NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Candidate forums, treasures in parks, more April happenings

Neighborhood News is a monthly Salem Reporter feature intended to highlight news or issues of concern to each neighborhood association. Read previous editions 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.

Grant Neighborhood Association

Attendance at our April 5 GNA meeting in person at Broadway Commons and via Zoom topped the charts! Around 35 neighbors attended, many for the first time, including three Willamette University students who live in Grant and are doing a project about the Broadway Street corridor. Some neighbors credit our recent postcard mailing and these Salem Reporter neighborhood spotlights for bringing them out to meetings. Thank you Salem Reporter!

In addition to our standing reports from Councilor Virginia Stapleton and an SPD Officer, our Ward 1 representative on the City of Salem Revenue Task Force brought us up to speed on their progress in exploring possible revenue avenues for Salem.

In response to concerns about an increase of garbage in the area, we learned from a neighbor about her participation in Adopt One Block, a Portland group that engages “Block Ambassadors” to regularly pick up trash. The organization provides supplies like buckets & grabbers. 

Summer outreach activities were discussed, such as a Saturday Market booth, a block party sponsored by the Super Stop Market and Gas Station on Capitol Street, and a new street painting (our second!) at an intersection on the Neighborhood Greenway/Scenic Bikeway along Winter Street.

Our May 2 Annual General Membership Meeting will feature a potluck. Developers of the Truitt Brothers River Front Project are on the agenda as is a full member attendance vote on our newly refreshed and updated bylaws. 

For more information and to sign up for the monthly newsletter visit the GNA website or send an email.

Submitted by Susan Napack, vice chair

Highland Neighborhood Association

The Highland Neighborhood Association has launched into spring with activities promoting community spirit and sustainability.

Our recent kids’ spring clothing swap was a hit, drawing families from Salem and the Willamette Valley. Thanks to generous donations and the support of Center 50+ and Salem Neighborhood Services, dozens of families refreshed their children’s wardrobes for free. Surplus clothing was donated to the noprofit Helping Hands Resources. Building on this success, we’re planning another clothing swap at the end of August, just in time for the new school year. Consider donating outgrown items and contact [email protected] to help.

The Highland Neighborhood Association hosted a kids clothing swap at Center 50+ on March 30, 2024. (Submitted photo)

Our next meeting is Thursday, April 11 at 6:30 pm at the North Neighbors Resource Center, 945 Columbia St NE, Salem or you can join virtually via Zoom. A packed agenda features a Marion County Circuit Court Judge Candidate Forum, offering insights into judicial philosophies. Additionally, Quiet Clean Salem will discuss their mission to reduce noise and air pollution, focusing on phasing out gas-powered leaf blowers.

Don’t miss our Earth Day Community Clean-Up on April 20 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Highland Park, where our Clean Up Crew will lead efforts to beautify the area, with supplies provided. This event is a great way to contribute to our neighborhood’s environmental health.

Join these events to make a difference in Highland. We’re committed to fostering a vibrant, sustainable community and look forward to your involvement.

The Highland Neighborhood Association flier for an Earth Day 2024 event on April 20.

Submitted by Ryan Erickson-Kulas, secretary-treasurer

Northeast Neighbors

The Northeast Neighbors Association flier for a candidate forum on Tuesday, April 9.

Please join us for our Candidate Forum which will include Mayoral, Ward 1 City Council, and all Circuit Court Judge Candidates. The discussion for Circuit Court Judge Candidates will be broadcast at a future date on KMUZ Radio.

Pedestrian Safety

The deadline to request sidewalk repairs and traffic calming measures has been extended to April 15. If you have mobility issues, please note that in your request. Many of our sidewalks are not safe and we need your help to request funding for repairs. The City of Salem bond has additional funding to improve pedestrian access and safety.

In Person Revenue Task Force Outreach Meeting

April 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in North Salem, Center 50+, 2615 Portland Road N.E.

Advocate for services that are important to you. The City’s five-year revenue forecast reflects a growing gap between revenues and expenses. To sustain the current levels of service, additional revenue is needed or significant reductions in services will be required. 

Outreach and Committees

Much of the work we do in the community is outside of our regular monthly meetings. The Annual Neighborhood Cleanup in May, Neighborhood Watch, the Pollinator Garden, the McRae Mural, graffiti removal, park maintenance, and the Englewood Forest Festival, are some of the ways you can get involved and get to know your neighbors. Contact us at [email protected].

Submitted by Lynn Takata, chair

Northgate Neighborhood Association

In continuing with what was written for our Communities/Neighborhood section of the Salem Reporter, here are some fun things that happened at Northgate Park.

It was on a balmy spring day when Northgate Family Council’s agenda had numerous happenings at Northgate Park in the afternoon of Saturday, March 30. A fun Easter egg hunt, Pizza lunch, a special announcement about the art mural at the park, and spectacular Mexican dancing.

Seeing is believing so we have some pictures to share with you.

Children attend a spring easter event at Northgate Park on Saturday, March 30 (Courtesy/Eduardo Angulo)

First the indescribably adorable happy look of a child who found some Easter eggs. Photo compliments of Eduardo Angulo.

Then the lead artist, Kaethe, describing to a crowd of seated people about the art mural to happen at Northgate Park with Eduardo translating into Spanish. Photo compliments of Bayard Mentrum.

Next, see below the colorful twirling and swirling of skirts of Mexican folkloric dancers like human kaleidoscope. Photos compliments of Eduardo Angulo.

Dancers with Enlace Cross-Cultural Community Development Project perform at a spring easter event at Northgate Park on Saturday, March 30 (Courtesy/Eduardo Angulo)

Special thanks go to Amador Aguilar for his part in providing fantastic sound effects.

Also special thanks to Amador and to his wife, Veronica, for providing the dancing part. She is pictured below in the colorful green and orange dancing outfit.

Dancers with Enlace Cross-Cultural Community Development Project perform at a spring Easter event at Northgate Park on Saturday, March 30 (Courtesy/Eduardo Angulo)

Some of the people who came to this joyous gathering sponsored by Northgate Family Council, an active and great team of people chaired by Eduardo Angulo.

CPR class

Just to remind people in case they forgot to mark on the calendar, the Salem Fire Department will be giving out free CPR training class at the North Annex of Northgate Wesleyan Church on May 16 at 6:00 p.m. This is on a first register basis so if you are new at giving CPR or a bit rusty at it and need to be retrained, this is a good place to join in. Unfortunately, we only have a capacity of about 40 people so hurry on and register at [email protected].

Salem Seekers returns

Northgate Neighborhood Association proudly announces that Salem Seekers will be hiding 30 glass birds at Hood View Park, an uplifting and fun event throughout June. 

The Salem Seeker event will begin on the first day of June and end on the last day of June. Throughout the month, Salem Seekers will hide the birds (in plain sight) on different days and at different times. The hiding of the birds is intentionally sporadic to ensure a more inclusive event, allowing for community members to arrive at different times and days and still having the same chance at finding their treasure. 

 Salem Seekers is saying this will be the first of the season of 2024.  

We certainly hope other neighborhood associations will add Salem Seekers to their calendar to bring joy and happiness to their neighbors.      

-Submitted by Kaethe Mentrum, secretary and parks chair, with contribution from Pamela Garland of Salem Seekers

South Central Association of Neighbors

April in SCAN is all about you. That’s right, the people of our community are needed now more than ever. If you attended our March meeting and were concerned but ready to take action, the time to show up again is now. At our meeting on April 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the South Salem High School library, we will discuss two key ways in which community members can support our efforts to help our neighborhood thrive.

We need volunteers to help with the next steps of our recent heritage neighborhood designation. The first step in this process is updating the city inventory of eligible historic resources in our neighborhood. Volunteers will take pictures to document, as they are out walking, commuting, or as they have time, so that the city of Salem knows where historic architecture exists in our neighborhood. If you can’t attend our meeting, visit and use the “contact us” function to sign up. 

At our April meeting we are also proposing a new action group that will take on projects related to neighborhood engagement. If you are concerned about safety and security, cleanliness of parks, events and activities in our neighborhood, and many other topics, we need YOU to be part of this committee. As with our heritage neighborhood process, if you cannot attend visit our website to let us know you would like to sign up, or email directly: [email protected].

Submitted by Evan West, vice president

South Gateway Neighborhood Association

If you live (or work) south of Kuebler between Liberty and Interstate 5 in Salem you are a member of the South Gateway Neighborhood Association.

Would you like to make things better for our community or just curious what is happening in our neighborhood?

Come join us THIS Thursday, April 11th at 6:45pm. The meeting is hybrid so you can attend in person or over Zoom.

Several items on our agenda this month include: 

  • Engagement funds (and how we want to use them)
  • Q & A session regarding the watershed in our area (and how it relates to flooding)
  • City council update
  • Police department update 

For those wanting to attend over Zoom:

Meeting Link:

Meeting ID: 826 3718 2783

Passcode: 251748

For those wanting to attend in person:

Baxter Community Hall

1780 Baxter Road S.E., Salem, OR 97306

Please park in the parking lot south of the building. Parking off of Baxter is reserved for those with accessibility challenges.

The South Gateway Neighborhood Association meets at Baxter Hall (Submitted photo)


Feeling hungry and want to support Battle Creek Elementary School?

April 11th, 5-8 p.m.

Come buy dinner at Carl’s Jr on Commercial Street and help the fourth grade raise money to pay for charter buses for their field trip. 🚌🍔🍟👍🏻

ATTENTION: Residents of SGNA who retrieve their mail from the Vista Post Office (3624 Commercial St S.E.), forced to do so due to damaged mailboxes (thanks, mail thieves 😡), now need to visit the main post office on 25th Street to collect their held mail.

-Submitted by Dynee Medlock, co-chair

West Salem Neighborhood Association

Mayor and City Council Election: In preparation for the upcoming elections, WSNA invited candidates for Mayor and City Council (Ward1), to address a number of questions on issues facing Salem and the WS community. On behalf of the WSNA, we’d like to thank the Mayoral Candidates, Mayor Chris Hoy and Councilor Julie Hoy (no relation), and City Council Candidates, Paul Tigan and Celine Colman, for their willing participation. You can find their responses to our questions at our website at

Park News: It’s been a busy year for the WSNA so far, and Parks Chair Pamela Garland seems to be in the thick of most of it. Pamela submitted a grant application to the Salem Parks Improvement Fund in January. She received word that the grants were approved, and WSNA is now moving forward with three new projects targeted for completion sometime this spring. All three projects are slated for the Edgewater Park district, continuing the work to help restore the area and welcome residents back to West Salem’s historic Edgewater district. 

New signage on Edgewater Avenue in west Salem (Submitted by West Salem Neighborhood Association)

Grant Information: $1,000 for an Edgewater Park Sign, $3,500 for the creation of an Edgewater Information Kiosk, and $1,000 for new garbage cans to be located near the two new picnic tables purchased by last year’s SPIF grant money. There’s still talk about adding artwork to glam up the garbage cans, so stay tuned for more information. 

WSNA is also proud to be one of the sponsors bringing “Salem Seekers” back to the city of Salem. Pamela Garland, founder of Salem Seekers, approached WSNA last year looking to spread the word about her project and vision for getting people outside and back into our Salem parks. Salem Seekers will hide 30 glass birds in four Salem parks over the months of June, July, August, and September. Watch for more information on this delightful event or follow the fun on social media. For questions, email [email protected].

CPR Training: WSNA is working in partnership with the City of Salem to provide CPR training to residents of West Salem. Training will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, and will be offered free of charge, or at a very minimum cost. We’re targeting the month of June with pre-registration available on our website. Stay tuned for more information or visit our website at

Capitol Manor in west Salem (Courtesy/West Salem Neighborhood Association)

Capital Manor staff and residents welcomed WS neighbors on April 4 for the monthly WSNA general meeting. The venue and hospitality were amazing with over 70 people filling the auditorium to learn more about the NA and what’s happening in our local community.

The agenda was full and informational, and questions and conversations filled what little space was left. Nikki Phillips, Director of Marketing & Community Relations for Capital Manor kicked off the meeting with a brief history, then dove more deeply into Capital Manors commitment to community growth and involvement. WSNA is thrilled to have them as partners!

Neighbors at the April 2024 meeting of the West Salem Neighborhood Association (Submitted photo)

Salem Police Officer V. Salazar from the Community Action Unit gave a brief update on the recent homicide in Wallace Marine Park, then spoke about the importance of programs like the Neighborhood Watch Program in reducing opportunities for crime. He also stressed the importance of getting involved in order to understand what’s happening around the neighborhood. Volunteer opportunities are abundant and easy to find on the city’s website,

Guest speakers Josh Eggleston and Courtney Knox Bush provided a budget update and progress report on the city’s Revenue Task Force. The task force consists of 25 residents and business owners across the city, charged with identifying new ideas for generating revenue for the city. 

Gretchen Bennett, homelessness liaison for the City of Salem, provided an update that included information on alternative living situations, clean-up crews, plans for the restoration of the north side of Wallace Marine Park, and the expansion of Polk County homeless services. Volunteers are always needed and greatly appreciated.

Council members Micki Varney (Ward 8), and Virginia Stapelton (Ward 1) were both in attendance and provided updates from City Council. They asserted that the last City Council meeting was quiet, but the update they provided reflected anything but. Information included the recent vote to rescind the private ambulance contract in 2025, the news that the library is NOT (and never was) targeted for closing, homelessness stats that reflect the success of the City’s efforts in both Marian and Polk counties, the exciting return of the Soap Box Derby to Salem, and a reminder that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  

Upcoming Meetings

  • May 2nd  at 6:30 PM at Roths in West Salem. The Community Room, located upstairs, is accessible by stairs and elevator. The special guest speaker will be Representative Paul Evans.
  • June 6th at 6:30 PM at Roths in West Salem. 

For all the latest and greatest neighborhood news, visit our website at: 

-Submitted by Mo Zwicker, communications chair

Our next edition of Neighborhood News will run in mid-May. Submissions must be received by Monday, May 13 to be included.

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

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