The lobby of Salem City Hall. (Salem Reporter files)
As Salem plans for the future, staff are undertaking a data project to be a sort of statistical crystal ball.
The city’s Community Development Department on Wednesday released a list of 20 facets of life in Salem it will measure and extrapolate for the years ahead for a glimpse of the city’s future.
By projecting the city’s growth with those 20 facets, or indicators, city planner Eunice Kim said Salem residents and leaders will get a sense of changes they might want to make.
“The whole idea is not so much to say ‘Hey, this is how the city is doing. Period.’ But to say ‘These are some general trends where Salem is going in the future, what do you think?’” Kim said.
Kim said there are about 80 indicators that planners and a consultant, Fregonese Associates, are calculating. The city will release the findings of all, but include only 20 in an easily digestible guide.
“It will come in a report card that will help the community, the (Salem City Council), everyone decide where we go from here,” she said. “Do we like where we’re headed? Or should we make some changes to our comprehensive plan policies.”
“We’re not throwing away any of the ideas people added to that long list in the public workshop,” she said. That data will be available to the public, Kim said, and those data points can be viewed on the city’s website.
The top indicators, listed below, will track things like employment mix, average wage, tree canopy, traffic and pedestrian actions, proximity to parks and trails. They were chosen based the city’s meetings with two advisory groups respectively comprised of politically active citizens and technical professionals. The city also hosted a public workshop.
Crafting the report and delivering it will end phase one of the comprehensive plan update, also known as “Our Salem.” The update, which guides everything from where homes are built to how parks are managed, was funded by Salem City Council in 2017.
The next phase, according to Kim, will have a yet-to-be-hired consultant take policy ideas to show how the data – the city’s projected future – would change.
“Phase two people could say ‘I think we should focus on this different area. We should do higher density here, lower density here, mixed-use here, protect more trees. Or, you know, not develop in the floodplain,” Kim said.
Dates for the report have not been finalized, Kim said. She said planners could show stakeholders by April and city council by June.
Welcome and Livable Community
Proximity to parks and trails
Infill development / redevelopment
Safe, Reliable, Efficient Infrastructure
Walk and transit friendliness
Access to frequent transit
Bicycle and pedestrian use
Strong and Diverse Economy
Annual level of service
Property tax revenue
Natural Environment Stewardship
Development in environmentally sensitive areas
Total greenhouse gas emissions
Air pollutant reduction
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