City of Salem
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Fun for All Ages is Popping Up in Downtown Salem this Summer - 07/19/19

Salem, Ore. – Opportunities for all ages to learn, play, and connect will be popping up throughout Downtown Salem from Mon., Jul. 22 through Thurs., Sept. 19. This free program, Pop-Up Downtown!, is open to the public and provides a wide variety of summer classes for all ages and abilities.

Featured pop-up classes include arts and crafts, jewelry making, music, public transportation, Spanish, fitness, floral arranging, and cooking. A full schedule of available classes, locations, and times is available online. Class locations include the Wednesday Farmers Market, the Alley Plaza behind JC Penney, Riverfront Park Amphitheater, and Pringle Hall.

A free shuttle from Center 50+ to Downtown Salem is available on Wednesday mornings. The bus departs at 10:30 a.m. and returns at 1:30 p.m.

The Pop-Up Downtown! program is free to the community as a result of AARP Community Challenge grant funding. The Center 50+/City of Salem was one of three communities awarded the AARP grant in Oregon. The grant is part of an AARP initiative to help communities become great places to live for residents of all ages. In 2019, the AARP Community Challenge grant program distributed nearly $1.6 million among 159 grant winners.

Additional information about the Pop-Up Downtown! free summer classes is available by calling 503-588-6303 or emailing Connect50plus@cityofsalem.net.

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Street Closures for 2019 Hoopla Basketball Tournament - 07/18/19

Hoopla is a 3-on-3 basketball tournament involving more than 950 teams, 3,500 participants and 700 volunteers. Event information can be found at http://oregonhoopla.com.

Beginning Monday, July 29, at 6 p.m. through Sunday, August 4, at 8 p.m., the following streets in the State Capitol area will be closed for the Hoopla Basketball Tournament:

  • Court Street NE between 12th Street NE and Cottage Street NE
  • Waverly Street NE between Court Street NE and State Street
  • Winter Street NE between Court Street NE and Chemeketa Street NE

Additional streets will be closed beginning Friday, August 2, through Sunday, August 4:

  • State Street between Winter Street NE and 12th Street NE beginning at 2 p.m.
  • Cottage Street NE between Court Street NE and State Street beginning at 6 p.m.

All streets are expected to be reopened by Sunday, August 4, 2019, at 8 p.m. Drivers should avoid these areas or anticipate delays due to congestion.

Nicole Utz to Lead the Salem Housing Authority - 07/18/19

Salem, Ore. — Nicole Utz has been appointed to lead the Salem Housing Authority as its administrator. She was serving as the Interim Administrator for the Housing Authority after Andy Wilch, the previous Administrator, retired earlier this year. Utz has worked in the Salem Housing Authority for 15 years and has experience in nearly every aspect of the organization’s operations.

“I am thrilled that Nicole has agreed to be the Salem Housing Authority Administrator,” says Salem City Manager Steve Powers. “She has the expertise, experience, and passion to guide the housing authority and continue the good work serving those who need housing.”

For 14 years, Utz was the manager for the Salem Housing Authority’s Property Management and Maintenance Department. She also was instrumental in the development and success of the Homeless Rental Assistance Program, and is a driving force for current efforts to build affordable housing that meets the needs of those experiencing mental illness and behaviors associated with chronic homelessness.

About the Salem Housing Authority

The Salem Housing Authority’ mission is to assist low and moderate-income families to achieve self-sufficiency through stable housing, economic opportunity, community investment, and coordination with social service providers. Established in 1969, the Salem Housing Authority serves approximately 9,000 Salem-area residents with safe and affordable rental housing assistance. The Salem Housing Authority is also part of the Emergency Housing Network which brings together hundreds of community partners to network and coordinate with other advocates and agencies serving those who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. Learn more about the Salem Housing Authority by visiting www.salemhousingor.com.

Movies in the Park Returns for 2019 with Ralph Breaks the Internet - 07/06/19

Salem, OR – On July 13, the City of Salem's free Movies in the Park series opens in Riverfront Park with Ralph Breaks the Internet. Bring your low-back chairs, set out your blankets, and break out the snacks and join your family, friends and neighbors in this Salem summer-time tradition. No alcohol is permitted at Movies in the Park.

Movies start at dusk and are shown on a 24-foot screen in the Riverfront Park Amphitheater. Subtitles are provided on a separate screen. There is no charge to attend; however, donations are welcome.

Movies in the Park Schedule:

  • July 13Ralph Breaks the Internet, PG, 1 hour 51 minutes, starts ~9:00 p.m.
  • July 20Moana, PG, 1 hour 51 minutes, starts ~9:00 p.m.
  • July 27Mary Poppins Returns, PG, 2 hours 10 minutes, starts ~8:45 p.m.
  • August 3Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, PG, 1 hour 57 minutes, starts ~8:30 p.m.
  • August 24Solo: A Star Wars Story, PG-13, 2 hours 15 minutes, starts ~8:00 p.m.

Visit Salemmoviesinthepark.com to learn more! Interested in helping with Movies in the Park? Volunteer today!

Sponsors:

Movies in the Park is made possible with generous support from the City of SalemT-Mobile, Selma and Bud Pierce, Allied Video Productions6 Foot 8Mr. Video and Salem Health Hospital & Clinics.

Water Treatment System Upgrades Working, Long-term Improvements Moving Forward - 07/03/19

Salem’s water is clean and safe to drink thanks to water protection measures put in place at the City’s water treatment facility over the past year. Test data shows that these measures are removing cyanotoxins from the raw, untreated North Santiam river water.

“We’ve made a lot of upgrades to protect Salem’s drinking water and the upgrades are working,” says Peter Fernandez, City of Salem Public Works Director. “Safe drinking water for Salem residents and businesses is our priority. Like every holiday, we’ll be working over the 4th of July weekend to ensure clean drinking water for Salem’s homes and businesses.”

Since last year, the City of Salem has developed multiple ways to protect against cyanotoxins. Examples include vigorous testing to provide early warning and upgrades to treatment procedures. If a drinking water emergency happens, the City will inform the public through its Community Alert System, notice to the media, the City’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and on a webpage dedicated to drinking water information.

Design is also under way for an ozone generation system at the water treatment facility that will protect Salem’s drinking water long-term. Once construction is complete in 2021, the new system will offer additional benefits:

  • Protects against bacteria and pathogens, including cyanotoxin, and is able to handle future changes in source water conditions.
  • Produces water that is pleasant tasting, year-round.
  • Reduces the amount of chlorine needed for disinfection.
  • Complements existing Geren Island Water Treatment Facility biological filtration process.

Ozone installations are increasing in Oregon and across the U.S. due to its ability to provide multiple water quality benefits. For more information about the City of Salem’s drinking water and how it keeps Salem’s water clean and safe, please visit cityofsalem.net/drinking-water.

New playground For McKay Park; Groundbreaking on July 11, 2019 - 07/02/19

Salem, Ore. — McKay Park in Salem’s North Lancaster Neighborhood is getting a new playground. To celebrate, the whole Salem community is invited to a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Ward 6 City Councilor Chris Hoy, Salem Parks Foundation President Carol Snyder, and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Chair, Kasia Quillinan will be present at the ceremony. Refreshments will be served following the ceremony. McKay Park is located at 2755 Hollywood Drive NE, north of McKay High School. The new playground will be ready for kids to play on by early fall.

Salem Parks Foundation President said, “Salem Parks Foundation is excited and grateful!  Thanks to the generosity of many, many donors we will soon have a wonderful new playground at McKay Park.”

Originally built in 1980, the City has had to remove many pieces of the McKay playground over time due to aging. At a City Budget Committee Hearing in 2017, representatives from the Salem Parks Foundation asked the City for help building a new playground for McKay Park. The Foundation offered to raise the funds for new play equipment and installation if the City would pay for the site preparation, playground seating areas, replacement fall material, and new pathways. The Salem City Council agreed with the Foundation’s proposal. By the end of 2018, donations from the community, private grants, and corporations raised the funds needed to purchase the play equipment. North Lancaster Neighborhood Association also supports this project and raised funds through the Salem Park Improvement Fund and the Salem Parks Foundation for pieces of the play equipment and a bicycle rack for the playground.

The total cost of play equipment and installation is $96,574.

The following is a list of major donors giving $500 or more:

Foundations: Oregon Community Foundation, Autzen Foundation, Salem Foundation, William S. Walton Charitable Trust, Walmart Foundation

Individuals and groups: Alan Alexander, Ken & Linda Bierly, Roberta Dolp, Robert Emanuel, Nikki Freepons, Don & Roth Roberts, Dan & Kathleen Saucy, Carol Snyder, Dan & Catherine Snyder, and descendants of Governor Douglas McKay.

Individual donations ranged from pennies in a donation jar at a soccer festival to a $10,000 check.

Downtown Salem Parking Garage Permit Changes Effective July 1 - 06/28/19

Salem, Ore. – As of Jul.1, 2019, downtown residents who live within the Parking District Boundary and want to meet residential parking needs (day or night) in a City-owned parking garage, will be required to purchase a permit.

The permit is only required in City-owned and operated parkades in downtown Salem: Marion Parkade, Chemeketa Parkade, and Liberty Parkade.

Downtown residents can purchase the new permit online or by calling 503-588-6256.

On May 28, 2019, Salem City Council passed Ordinance Bill No. 2-19, amending Salem Parking Revised Code Chapter 102 which includes a permit requirement for downtown residents parking in a City parking facility.

Additional information about parking permits throughout the City is available online. For questions regarding the new ordinance, call 503-540-2495.

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2019 Independence Day Holiday Closures - 06/27/19

Salem, Ore. — The Salem Public Library and some City of Salem offices will be closed on Thursday, July 4, 2019. All offices will reopen at normal business hours on Friday, July 5. These include:

All emergency services and the 24-hour Public Works line (503??'588??'6311) will be available without interruption. We will be also working through the holiday to protect Salem’s drinking water

For more information or to confirm hours of operation for a specific office, please use the City of Salem directory to contact the office directly.

Planning to enjoy the festivities? The City will hold its annual fireworks show in Riverfront Park. And don’t forget these fireworks safety tips from the Salem Fire Department.

What you should know about the City of Salem 2020 Budget - 06/26/19

Salem, Ore. — On June 24, 2019, the Salem City Council adopted the 2019-2020 budget. The budget goes into effect July 1, 2019.

While the City of Salem is in good fiscal health overall for a $632 million enterprise, it faces some challenges. The challenges are most severe in the City’s General Fund. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the General Fund?

The General Fund is like a checking account. The City’s General Fund supports public safety, planning, code enforcement, public library, social services, municipal court, parks and recreation, and other services that provide a citywide benefit. To pay for these services, Salem is using working capital, which is like money in a savings account. As a result, the City will be unable to pay for these services at current levels. Revenue the City receives from taxes, fees and other sources must be enough to cover the cost of providing the services Salem residents ask for.

One way to measure the City’s financial health is how much working capital is left after we pay for services supported by the General Fund. Without changes to the services we provide our community or to our revenue sources, the City’s General Fund working capital will be gone by June 30, 2022. This means we will not have enough money to pay for these services. We will not be able to continue doing all we do. There are big decisions ahead for our community.

These changes will have an impact in our community. We continue to make changes inside the organization save money and cut costs. We reduced the number of staff in the General Fund by the equivalent of 6.75 full-time positions. Several currently vacant positions will remain vacant. The Deputy City Manager position is being repurposed to a Chief Financial Officer, who will also assume Budget Officer duties.

How did we get here?

  • We have stepped in where our community has asked the City to fill gaps. In the 2017 Strategic Plan, residents told the City to do more to provide affordable housing and serve the homeless in our community. Traditionally, this valuable work has been outside the City’s core service areas. This continuing commitment, in addition to costs of ongoing services, outpaces available funding.
  • We’ve restored services. The Great Recession forced us to make big changes in 2009 and 2013 to the services we were able to provide. We closed two fire stations, reduced library hours, recreation services, and support to neighborhoods. Since then, we’ve re-opened the two fire stations and have made improvements to services the community expects and values.
  • Costs of services are increasing. City services rely on people. Costs to provide service have increased as the cost of public sector retirement escalates and as Salem remains a competitive employer in a robust job market.
  • Revenues are not keeping pace and community needs exceed available resources. This situation has taken time to develop and is rooted in property tax ballot measures from the early 1990s which capped property tax revenues. As a result, the money the City receives from property taxes is not keeping pace with inflation, population and development growth, and the increasing costs of City services. This year (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019), expenses are estimated to be $5.2 million more than the revenues we take into the General Fund. The General Fund supports Police, Fire and emergency medical services, the Library, operating Salem’s parks, and supporting Salem’s neighborhoods.
  • Other sources of funding are limited to specific services or projects. For example, a portion of State-collected gas taxes helps pay for streets and bridges. Water fees paid by residents, businesses and other local customers can only be used to pay for new drinking water treatment, equipment, and pipes to get the water to your home and business. Funds from recent voter-approved bonds for a new police station and upgrades to the Salem Public Library can only be used for those projects.
  • Being more efficient helps but is not enough. We are always looking for ways to be more efficient and continue to provide high quality services the community expects. To be good stewards of the public money entrusted to us, we are using technology in new ways and changing the ways we provide services, using more energy efficient products, charging for services that make sense, and engaging volunteers and foundations to support community services.

Our commitment to you is:

  • To continue to improve. We will keep looking at our operations across the organization for opportunities to do things more efficiently and to continue to provide the high quality services our community expects.
  • To keep the conversation going. We will share how decisions could be made so that we can be more responsive collectively to the changing financial climate.
  • To plan and fine-tune changes in services to best meet the needs of our continually growing and changing community.

What’s happening next?

2019-2020: Considering choices for raising revenues. Last year, a task force looked at ways we could fill funding gaps with ideas for new revenue. If moved forward, proposed revenue options would help fund community services and programs. On July 8, 2019, the Salem City Council will consider options for new revenues to support City of Salem services.

2021: Updating Salem’s Strategic Plan. After conversations about what funding levels are right for our community, we can begin considering a new three-to-five year vision for Salem to guide how we grow and change within our means

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Fireworks Safety Reminder from Salem Fire Department - 06/26/19

Salem, Ore. — The City of Salem Fire Department wants Salem residents to have a fun and enjoyable Independence Day celebration by ensuring safe practices and legal use of consumer fireworks. They remind everyone to protect their family and property from fires and injuries by practicing the “Four BEs” of fireworks safety:

  1. Be Prepared Before Lighting Fireworks
    • Use only legal fireworks available at licensed fireworks sales locations.
    • Store fireworks out of children’s reach.
    • Always read and follow the directions on the firework’s label.
    • Place pets indoors; they are easily frightened by fireworks.
    • Always have water handy (a garden hose or a bucket of water).
  2. Be Safe When Lighting Fireworks
    • Only adults should light fireworks.
    • Keep matches and lighters away from children.
    • Only use fireworks outdoors and away from combustibles.
    • Light one firework at a time and move away quickly.
    • Keep children and pets away from fireworks.
    • Do not throw fireworks or hold them in your hand.
  3. Be Responsible After Lighting Fireworks
    • Soak used fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water.
    • Dispose of used fireworks and debris properly.
    • Never re-light a “dud” firework. (Wait at least 15–20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.)
  4. Be Aware of Laws Governing Fireworks
    • Use only legal fireworks.
    • Use fireworks only where it is legal to do so.
    • Fireworks are prohibited in City and State Parks.

Each year, the Salem Fire Department responds to many fireworks-related incidents. Some incidents cause significant damaged to vehicles and buildings. Of special concern are fireworks-related injuries. Young ones are most at risk. National statistics indicate children and teenagers are two-and-a-half times more likely than others to suffer a fireworks-related injury.

Fireworks are approved for sale in Oregon each year from June 23 through July 6. State-legal fireworks can be purchased from licensed retailers in Salem during this time period. Residents can also enjoy watching the large professional fireworks display at Riverfront Park on July 4.