WSNA Neighborhood Association meeting


Meeting began: 6:32 pm

Meeting Adjourned: 8:05pm

Executive Board Present: Mike Freitas-Chair, Sara Campos-Vice Chair, Drew Strayer-Secretary, Maureen Zwicker-Communications, EM Easterly – Glen-Gibson Watershed Council, Steve Anderson – Land Use, Nick Fortey – Transportation.

Excused Board Members: Beverly Freitas-Treasurer, Pamela Garner-Parks

Presenters: Mayor Hoy with Councilor Guinn, Councilor Varney, Sergeant Guinn

Neighbors Participating: non presenters: 10

(NOTE: City Website lists start time as 6pm.  Mike will request Irma correct that going forward.)

Meeting opened with reading of WSNA Meeting Code of Conduct – Sara Campos, Vice chair

Additions to Agenda – None

Discussion of Minutes from October 5, 2023 meeting: Motion-EM Easterly, Seconded Councilor Varney, Passed

Approval of Minutes from October 5, 2023 meeting: Motion – EM, Seconded Maureen Zwicker, passed.

Treasurer’s report: Mike Freitas as submitted by Treasurer Beverly Freitas

Salem Police: Sergeant Alex Assay: update on dress rehearsal and Halloween went well.  Some significant and violent events, but handled well.  No pointed updates, so Sergeant Assay responded to community member questions: emergency and in-progress crime including graffiti – call 911.  Graffiti abatement line (503) 371-4264 or for noticed tagging and nonemergency line for any other issues.  Contact cards provided for interested residents.  Sergeant Assay directs a patrol team and works nights.    NOTE – Communications Chair Zwicker shared Salem Reporter request for public response on recent violent issues and gun violence.

Mayor Hoy, City of Salem: shared his experience in City office, growing up in Oregon, and previous work. Mayor then opened floor for public questions.

Qualifications to run for Mayor: over 18 registered voter and resident of Salem, obtaining 260 or more registered voters signatures on ballot.  and get the most votes in the election.

What about recent, much worse bad driving habits in downtown.  The City is trying to hire more police, but turnover loss does not allow us to get more police officers. Fixed site speed alerts are being used to help.

Red light cameras and speed on green at high accident intersections.  He’d like to have more of those.  Also working to reduce some speed limits.  Frustrated by silly ODOT speed limit change processes that take a long time.  Residents and neighborhood associations can request traffic calming devices, narrower road, and speed humps, and taking 4 lanes down to 3.

What is attendance like at other NAs?  WSNA’s participation is pretty typical and a bit larger than some.  Resident participants are generally older and white and retired folks with a smattering of younger folks.  Wanting to change participation on boards, commissions, and NAs to be more reflective of the community.  The Mayor introduced a motion a few years ago to hold dual-language with ASL at all City meetings.  Recently engaged with University of Oregon for the program: sustainable cities year and had classes address city issues incl. communication to underrepresented community members and to bolster attendance and participation in boards, commissions, and NAs.

What is the latest on the unhoused: just opened the latest micro shelter on Turner Road for young adults. After the one on Center street for anyone and the one on Portland Road for families – in addition to the navigation center that opened in May.  You can have a pet or partner or be intoxicated and enter, but can’t use drugs or alcohol on premises.  3 project turnkeys (hotels turned shelters) one for Domestic Violence survivors, one for veterans, and 3rd.  SOS team of veterans and retired officers to engage unhoused in dangerous situations and encourage them to move to safer situations and services.  2 permanent supportive housing locations: Fisher Rd from 2020 and Quinna (SP?) hall on OSH hospital grounds and Sequoia Crossing for families.  Also addressing the issue from a regional approach via the Mid-Willamette Homelessness Commission.  about 1,000 shelter beds total.

Why are there only 2 shelters for youth, and they are somehow supposed to serve multiple counties?  Another youth shelter is set to open in Monmouth.  Dallas is set to open a micro shelter for anyone – this will alleviate the need for Dallas residents coming to Salem for services when they become homeless.

Can we drop the speed limit on 22 coming into town from 55 to 45?  Get ahold of your State Rep Paul Evans and he will have influence over the Dept. of Transportation, as well as Senator Deb Patterson.

What about the bridge?  I feel it is a regional and state issue moreso than a city issue.  Truck traffic should be diverted and covered by other entities.  The bond will upgrade much but all would have to be diverted if we had to build the bridge.  I tried to levy taxes but not sufficient to meet this need.  But our gas tax situation and all tax situation is broken.  Cars are so efficient now; we don’t buy as much gas as we used to and so less money is coming in from taxes.

On 22 west turning onto Doaks Ferry it is more than 90 degrees and is scary.  I turn from the bike lane which is not appropriate.

I now have a dog but no fenced dog park in Salem, I have to go to Keizer.  Why don’t we have one in West Salem?  There is a fenced dog park at Orchard Heights.  A new one is going in on State Street.  We can’t put the fence at Minto-Brown due to seasonal flooding.  NOTE: SPIF grants may be able to help with fencing for a West Salem park.

We are beginning work on Marine Dr. (NOTE: design work).  And hoping to do some park improvements.

What is the status of the transportation system plan.  It is so wonky but will guide how we develop roads and everything for the next 20 years.  Getting ready to start that next year.  Got through Our Salem last year and in 2024 will start work on the transportation plan.

How was the trip, the plane ride on the new airline in Salem?  Trip down was amazing.  I highly recommend Avelo.  It is ultra low cost, and can fly to Vegas for $40 – assuming you don’t have an assigned seat and bring no bags.  A small glitch on the way home – 1 hr mechanical delay.  Once you land you can be home in 30 minutes.  Its not fancy and its cramped, its basic, but we started!  Flights are surprising: Burbank and Vegas – Burbank is full almost every time  Vegas is about 85%.  We are their best West Coast launch.  They are talking about more routes and more days on existing routes.

How were the routes determined? Travel Salem has a consultant that searched zip codes on credit cards flying out of PDX to determine best daily routes from Salem area zip code card-holders.  Oakland is probably next and then Tucson.  What is holding us up now is supply chain.  They buy used planes from Southwest Airlines and Southwest is holding onto their’s while waiting on planes from Boeing.  Trying to get another airline, but nothing yet.  And Avelo is not flying across country yet – not their model.  Possibly Denver soon.

What happens if people vote no on the payroll tax?  No one wants to impose taxes, so we will either try to find revenue – levy or increase taxes, going to the legislature, and if we don’t find sufficient revenue, we will have to make cuts and I am not willing to make that level of cuts.  I think it will be really close, but if it fails, it is not the end of the story and then we’ll need to find another answer.  And maybe we all have different pictures of what that looks like.  Taxes cover 75 percent of police and fire and nothing for anything else: library, parks, homeless, etc.  We need tax reform and this kicker is the dumbest thing ever.  We don’t get a dime from income tax, we depend on property taxes.  Our three largest employers don’t fund city operations with one dime.  NOTE: The state leases a bunch, though.  But they do own some and if the State was to pay taxes like us, they would pay 7.5 Million.  Our tax rate is $5something, but Keizer’s is $2something.  Eugene with 1,000 more employees has a permanent tax rate of $7something.  Happy Valley has the highest per capita income in the state and their tax is 62 cents – they do everything with a levy.  On the Marion County side of the river, we are in compression.

Why not have a tiered tax built on house square footage?  Tiered is too difficult for our staff and too expensive for state to admin.

We gave staff direction in a work session or council, but it will be participatory planning and recommendations for the system using a task force and community engagement.

Thank you so much.

NOTE: Edgewater speed limit reduced to 25.  2nd street is traffic calming with trees, crosswalks, and constraints at the intersections.  2nd street construction is slowing for the winter and will finish next year.  This will also help with redevelopment for that area.

Mark Wardell with CERT: has lived in West Salem for 5 years and volunteered with CERT for almost that long.  CERT is managed at top by FEMA and through City (Joe Hutchison, Emergency Manager) to our volunteer organization.  CERT responds to extreme emergencies when first responders cannot.  Cascadia Subduction will have fire and police busy doing important things but they won’t be able to come to each of our homes – that is where community emergency response team (CERT) volunteers support till ”real help” arrives.  CERT hold quarterly mtgs in January, March/April, July, and October.  There is internal training offered in preparedness.  I am the new leader and trying to take this training out to other people in the community to be better prepared in their homes, churches, civic groups, etc.  This outreach program is open to a church group, civic group, or group of neighbors.  I’ll be in your (WSNA) meetings from time to time and bring outreach materials.

How many CERT supply caches: 3: SalemTowne, Orchard Heights Fire Station, Peace Lutheran Church on Glen Creek.  Can there be heavy equipment stored there too?  Not at this time.  Number of volunteers?  Trying to answer as the new leader, but going through the list of 200 names to determine how many?  At our last meeting we had about 20.  Used to be 40-50 pre-pandemic.

In case of actual emergency, FEMA will connect with City EM, Joe Hutchison who will work with County for a unified effort.

Can CERT volunteers carry weapons since we will be on our own?  No they cannot.  If the bridges fall and with 200 CERT members to serve 80,000 people.  I would not expect our community to function differently than other communities where most people come together to help.

MAYOR HOY – we have boats and helicopters and assets like Polk Co Sheriff office and police officers who live here.  So West Salem is not on their own.  Oregonian reports toxic vapors will kill thousands if there is a major earthquake.

Councilor Varney: City Council – What is the agenda for the next City Council meeting?  I haven’t seen the agenda, but there are 3 public hearings.  One is the code amendment for environment and public parking, solid waste collection service rates, and sign code amendments.  Sign code may remain open until later.  Public Hearings are a great chance to review materials and come down and provide public comment.  These are all things that impact us.  I am council liaison to parks and recreation board.  Wallace Marine with softball complex saw a 23% increase in all sport camps and fun runs and safe & outdoors camp.  Parks & Rec offers waivers and even free admission for some of the camps.  Softball and kickball leagues are popular: softball spring summer and fall with 175 teams and 1155 games. And 25 tournaments 453 teams and 5.5 million economic impact to our area.  Also, the revenue task force is thinking of ways to put the task force together and in 2018 had 14 members as stakeholders from business and elsewhere, but we want to broaden it for more equitable representation this time.  We are going to pursue it regardless of what happens in 5 days with the payroll tax vote.  It is not the perfect approach but part of an approach.

Solid waste committee – We’ve toured 6 solid waste companies in 2 counties.  Rate setting is needed to assure companies have an operating margin of 10% returns.  We hope to save staff time and do this in 2-year increments instead of every year.  Haulers have been operating much lower return rates.  Proposing 5.61%.  $58.10 every 2 months will increase $3.15 for 2024 and $2.30 in 2025.  These are all significantly lower than Marion Co.  $68 in Marion Co.

Why 2 companies in West Salem and boarder area, why not just one?  They are franchises and they have the territories they serve.

How is it determined if you get yard debris containers or not?  Has to do with the county decision by Councilors.

NOTE: the change fee would take about 2 years to recoup the cost of shifting to a SMALLER can!  City was not notified of that fee in the structure.  Also, you can sign up for every other week and on demand pick up, as well.  Check it out.

BYLAW addition: for vote tonight. (Text was posted visually and read aloud.) “Section 4: Communication” complete draft additional language.  Motion to discuss addition to bylaws: Motion-EM Easterly, seconded-Steve Anderson, motion passed.  Bylaws will be reviewed, word smithed, and brought back to general meeting for 2 sessions to vote to approve.

Executive Board Planning Session

Meeting on October 26th.  Org Chart displayed visually.  Creating Calendar for general meetings and Executive Board meetings.  No January and no July 4th meeting.  2 meeting sites in 2024 will be set at locations other than Roths: April TBD and August at a Park TBD.  Approved Mission, Vision, Values statements.  All of this will be published on the website.  GOALS statements were visibly displayed and read complete.  We are required by the City charter to update these each year.

Executive Board members: Mike, EM, Steve, and Nick met with the City to discuss the underpass walkway crossing Wallace at Edgewater.  Signage will be provided by the City – hopefully by Springtime.  EM, Steve, and Mike will meet with Planning Dept to discuss ways to collaborate more effectively.  Councilor Varney will plan to attend.


New update from Land Use: Monday at 6pm there will be a hearing re: Landegaard and Colorado.

November 11th at Eagle’s View there will be a tree planting event.

Due to time, all other Committee Updates will be posted to the website.


Next Meeting: December 7th at 6:30pm at Roth’s upstairs Community Room – accessible by stairs and elevator.