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22nd Annual Riverfront Park Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony - 11/17/17

Bundle up the family and join your friends and neighbors on Friday, December 1 as Salem celebrates the 22nd Annual Riverfront Park Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony! This free community event is one of Salem's most loved community traditions.

Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and Mayor Chuck Bennett will lead the tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. One lucky child in attendance will be selected to help Mayor Bennett "flip the switch" to light the holiday tree.

Fun activities include:

* Free hot cocoa and cookies provided by Roth's Fresh Market.
* A family craft booth hosted by Straub Environmental Center.
* Musical performances from the Grizzly Youth Choir.
* A visit from Santa with special escort service provided by the Salem Fire Department.
* Real live reindeer!

Riverfront Park is located at 200 Water Street NE in downtown Salem. This annual holiday event is sponsored by the City of Salem and Comcast.

Council Task Force to Evaluate Near-Term Solutions for Reducing Bridge Traffic Congestion - 11/17/17

Salem, OR -- On November 13 City Council voted to create a task force to find ways to alleviate traffic congestion around the Marion and Center Street Bridges. It will consist of four City Council members who will develop a list of short to long-term recommendations.

At the council meeting, Mayor Bennett said, "We know there is an ongoing congestion problem downtown and that traffic flow is not working."

For the past 10 years, regional transportation experts, City Staff, and the community have considered options and alternatives to a new Willamette River crossing. This process will produce a Final Environmental Impact Statement for a potential new crossing, but not the bridge itself. There is no timeline for completion of a Final Environmental Impact Statement, and it could take another 10 years beyond completion to fund, design, and begin construction of a new bridge.

In light of that fact, Council recognizes that current congestion must be reduced as soon as possible. "We need to make some real progress on that now," said Ward 6 Councilor Chris Hoy.

The task force will examine the results of studies and projects from the past 20 years, as well as current and projected traffic data to inform their recommendations. Any potential solutions they develop will be independent of any decisions related to a new bridge.
"I think that this proposal really has nothing to do with any environmental impact statement," said Tom Andersen, Ward 2 Councilor. "I think what we're doing here is a separate project that needs to happen right now because the goal here is to improve the traffic flow and to decrease congestion on both sides of the river."

The task force will hold several meetings from January 2018 through June 2018. They will primarily focus on finding better ways for motor vehicles to get around on and near the bridges while keeping in mind other forms of transportation such as walking, biking, and public transit.

Residents may attend the task force meetings and will have the opportunity to review and comment on recommendations when they are proposed for inclusion in the Capital Improvement Program. Meeting dates will be available on the City website. You can learn more about the background and scope of the task force by visiting: bit.ly/costaskforce.

Be a Part of Salem's Downtown Streetscape Design Plan - 11/14/17

*Attend the Kickoff Open House November 30 or Participate Online*

Do you have ideas about how to make Downtown Salem's sidewalks more inviting, exciting, or fun? We want to hear from you! Salem residents are invited to attend the Salem Streetscape Plan Kickoff Open House on Thurs., Nov. 30, 6 -- 7:30 p.m. at the Senator Hearing Room/Courthouse Square, 555 Court St. NE. Those who cannot attend the open house are invited to participate virtually Nov. 30 -- Dec. 22 at www.cityofsalem.net/downtown. The link will be live on Nov. 30.

Streetscape improvements were identified as one of the top urban renewal funding priorities within the Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Area during a series of 12 focus group meetings in 2016. Walker Macy was selected to lead community visioning and design efforts. Their experience in streetscape projects have been shown to enhance downtowns and their project team consists of experienced professionals in the fields of landscape architecture/planning, civil engineering, transportation, public involvement, and economics.

For more information on the Downtown Streetscape Plan, visit www.cityofsalem.net/downtown or contact Sheri Wahrgren, Downtown Revitalization Manager, at 503-540-2495 or swahrgren@cityofsalem.net.

Si necesita ayuda para comprender esta informaciĆ³n, por favor llame 503-588-6178.

The City of Salem's Urban Development Department is committed to enhancing community prosperity through an array of programs in its four major service areas: Real Property Services, Housing and Social Services, Economic Development and Downtown Revitalization. The Urban Development Department: manages the City's urban renewal areas (URA) and redevelopment projects within the URAs; administers federally funded block grant and housing programs; provides loans and grants to eligible businesses, homeowners, and renters; and manages leases, acquires, and sells properties for the City.

New Traffic Signal at Union Street NE and Commercial Street NE - 11/14/17

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, the City will activate a new traffic signal at the intersection of Union Street NE and Commercial Street NE. The new signal increases safety for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling between the Union Street Railroad Bridge and downtown Salem. The City also improved lighting, added crosswalks, built curb extensions and a median island to further improve safety at the crossing.

Vehicles eastbound on Union Street NE will now be directed southbound-only onto Commercial Street NE. A blue light indicator for bicycles traveling across the intersection from west to east was also added.

The completion of this project delivers on a priority Salem residents identified in the 2013 Central Salem Mobility Study. According to project engineer Julie Titchbourne, the signal is the first step in connecting the Union Street Bridge with 12th ST as part of the Family-Friendly Bikeway. The $1.13-million intersection improvement began in June and is jointly funded by the Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Area and the Salem-Keizer Area Study Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Residents can learn more about the Central Salem Mobility Study and other projects it recommends by visiting: http://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/central-salem-mobility-study.aspx.

Pedestrian Safety Study Findings and Recommendations Available on City Website - 11/09/17

Concerned with an uptick in traffic-related pedestrian fatalities, Salem City Council commissioned a Pedestrian Safety Study in 2016 to provide insight into infrastructure and human behaviors contribution to crashes in Salem. The study included more than 100 hours of field observations at intersections and corridors that were selected due to a high frequency of crashes. A combination of crash data and police reports from 2011-2017 were also part of the final analysis.

"The City Council made improving pedestrian and bicycle safety a priority in recent years," said Peter Fernandez, Salem Public Works Director. "The way we approach road and pathway design is critical for everyone's safety and for reducing potential conflicts between pedestrians, bicycles and cars."

The study found that crash patterns, driver and pedestrian behaviors were unpredictable and crashes were caused by many factors. A few of the key findings include:
* The likelihood for conflict increased where major traffic flows intersected with popular pedestrian travel paths.
* Drivers were seen speeding, driving aggressively, and failing to yield to pedestrians.
* Pedestrians were observed crossing at midblock locations on roadways with four or more lanes and when there were long distances between signalized crossings. Pedestrians were also seen crossing against the pedestrian signal.

Salem Chief of Police, Jerry Moore adds, "This study confirms the shared responsibility drivers and pedestrians have to ensure everyone's safety. The Police Department, and all city staff, are committed to ongoing community outreach and enforcement activities designed to improve public safety in all Salem's neighborhoods."

The study also includes general recommendations to improve pedestrian safety and specific recommendations for twenty locations in Salem. Recommendations include:
* Limit spacing between protected crossings and limit conflicts between walkers and turning cars
* Improve road way and intersection lighting
* Consider pedestrian paths in planning development
* Location-specific enhancements such as crossings with median refuge islands, traffic signal modifications, and maintenance of trees and vegetation

Even though the pedestrian fatality rate in Salem over the last six years is roughly 19 percent below the national average, every death on Salem's roadways is tragic. On November 13, the City will host a brown-bag meeting, and a City Council work session, to present the findings and recommendations of the Pedestrian Safety Study. The meeting will be held at noon in the Anderson Room at the Salem Public Library and includes a question and answer session. The Council work session will be held at 5 p.m. in Council Chambers later that day and will be broadcast on the City's Facebook page and on Capital Community Television's YouTube channel.
Residents can find the study and see the full list of findings and recommendations on the City's website: http://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/pedestrian-safety-study.aspx

City of Salem Program Funding Application Cycle Opens Dec. 5 - 11/09/17

2018-2019 Program Year Application Cycle Opens Dec. 5, 2017 -- Jan. 5, 2018

Salem, Ore. -- The City of Salem Urban Development Department will accept proposals for the 2018 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership, and General Fund public service programs beginning Dec. 5.

The purpose of the CDBG Program is to benefit low to moderate-income households by funding projects that revitalize neighborhoods, increase affordable housing, expand economic opportunities, and/or improve community facilities and services. The HOME Investment Partnerships program funds a wide range of activities that build, buy, and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent, or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people.

The application cycle opens Dec. 5, 2017 and closes at 5 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2018. Projects or programs applying for funding must be located and serve persons at or below 80% median family income, residing within the city limits of Salem and Keizer.

Those interested in applying for funding must apply via www.salemgrants.org by the Jan. 5 deadline. The application contains federal and local guidelines for all three programs, as well as the City's application process. Applications must comply with strict eligibility criteria. Special consideration may be given to federally funded projects or programs aligned with the following 2015-2019 priority goals: Promote Economic Development, End Homelessness, Expand Affordable Housing, and Neighborhood Revitalization.
The City will hold three application technical assistance workshops:

* Thurs., Nov. 9, 11 a.m., Emergency Housing Network (EHN) Monthly Meeting, Union Gospel Mission, 345 Commercial Street NE, Salem

* Thurs., Dec. 7, 9:30 a.m., City of Salem Urban Development Conference Room, 350 Commercial St. NE, Salem

* Mon., Dec. 11, 2 p.m., City of Salem Urban Development Conference Room, 350 Commercial St. NE, Salem

CDBG and HOME Investment Partnerships Programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are authorized by Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended. Funds are for the 2018 Program Year, beginning Jul. 1, 2018. The estimated entitlement allocation for the program year is $1.8 million. This published amount is subject to change based upon Congressional action. For more information, go to www.hud.gov.

For more information, contact Shelly Ehenger at 503-540-2494 or sehenger@cityofsalem.net. Si necesita ayuda para comprender esta informaciĆ³n, por favor llame 503-588-6178.

The City of Salem's Urban Development Department is committed to enhancing community prosperity through an array of programs in its four major service areas: Real Property Services, Housing and Social Services, Economic Development and Downtown Revitalization. The Urban Development Department: manages the City's urban renewal areas (URA) and redevelopment projects within the URAs; administers federally funded block grant and housing programs; provides loans and grants to eligible businesses, homeowners, and renters; and manages leases, acquires, and sells properties for the City.

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Mayor Chuck Bennett Thanks Salem Voters for Passing the Salem Public Library Bond - 11/08/17

As Mayor, I want to thank Salem residents for voting to fund the seismic upgrade of the Salem Public Library and parking structure. The Salem Public Library is one of the busiest libraries in Oregon, with nearly 1,600 people a day visiting our library to access the internet, check out library materials, or participate in one of the roughly 2,000 events held there annually. When businesses choose to relocate their operations and employees, they consider the overall livability of an area, and the quality of the city library is part of that equation.

These seismic and security upgrades will improve visitor, staff and volunteer safety when the Cascadia Earthquake strikes. The accessibility improvements will bring the library into full Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Thanks to your vote, the library will be able to serve our community for decades to come.


Thank you again!

Sincerely,

Mayor Chuck Bennett

Public Invited to "Age Friendly Initiative" Planning Meeting on November 8 - 11/02/17

On Wednesday, November 8, from 2--4 p.m. at Center 50+, the City will host a panel discussion on 'Transportation and Connectivity' for Salem's older adults. This will be the first in a series of meetings discussing livability in Salem. Residents are encouraged to attend and participate.

The Salem City Council made a commitment to make our city a great place for people of all ages. Center 50+ accepted the World Health Organization's challenge to develop an action plan to establish Salem as an Age-Friendly Community. Created in June 2005, the World Health Organization's Age-Friendly Community program helps communities prepare for a rapidly aging population and give increased attention to the environmental, economic, and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults. By doing so, these communities will be better equipped to meet resident's needs, regardless of their age.

Find additional information and project updates regarding Salem's Age Friendly Initiative at: http://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/age-friendly-initiative.aspx.

Center 50+ is Salem's premier non-membership community center providing programs and services to adults age 50 and older. Center 50+ serves more than 850 people a day and is located at 2615 Portland Rd NE, Salem, OR 97301.

Public Invited to Pedestrian Safety Study Results Brown-Bag Meeting on November 13 - 11/01/17

Concerned with an uptick in traffic-related pedestrian fatalities, Salem City Council commissioned a Pedestrian Safety Study in 2016 to provide insight into infrastructure and human behaviors contributing to crashes in Salem. The study was conducted by DKS Associates, a transportation planning and engineering firm with offices in Salem. DKS Associates analyzed information from 2011-2017 that included a combination of crash data, police reports, and field observations. Field observations were conducted at ten intersections and along nine corridors that were selected due to their high frequency of crashes.

On November 13, the City will host a brown-bag meeting to present the findings of this study and to provide a Question & Answer session. This meeting is open to the public and will be held at Noon in the Salem Public Library Anderson Rooms. Nationally recognized transportation expert Gary W. Schatz will provide a presentation that includes trends related to location, type, and severity of crashes, as well as contributing environmental and human factors. The presentation will highlight examples of site-specific safety improvement recommendations in Salem.

Findings and recommendations from the Pedestrian Safety Study will also be presented at the November 13, 2017 City Council Work Session. The Council work session will be held at 5 p.m. in Council Chambers, 555 Liberty Street SE. Council work sessions and meetings are also broadcast live by CCTV Salem on cable channel 21, and live streamed on the CCTV YouTube page (youtube.com/user/cctvsalem/) and City of Salem Facebook Page (facebook.com/CityOfSalemOR/).

Railroad Crossing Safety Improvements at Court Street NE, State Street, and Minto Island Road S - 10/27/17

On October 30, 2017, the City will begin construction of safety improvements at three railroad crossings: Court Street NE and State Street by Riverfront Park, and the railroad crossing on Minto Island Road S. These safety upgrades will prepare the crossings for a Quiet Zone scheduled to go into effect in February 2018.

Pedestrian access to Riverfront Park via State Street will be closed from October 30 through November 3 to allow for construction. The Minto Island Road S pedestrian access will also be closed for construction at this time. The work at the intersection of River Road S and Minto Island Road S will occasionally require flaggers to be present for traffic control.

At a later date, the Court Street NE entrance to Riverfront Park will be closed to foot traffic to allow for construction. It will remain open to pedestrians while the State Street entrance crossing is being worked on.

Construction is expected to have minimal, if any, impact on vehicular traffic on nearby Front Street.

This project was made possible due to savings from the Keep Salem Moving! Streets and Bridges Bond, passed by Salem voters in November 2008. Once implemented, it will be the second Quiet Zone in Salem.

City Hires Lead Consultant in Preparation for Riverfront Park Master Plan Update - 10/27/17

The City has hired Greenworks Landscape Architects as the lead consultant for the Riverfront Park Master Plan update. They will assist the City in community engagement efforts such as surveys and public meetings as well as developing design alternatives and cost estimates.

The Riverfront Park Master Plan was last updated in 2001. The update is needed due to many changes that have taken place in Riverfront Park over the past 16 years. This includes the recent acquisition of a 3.8-acre property formerly owned by Boise Cascade at the southeast corner of the park; the opening of the Peter Courtney Minto Island pedestrian bridge; the possible future expansion of the Riverfront Carousel; a future seasonal ice rink; and significant upgrades to the amphitheater and stage.

The first public meeting for the update will be held at 6 p.m., January 18, 2018, at Pringle Hall located at 606 Church St SE.

Residents who would like to receive email updates regarding the Riverfront Park's Master Plan update should sign up at bit.ly/riverfrontparkupdates. The City will post additional information on their website as the process moves forward.

Riverfront Park is the City's premier urban event park and hosts many events that draw in crowds from all over the region. It is located in the heart of downtown Salem and adjacent to the Willamette River. Its proximity to downtown Salem enhances the opportunities for connectivity to businesses, restaurants, entertainment, and other trails and parks. Learn more about Riverfront Park and other City parks at cityofsalem.net/activities.