith-chuck-bennett/#respond Tue, 10 May 2016 02:03:32 +0000 http://www.willamettelive.com/?p=117930 To view them please go to our  YouTube Channel       Thank you

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To view them please go to our  YouTube Channel

 

 

 

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Editorial Board interviews with Carole Smith and Chuck Bennett 2016 http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/05/editorial-board-interviews-carole-smith-chuck-bennett-2016/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/05/editorial-board-interviews-carole-smith-chuck-bennett-2016/#respond Tue, 10 May 2016 01:57:08 +0000 http://www.willamettelive.com/?p=117925 Salem Weekly editorial board has just released 28 videos from our interviews with both mayoral candidates, Chuck Bennett and Carole Smith.   To see all of them please browse ourYouTube Channel Thank you

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Salem Weekly editorial board has just released 28 videos from our interviews with both mayoral candidates, Chuck Bennett and Carole Smith.
 
To see all of them please browse ourYouTube Channel
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Discover Your Roots http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/04/discover-your-roots/ http://salemweeklynews.com/2016/04/discover-your-roots/#respond Thu, 14 Apr 2016 21:26:52 +0000 http://www.willamettelive.com/?p=117355 by Laura Gildart Sauter Anyone who still has reservations about the rapidly-growing “coolness factor” of Salem will have those doubts dispelled this Saturday, April 16th, at the third annual Local Roots Music Festival. A fundraiser for KMUZ, our local independent radio station, the all-day (9 am – 10 pm) event, to be held at Willamette […]

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by Laura Gildart Sauter

Anyone who still has reservations about the rapidly-growing “coolness factor” of Salem will have those doubts dispelled this Saturday, April 16th, at the third annual Local Roots Music Festival. A fundraiser for KMUZ, our local independent radio station, the all-day (9 am – 10 pm) event, to be held at Willamette Heritage Center’s Dye House, will also serve as the CD release party for “Local Roots Compilation Vol. III.”

Feeling uninformed and slightly out of it for not being sure what “roots music” is, other than fun to say, I ask Melanie Zermer, President of the Board for KMUZ, to define the genre for me.  “It’s Americana,” she tells me.  To further clarify, there is this from the Americana Music Association via Wikipedia: [Americana] “is contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw.”

So…leaving definitions aside for the moment, this week, in Salem, “roots music” means a rapid-fire showcase for 20 of the Northwest’s finest regional musicians at an all-day party. The Roots Music Festival features a slew of talented folks, the names of whose genres generally require a hypen or two: neo-folk, retro-pop, alt-country, indie-rock.  Each individual, group, or band will have 25 minutes on stage to delight the audience with their version of Americana.  The festival is the brain-child of KMUZ roots program host, Robert Richter, who serves as event coordinator.  According to Zermer, Richter has been a devotee and promoter of roots music for years, showcasing NW musicians weekly at a venue in Portland before he became the host for the 7-9 pm Sunday show “Local Roots” on KMUZ.

Kicking off the party at 9:00 am, an extended 50-minute set will feature Salem’s River City Rockstar Academy students performing original songs.  Other extremely local acts will include “raucous Indie-rock” quartet, Allies from Nowhere, folk trio, Seahorse, and, closing the show, Salem’s premier “idiosyncratic socio-punk” band, City of Pieces.  Regionally-famous Annalise Torset (formerly with the Decemberists now with Black Prairie) will also appear on stage, as will 2012 American Idol finalist Haley Johnsen.  A complete schedule of performances can be found at the KMUZ website.  Tear it out and bring it with you.  Bring your kids too — kids under 12 are free, with a paying adult, and really what could be cuter than your favorite rug rat gettin’ down to some alt-punk-retro-county-indie-rock?

To fuel all this fun, two food trucks will be on hand: Island Girl Lunch Box, serving Chamorro cuisine from Guam, and Fusion, dishing out “semi-authentic” Vietnamese delicacies.  As is mandatory at any hip gathering worth the name, gluten-free and vegetarian options will be available.  Finally, to slake your thirst, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Vagabond Brewery will be pouring some of the best beverages on the West Coast.

Partnering with Richter and KMUZ, CCTV has been featuring many of the festival bands for the past year, and will televise the entire festival for later broadcast;  don’t miss your chance for 15 minutes of fame.  Other partners and sponsors of the festival include Lifesource Natural Foods, Mill Creek Station Café, the Bike Peddler, Michael Angelo Exteriors, Fox Blue, and the Willamette Heritage Center.

The cost for the entire day of festivities is $15; the CD “Local Roots, Vol 3”  will be for sale for $15, and is well-worth the cost. All the money goes to keep our extraordinary local radio station KMUZ on the air. A portion of the proceeds for food and drink will also be donated to KMUZ. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at.brownpapertickets.com For more information call (503)585-7012 or go to kmuz.org.

 

Local Roots Music Festival

9:00 – 9:50 River City Rock Star Academy – local music school

10:00 – 10:25 Olivia & Rene – Americana, mandolin and guitar

10:35 – 11:00 Val Blaha – Americana, country, folk

11:10 -11:35 Clara Baker – acoustic, Americana, folk

11:45 – 12:10 The Colin Trio – blues, jazz, rock

12:20 -12:45 Elise LeBlanc –  Neo-folk, retro-pop singer/songwriter

12:55 – 1:20 Seahorse – folk trio, Americana

1:30 – 1:55 Karyn Ann – neo-acoustic soul

2:10 – 2:35 Malachi Graham – Indie-Americana

2:45 – 3:10 Cedar Teeth – rustic folk rock

3:20 – 3:45 The Stubborn Lovers – rock, Americana

3:55 – 4:20 Bad Assets – country rock

4:30 – 4:55 Jennifer Smieja – country, folk

5:10 – 5:35 The Jackalope Saints – folk, bluegrass

5:45 – 6:10 Annalisa Tornfelt – bluegrass

6:20 – 6:45 Haley Johnsen – pop singer/songwriter

6:55 – 7:20 Wilkinson Blades – rock, Americana

7:30 – 7:55 Allies From Nowhere – Indie rock

8:10 – 8:35 Three For Silver – alt-folk

8:45 – 9:10 City of Pieces – socio-punk

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