Neighborhood News is a monthly Salem Reporter feature intended to highlight news or issues of concern to each neighborhood association. Read our last installment from October here.
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.
Leaders of each association are invited to submit a brief news item or report highlighting the association’s work, neighborhood concerns, upcoming activities or anything else of interest. Submissions are lightly edited for style and clarity.
Highland Neighborhood Association
In collaboration with Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School, the Highland Neighborhood Association is excited to launch a bike collection drive aimed at supporting students in our community. The goal is ambitious: to collect 25 bikes that will provide students with a safer mode of transportation to and from school.
These bikes can be in non-working condition, as they will be refurbished by Northwest Hub, a local organization dedicated to empowering communities through bicycle transportation. While non-working bikes are accepted, it’s important that the metal frame is not in bad repair (rust is acceptable). The collection effort will extend through the end of December. If you have a bike to donate, your support is invaluable. Please send an email to [email protected] to coordinate your donation.
Together, let’s pedal towards a safer, more sustainable and connected community. Your contribution to this bike collection drive not only helps students but also promotes a greener and healthier Highland neighborhood.
Also our next Highland Neighborhood Association monthly meeting is Thursday, December 14th, at 6:30 pm. We’ll be meeting at the North Neighbors Resource Center, located at 945 Columbia St. N.E., Salem. For those who prefer to participate virtually, send an email to [email protected].
Morningside Neighborhood Association
An update on the Meyer Farm proposal by Geoffrey James, land use chair. (Editor’s note: read Salem Reporter’s prior coverage of the Meyer Farm property here.)
To try and protect the large Oregon white oaks on the property, the Friends of the Meyer Farm fought the subdivision approval all the way through the state Land Use Board of Appeals and the Court of Appeals and lost. However, recently they were successful fighting a property line adjustment separating the farmhouse and its 5 acres from the other 25 acres that had been approved by the city, and LUBA remanded that application back to the City.
There is a parallel track of hearings in the Circuit Court and a lawsuit between Trust and the majority of the Meyer Family trying to save the property from development.
The future of the remaining 5 acre parcel around the original farmhouse and remaining stand of large oaks is unknown, but there are three possible scenarios:
1. The plan, as announced by Councilor Trevor Phillips, is for the city to purchase the 5 acre parcel around the farmhouse. Funding would be from Parks Acquisition Funds that are collected as parks system development charges from all developers. That would add 5 acres to Hilfiker Park, and the city also wants to acquire an access strip to create a path to Hilfiker Park for the neighbors entering from the west.
2. The family wants to purchase the 5 acres back from the Meyer Family Trust. So, maybe that is up to the court. Anyway, it would require a willing seller. The next civil court hearing is Dec. 6th at 9 a.m. in Judge Thomas Hart’s courtroom.
3. The third possibility is that the developer gets to acquire and keep the 5 acres, in addition to the 25 acres, and so he would develop the whole 30-acres into standard single family home lots and streets. The neighbors obviously would prefer #1 or #2 because that would save the trees.
There have been a number of challenges in our neighborhood concerning safety, a man with an ax, and car thefts. But there is a lot to be grateful for- we have a friendly neighborhood and community where people reach out, talk with and help each other.
And hopefully good news that this property might see some improvement soon.
Northgate Neighborhood Association
In middle of August, 2023, Northgate Neighborhood Association was approached by an ex-chair asking if the association would do something about the numerous dirty syringe needles that her friend’s mother’s property was getting whenever the river receded after a huge rainfall. The property has the Willamette River at its bank, and so do some of her neighbors’ properties which are also getting dirty needles in a similar manner. When they informed their neighborhood association, they were only given a bucket with a grabber to pick up. They felt that did not resolve the issue as the daughter and husband team continued to pick needles at her mother’s property. They were so tired of it that they apparently reported to the ex-chair who took it seriously and brought it to NGNA’s attention.
Being an active association, NGNA decided to write a group letter to the city councilors, the mayor and city manager, to do something more. NGNA knew people used the Willamette for the Ironman just last summer. People go canoeing and kayaking, swim at the riverfront. Kids run barefooted, pets run around and more.
Claggett Creek runs by an elderly gentleman’s 7 acre property in Northgate. NGNA heard about the homeless people using his property. Then by Northeast Fisher Road private property, there were dirty syringes found in the drainage ditches. Encampments in the property were removed only to return. School children use the pedestrian walk on their way to and from school so that was a big concern.
But NGNA did not hear anything from the city. After waiting a little while, NGNA decided to write to the county and to the State Rep. Kevin Mannix. Now, Mannix took this matter seriously and took charge. He decided to call for a meeting in the beginning part of October. It consisted of Kevin and his staff, two people from the City of Salem, one representative from Marion County, the property owners and the daughter and son in law from Keizer and two representatives from NGNA. Mannix wanted the first meeting as a general awareness meeting of this situation. At the meeting, Mannix came up with this idea of no trespassing on greenways next to the river. That way, the syringe needles may not have to float in the Willamette River.
At NGNA’s October meeting, they were pleased to have Mayor Chris Hoy join as the first speaker. When the association chair asked him about dirty needles in the Willamette River, the mayor responded the U.S. Navy was cleaning the river during Navy Week. Well, it might have been a fast fix but there are more dirty needles again because we did not get to the source. Those who are addicted continue to throw syringes wherever convenient for them, and, if they are found in Keizer, they are bound to be found again all over the state as they float in the flowing water.
NGNA mentioned they are very proud of Mannix taking the bull by its horns. It is our belief and hope the state should get more involved. It was good of Kate Brown to offer land for the homeless to the city of Salem a few years back. But if the state can continue to help in a special program so that the addicted homeless people can be offered one location in each county which could be bulldozed flat by a contractor, build roofed places in different phases of no walls to more walls. NGNA said at the stage of no walls, those campers should not be managed until they get to stay in four-walled shelters. Otherwise, they will never come to live in a managed place. The concept is to do things slow and easy.
As you know, people who live in tents all over the streets in Salem are not being managed. But at least the people who will come to stay at the state-offered properties will 1) Not have to move around, which must be hard on the older homeless, 2) Have a state-run nonprofit agency bring adequate food daily to the shelter. 3) With familiarity of going to the dining area of the four walled shelter, eventually, the tented homeless under the roof will possibly feel comfortable enough to try out the sheltered home with the amenities. That will be the only place to be managed.
So, they are free but stay in one place, not scattered all over town. The idea is even if not everyone will consider this living condition, at least some will, and not be scattered inside the communities in Salem but be in a more permanent place. The homeless will have a choice of not having to continue to move around. Some of them are so mentally ill, they may need more coaxing and help than the others.
NGNA came up with this plan after much discussion and considerations. They hope it will work and be taken up to the state level.
South Central Association of Neighbors
We had a great Halloween in SCAN. In addition the Fairmount Parade, trick or treating at South Salem High School sounds like it was a huge success.
A local business in SCAN, Preserve Oregon, is running a winter coat drive.
Two landmarks in SCAN, the Deepwood House Museum, and the Bush House Museum, are both having holiday open houses on Dec. 1 and 8. Find more information on the Deepwood website.
Our next SCAN meeting is Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at South Salem High School library. We encourage anyone who has interest in the SCAN neighborhood to attend. SCAN includes Bush Park, the Lord and Schryver Conservancy, and pieces of Minto Island Park. We have a lot of territory with familiar and cherished Salem landmarks, so we encourage and expect participation from folks who live outside of our neighborhood boundaries.
West Salem Neighborhood Association
Our November 2nd General Meeting was jam-packed with valuable news and information. Chairman Mike Freitas provided an update on the annual Executive Planning Meeting held Oct. 26th. He shared the new mission, vision, and value statements along with supporting goals and a bylaw update. The new documents were streamlined to reflect the updated vision of the association, with new goals and action items to support them. General Membership passed all changes. New documents will be posted on WSNA’s new website at: https://westsalemna.com/.
Salem Mayor Chris Hoy was one of two guest speakers at WSNA’s Nov. 2 General Meeting. The mayor responded unscripted to an assortment of questions from WS citizens, spanning a range of topics that included:
- Salem Transportation Plan
- Avelo Airlines
- Fenced dog parks
- Payroll tax vote and next steps
- Citizen participation in NA’s
Mayor Hoy answered each question thoughtfully, acknowledging the subject and providing insight to what the city can and cannot do. In a common theme, he reiterated the importance of Neighborhood Associations and what can be accomplished when citizens collaborate proactively with government. Speed limit and traffic calming strategies can be implemented, programs and services can be enhanced to help our homeless, parks can be improved, and land, water and development projects influenced.
Our second guest speaker was Mark Wardell, Team Lead for West Salem Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT trains volunteers to assist when a disaster overwhelms or delays professional response. CERT members are trained to care for themselves and others in the first three days following a disaster. The outreach program is open to the public in group settings that can be coordinated by contacting CERT directly.
Please join us online at https://westsalemna.com, and at our next meeting, Thursday, Dec. 7th at 6:30 p.m. at Roth’s upstairs community room, accessible by stairs and elevator.
Clarification: This story was updated to clarify in the Northgate submission that Mayor Chris Hoy was talking about a river clean up that occurred during the city’s Navy Week.
Our next edition of Neighborhood News will run in mid-November. Submissions must be received by 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 11 to be included.
Contact Managing Editor Rachel Alexander with submissions or questions: [email protected].
STORY TIP OR IDEA? Send an email to Salem Reporter’s news team: [email protected].
SUPPORT OUR WORK – We depend on subscribers for resources to report on Salem with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more. Click I want to subscribe!