NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: What’s happening around Salem in September

This is the first edition of Neighborhood News, a monthly Salem Reporter feature intended to highlight news or issues of concern to each neighborhood association.

Salem is divided into 17 neighborhood associations that meet monthly. They serve as a conduit to city officials for things like park improvements, road projects and planning and building. Learn more and find your association here.

Salem Reporter invited the chair of each neighborhood association to submit a brief news item or report highlighting the association’s work, upcoming activities or anything else of interest. We’re publishing all submissions here with light editing for style and formatting.

Our next edition of Neighborhood News will run in mid-October. Submissions must be received by 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9 to be included.

Contact Managing Editor Rachel Alexander with submissions or questions: [email protected].

Grant Neighborhood Association

Neighbors pitched in on National Night Out with brooms and power washers to give the 1-year old Belmont-Cottage Street Painting (the first in Salem) a gentle scrub. A paint touch-up is in the works for a future date.

At the association’s August meeting, Sam Skillern remains Co-chair, Marissa Theve moves from Vice Chair to Co-chair and Susan Napack has stepped in as Vice Chair (still serving as Communications and Outreach Chair.) Learn more about them. We are grateful that Jeanne Boatwright, our long time secretary, has agreed to stay on board.

Will Huffman tries his hand with a paintbrush while Zachary Herrmann waits his turn during the Grant neighborhood mural painting on Sunday, July 3 (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Highland Neighbors Association

Highland Neighborhood, nestled near Salem’s City Center on the northside, is gearing up for a vibrant September. As summer fades into fall, the community is thrilled to host its 3rd Monthly Cleanup Crew event!

Volunteers will assemble on Saturday, Sept. 16th, from 9 am to 11 am at Brooks Ave entrance of Center 50+. Bags, gloves, and trash grabbers will be provided courtesy of the City of Salem, so all you need to bring are comfortable shoes and a positive attitude. Join the effort for a cleaner Highland Neighborhood!

Additionally, mark your calendars for our upcoming Highland Neighborhood Association meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14th at 6:30 pm. The meeting is set to take place at the North Neighbors Resource Center, situated at 945 Columbia St NE, Salem. These meetings provide a valuable opportunity to stay informed about neighborhood developments, voice your opinions, and actively participate in decisions that shape Highland.  All residents are encouraged to attend and help make Highland Neighborhood an even better place to live. You can even attend via Zoom!

For more information, please contact [email protected].

Northeast Neighbors

Current neighborhood work includes:

  • Planning a street mural
  • Continuing to expand the 6,000 sq ft native Pollinator Garden in Englewood Park
  • Planting pollinator friendly flowers with the community at McRae Park, and rescheduling art painting to 2024
  • Working to advocate for pedestrian safety where a neighbor died while crossing Northeast Market Street
  • Watering newly planted trees at Englewood Park as part of an adopt-a-tree program
  • Partnering with the Salem Police Department to increase safety in the neighborhood
  • Reviewing plans for a proposed affordable housing development
  • Adopt-A-Street clean ups on the 12th St. Promenade
  • Planning educational workshops about the environment
  • Working to support our creative community
  • Recently holding the fifth annual Englewood Forest Festival 

Concerns include:

  • Continuing to remove graffiti in partnership with the SPD in both of our neighborhood parks 
  • Working with the city to advocate for cleaning up a suspected drug house with significant garbage 
  • The Call Center run by the Salem Fire Department has a new computer aided dispatch system which we understand might not share all calls with the SPD
Englewood Forest Festival on August 12, 2023 at Englewood Park. (Laura Tesler/Special to Salem Reporter)

Southeast Salem Neighborhood Association

The Southeast Neighborhood Association is a small engine with big dreams.

Founded in 1976, it spans the largest area, with 5,000 residents (and growing), 65% of whom are renters and 30% are Latinx or Hispanic. We are bordered by State Street on the north, I-5 on the east; from I-5 it goes west along Mission Street, south on 25th St.

More important than geography are the people we serve, the neighborhoods and parks we want to protect. The voices we send to the city for grassroots input on livability and growth.

SESNA has earned several Salem Parks Foundation Grants and Salem Parks Improvement Foundation grants for restoring the gazebo and basketball court at Aldrich park; adding play equipment to Richmond Park and tables and benches to Lee Park. 

And, we’ve almost single-handedly kept the city’s tiniest park, Mill Race, free of illegal camping, crime and litter. We thank neighbor Burt Eikleberry for that. He never gave up. Personal pride in SESNA means a lot – so it gets applauded — because like some associations, we struggle with engagement. The same folks who served on the board over 10, 15 and even 20 years ago, are STILL on the board. (If you’re reading this, live in SESNA and want to join, we need you.)

But we poke along, meeting every fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Wesleyan Capital Park Church. In person, all welcome.Oh, and our big dreams! One is to work with ODOT and the city to create Salem’s first covered, fenced dog park! (The “cover” is the HWY 22 over-pass, covering 14th and Tripp streets). Neighbors want to reclaim that space as a source of pride, not broken glass, litter and soot from illegal fires and camping. If you want an off-leash area in the winter for your dog, contact Shannon Priem at [email protected] to join our updates – and maybe help.

Southwest Association of Neighbors

On Aug. 1, SWAN members organized a National Night Gathering at Nelson Park. At least 45 people came. Police Officer Nowning, and City Manager Keith Stahley joined us and presented a certificate to the main organizer, SWAN board member Becky Miner. A variety of food was shared and cornhole was popular. 

Officer Nowning gave us a tour of his high tech police car. He also answered questions and discussed issues of safety in our neighborhood. Neighborhood Associations work to make Salem a great place to live and work. Get involved and be a part of making Salem better for everyone.

South Central Association of Neighbors

SCAN, the South Central Association of Neighbors in Salem, is now home to “The Halcyon Days,” the newest in the City of Salem’s street mural collection, established by code in 2022.  The outdoor mural painting took place Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. All SCAN neighbors are invited. A neighborhood party to celebrate the new mural was held on Monday, Sept. 4.

Designed by SCAN neighbor and artist Jessica Ramey, “The Halcyon Days” is sited at the intersection of South Leffelle Street and Church Street, at the southern end of Bush’s Pasture Park. 

A steering committee of SCAN board members and neighbors considered a number of sites in the broader SCAN neighborhood but focused on the area surrounding the park, enjoyed by many different users. 

Thirty artists, architects and designers in the SCAN neighborhood were invited to submit a design for the street mural. Three very competitive proposals were received, with “The Halcyon Days” selected.

 “The Halcyon Days mural celebrates our diverse history and the lasting ecology of our unique neighborhood,” said artist Jessica Ramey. “Long before white men settled in Salem, graceful Oregon White Oaks spread their canopies to shelter native fauna and flora. Just steps into the park, we can still discover the complex environment of animals and iconic flowers that connects us to this land.” 

Neighbors survey the progress of painting of the Halcyon Days Street mural at the corner of Southeast Leffelle and Church Street on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. (Laura Tesler/Special to Salem Reporter)

Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association

Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association will be at back to school nights at Schirle and Liberty elementary providing outreach materials and information on how to get connected with your neighborhood association.

The mural project has had sites reviewed by traffic planning and we will be continuing to work on this project for a hopeful spring painting date.

Secor Park received Salem Park Improvement Fund funding for a shade structure to allow for use of play equipment on hot sunny days.

An annual meeting date is set for October with an in-person meeting at Schirle Elementary School. We will coordinate with the city and school to ensure following any new policies and outreach before the event.

West Salem Neighborhood Association

WSNA is one of 17 hardworking Neighborhood Associations in Salem, helping to maintain and improve the quality of life in our cities, increase citizen participation in local decision making, and form an effective partnership between the city and neighborhood residents. 

The WSNA is directed by a dedicated group of people called the Board consisting of four officers and six committee Chairs. These folks (all volunteers) work tirelessly on behalf of our neighborhood addressing such issues as land development and affordable housing, access to essential services, environmental degradation, and loss of green space, and overburdened public services, transportation, and utilities. All these issues affect the future quality of life in West Salem. 

Please help shape the future of West Salem by joining us at our monthly meetings. An hour or two a month of your time can have lasting effects for our neighborhood. 

Upcoming October Meeting Highlights

Thursday, October 5th, 6:30 pm, Roth’s on Wallace Road

  • 2023/2024 Executive Officer Elections: Cast your ballot for the new Board! 
  • City Council updates presented by Councilors Miki Varney and/or Virginia Stapleton 
  • City of Salem Police Officer report
  • Committee Reports: Land Use, Watershed, Parks, Transportation, Houseless.
    • Updates include information about the new housing development on Orchard Heights Road, and requests for Salem Parks Improvement Funds (SPIF) grant ideas.
  • Open Forum: Neighborhood Participation and Meeting accessibility

STORY TIP OR IDEA? Send an email to Salem Reporter’s news team: [email protected].

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