City News

UPDATE: City to support affordable housing development at former Salem General Hospital 

The Salem City Council met Monday, Dec. 4, and approved a purchase to facilitate the development of affordable housing at the former Salem General Hospital. Councilors also discussed their goals for the city’s forthcoming revenue task force.

Councilors Jose Gonzales and Virginia Stapleton were absent during Monday’s meeting, meaning unanimous approvals came from a 7-0 vote rather than the usual 9-0 vote.

Planning the revenue task force – VOTING ON DEC. 11

Councilors heard a presentation further detailing the upcoming revenue task force from Colleen Rozillis, a consultant at the firm Moss Adams, which will be managing the group.

Though councilors won’t solidify the plan until their next meeting on Dec. 11, the general goals and makeup of the task force was largely agreed upon in discussions during the presentation. Councilors will make final decisions and vote on the plan in the next meeting.

According to Rozillis’ presentation, the task force’s goals will be to evaluate the potential revenue options for bringing money into the city’s general fund and how those options will fit the city’s needs. They would work in conjunction with the city’s budget committee, who would plan spending and cuts.

The task force, which will not include council members, would have its first meeting toward the end of January, according to Rozillis.

Their recommendations would go to the council by July, according to the city’s Chief Financial Officer Josh Eggleston.

Once plans for the task force are finalized, the city will seek applicants to fill around 20 positions on the committee. Councilors discussed expanding the committee, and the feasibility of each councilor and the mayor making an appointment.

Rozillis recommended guidelines for representation on the committee, including representatives from the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, business owners, Salem climate action group 350, the Latino Business Alliance, a social service agency, the city employee union and a non-voting member of the State of Oregon’s Department of Administrative Services. Councilors expressed interest in adding a nonprofit representative to the mix. 

In response to councilor priorities of limiting barriers to attendance for low-income community members, Rozillis recommended a per-meeting stipend of $100 and making the meetings open to anyone’s children or other people in need of care. 

Councilors will consider the final plan for the task force on Monday, and applications will likely be processed through the existing boards and commissions applicant process

State grants for Community Action – APPROVED

Councilors unanimously approved $1.85 million in state grants for the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency for renovations at ARCHES Inn and for the Wallace Early Learning Center.

The state approved the funds for the MWVCAA during the 2023 session, and councilors approved grant agreements to pass the money on to the shelters.

The money will be used to renovate ARCHES Inn, which is a 80-room motel used for temporary shelter that connects people with mental health, drug treatment and permanent housing services. The funds will also be used to turn an office building into a Head Start classroom space, according to the agreement

Property purchase for affordable housing – APPROVED

Councilors agreed to facilitate a property purchase of the former Salem General Hospital grounds to be used as a future site for 120 affordable apartments. The city was asked to help facilitate the sale between Salem Health and developer Green Light, according to a staff report by City Attorney Dan Atchison.

The property is around 10.6 acres at the 2500 block of Northeast Center Street, near Yaquina Hall. Green Light plans to purchase the property for $4 million to build apartments, but has not been able to secure funds from Oregon Housing and Community Services which is “experiencing delays,” according to Atchison.

The vote means the city will buy the property for $3.8 million and sell it to Green Light when state funds become available, no later than January 2025. The city would not be required to pay for the property until next December, and anticipates that Green Light will be able to purchase it before then.

Green Light would pay the city a $50,000 transaction fee to compensate for costs to facilitate. Green Light would lease the property from the city for no cost until the sale is made. 

Public hearing on annexation – ADVANCED TO VOTE

Councilors unanimously voted to move an annexation of less than an acre to a second reading and an approval vote. 

The property, at 572 Hile Lane N.E., is slated for a multi-family development, according to a staff report by Community and Urban Development Director Kristin Retherford.

NOAA grant – APPROVED

Councilors unanimously approved an application to a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reconstruct the Upper Bennett Dam and fix the Lower Bennett Dam’s fish ladder. The dams are near Stayton and are co-owned by Salem and the Santiam Water Control District. 

Floodplain management – APPROVED

Councilors unanimously approved an update to the city’s floodplain management plan, which just had its five-year evaluation by staff and community stakeholders, according to Martin. The latest update was framed around climate change resilience, according to the listed goals.

City Manager Keith Stahley said during the meeting that the plan’s approval allows the city to participate in federal flood insurance programs.

Second readings

Councilors had second readings and vote on a changes discussed in the Nov. 27 meeting, including:

-Reclassifying Northwest Landaggard Drive as a local street and to extend Northwest Colorado Drive to connect with Northwest Doaks Ferry Road. The changes would accommodate the planned 436-unit Titan Hill Apartments that the council approved in August. – APPROVED

-An ordinance to change the city’s sign code which will affect the size and places that businesses can put up signs. The changes would limit the maximum size allowance for signs in windows near public streets to 50% of the total window space on the building’s facade. The changes would also extend the time period for sign permit extension requests from 90 to 180 days. – APPROVED

-Annexing a 48-acre territory at 7006 Sunnyside Road Southeast and 7102 Cains Place Southeast. – APPROVED

Public right-of ways – ALL APPROVED 

Most Salem streets are public right-of- ways controlled by the city, and are used for things like roads, bridges and utilities. 

Councilors approved the creation of several public right-of-ways:. 

-A reserve strip for access to Southeast Landon Street, labeled tract “A”.

-Access to a proposed extension of Talloc Avenue Southeast.

-A right-of-way at Simpson Street Southeast, preserving it for future improvement at Southeast 22nd Street. 

-A right of way for Northeast Fisher Road, which was improved in 2020.

Original story:

The Salem City Council will meet Monday, Dec. 4, to discuss the next steps of the revenue task force which will seek ways to raise money for city services, and will consider facilitating another affordable housing development near Yaquina Hall through a temporary land purchase.

How to participate 

The council meets Monday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. in-person at the city council chambers, 555 Liberty St. S.E., room 220, with the meeting also available to watch online. The meeting will be livestreamed on Capital Community Media’s YouTube channel, with translation to Spanish and American Sign Language available. Anyone may attend the meeting to listen or comment.

The public comment portion of the meeting takes place after opening exercises, such as roll call and the Pledge of Allegiance, and residents are invited to comment on any topic, whether it appears on the agenda or not. If a public comment does not relate to an agenda item, it may be saved for the end of the meeting.

To comment remotely, sign up on the city website between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday.

For written comments, email [email protected] before 5 p.m. on Monday, or on paper to the city recorder’s office at the Civic Center, 555 Liberty St. S.E., Room 225. Include a statement indicating the comment is for the public record.

READ IT: Agenda

Planning the revenue task force

In the council’s last meeting on Nov. 27, they approved the formation of a revenue task force which will seek new ways to bring in money and address the city’s budget deficit. 

During Monday’s meeting, city staff will present a proposed timeline for the charter, membership selection process and the timeline for the revenue task force. Following council discussion, city staff will present a final plan during the Dec. 11 meeting.

The task force will likely include around 20 community members, and the council hopes to draw applicants from a range of professions, backgrounds and incomes.

Consulting firm Moss Adams will manage the task force, which will also use consultants to conduct focus groups, polling and town halls. City staff do not have the capacity to facilitate the task force without the consultants, City Manager Keith Stahley said at the last meeting.

Moss Adams’ fees will cost the city $120,000, and engagement consultants Parachute Strategies will cost $55,000 and polling from DHM will cost $45,000.

State grants for Community Action

The council will consider authorizing $1.85 million in state grants for the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency for renovations at ARCHES Inn and for the Wallace Early Learning Center.

The state approved the funds for the MWVCAA during the 2023 session, and councilors will be considering grant agreements to pass the money on to the shelters.

The money will be used to renovate ARCHES Inn, which is a 80-room motel used as temporary shelter that connects people with mental health, drug treatment and permanent housing services. The funds will also be used to turn an office building into a Head Start classroom space, according to the agreement


Property purchase for affordable housing

Councilors will consider facilitating a property purchase of the former Salem General Hospital grounds to be used as a future site for affordable housing. The city was asked to help facilitate the sale between Salem Health and developer Green Light, according to a staff report by City Attorney Dan Atchison.

The property is around 10.6 acres at the 2500 block of Northeast Center Street, near Yaquina Hall. Green Light plans to purchase the property for $4 million to develop 120 units of affordable housing there, but has not been able to secure funds from Oregon Housing and Community Services which is “experiencing delays,” according to Atchison.

Salem Health “is unable to agree to further extensions,” so councilors will consider buying the property for $3.8 million and selling it to Green Light when funds become available, no later than January 2025. The city would not be required to pay for the property until next December, and anticipates that Green Light will be able to purchase it before then.

Green Light would pay the city a $50,000 transaction fee to compensate for costs to facilitate. Green Light would lease the property from the city for no cost until the sale is made. 

Public hearing on annexation

The meeting will include a public hearing on whether to annex less than an acre at 572 Hile Lane N.E. Councilors will decide whether to advance the move to a first reading for a later vote.

The move would change the territory, which is currently a lot, to multi-family residential zoning. If developed, the property owner plans to integrate walking, car and bike access between a multi-family development and the existing adjacent apartment, according to a staff report by Community and Urban Development Director Kristin Retherford.

The property would be in the East Lancaster Neighborhood Association, which said they hadn’t heard any complaints beyond construction noise, according to Retherford. The closest park to the development would be Royal Oaks Park. 

NOAA grant

Councilors will consider an application for a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reconstruct the Upper Bennett Dam and fix the Lower Bennett Dam’s fish ladder, near Stayton. 

A project estimate has not been defined at this point, according to a staff report from Public Works Director Brian Martin. The Santiam Water Control District, which shares ownership with the city, has committed $200,000 to the project.

Floodplain management

Councilors will consider an update to the city’s floodplain management plan, which just had its five-year evaluation by staff and community stakeholders, according to Martin. The latest update was framed around climate change resilience, according to the listed goals.

The plan includes goals and action items for managing flooding events in the community, and was first created in 2013, and had its first update in 2018. 

Second readings

Councilors will have second readings and vote on a changes discussed in the Nov. 27 meeting, including:

-Reclassifying Northwest Landaggard Drive as a local street and to extend Northwest Colorado Drive to connect with Northwest Doaks Ferry Road. The changes would accommodate the planned 436-unit Titan Hill Apartments that the council approved in August.

-An ordinance to change the city’s sign code which will affect the size and places that businesses can put up signs. The changes would limit the maximum size allowance for signs in windows near public streets to 50% of the total window space on the building’s facade. The changes would also extend the time period for sign permit extension requests from 90 to 180 days.

-Annexing a 48-acre territory at 7006 Sunnyside Road Southeast and 7102 Cains Place Southeast.

Public right-of ways

Councilors will consider creating several public right-of-ways. Most Salem streets are public right-of- ways controlled by the city, and are used for things like roads, bridges and utilities. Councilors will consider the following:

-A reserve strip for access to Southeast Landon Street, labeled tract “A”.

-Access to a proposed extension of Talloc Avenue Southeast.

-A right-of-way at Simpson Street Southeast, preserving it for future improvement at Southeast 22nd Street. 

-A right of way for Northeast Fisher Road, which was improved in 2020.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.