A Year-in-Review

It’s the middle of December, and the holiday season is in full gear. We’re weeks away from a new year, and with so much craziness going on in the world, it’s easy to plow ahead and put the past behind us. But like Dick Clark liked to remind us before the ball dropped in Times Square, we need to slow down and be thankful for all the good things that happened throughout the year. So…here’s your WSNA goodness from 2023!

Executive Board – Fully Staffed and Actively Engaged!

If you read last month’s Westside, you might remember that WSNA held their annual election of officers in October. All vacant positions were filled, and the new board held their first planning meeting on October 26th. The main focus was to review year-to-date progress and make plans for the future. Top of the agenda was an update to the Mission, Vision, and Value statements, and setting goals to support that vision. All documents are being finalized and will be posted soon on our new website at https://westsalemna.com. We’re excited about the results and invite you to take a gander.

General Membership Goodness!

Word about our NA seems to be spreading as more WS neighbors and businesses take an interest and get involved.  This is exciting news, but the old statement, “It takes a village,” works for cultivating a strong community too. One of the main goals for 2024 is to expand our membership attendance and involvement. Monthly meetings have been changed to the first Thursday of the month, at 6:30, and two meetings will be held in other locations to provide more opportunities for people to join in. Meeting calendars can be found on our new website at https://westsalemnwa.com. We’ll send out notifications in advance, so please consider joining us. We can accomplish so much more with your help!

New WSNA Website!

And did I mention the new website? Another important goal for the coming year is to provide more timely communications in a more consolidated format. The launch of our new website, https://westsalemna.com, will relieve WSNA from posting on multiple sites (Facebook, the city, Neighborhood, etc.). The website is still under construction and a little dusty, but as we become more fluent in web design, WSNA information will be more timely and easier to locate. If you have wizarding skills in this area that you’d like to volunteer, we’d love to hear from you!

Guest Speakers!

Guest speakers can provide a wealth of information, corroboration, and support to a crowded room of interested people. For an NA, they can energize and inspire the community,  support local events or projects, educate and advocate, share insider knowledge, and offer new perspectives to ongoing issues. What’s not to love, right? The Board agreed and compiled a list of potential speakers to dazzle WS citizens in 2024. The Speaker Series began at November’s General Meeting with two big personalities:

Salem Mayor Chris Hoy was first on Novembers agenda. The mayor responded unscripted to an assortment of questions from WS citizens, spanning a range of topics. He answered each question thoughtfully, acknowledging the subject and providing insight to what the city can and cannot do. He also reiterated the importance of Neighborhood Associations and what can be accomplished when citizens collaborate proactively with government.

Mark Wardell, Team Lead for West Salem Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), was our second speaker, providing an update about what CERT is and its value to the community and how they help when a disaster overwhelms or delays professional response.

If you’d like to “submit-a speaker”, please email Mike Freitas at michaelfreitas9459@att.net.  As dates and speakers are confirmed, announcements will be posted, you guessed it, on the new website.

Park Upgrades!

WS parks secured several big wins this last year with the help of past WSNA Parks Chair, Linda Bierley. With funds granted from SPIF this past May, WSNA secured the purchase of a park bench to be located in Orchard Heights Park. The bench is slated to be installed in the Summer of 2024, on the top of the hill, next to the majestic Heritage Oak tree.

In addition, the Edgewater Trail in Edgewater Park was the recipient of two new picnic tables, hosted comfortably and securely on cement pads, providing year-round pleasure for local and visiting neighbors to West Salem.

There are several more projects in the works right now being helped along with the assistance of WSNA’s new Parks Chair, Pamela Garland. Stay tuned for more information, or if you’d like to get involved in this fun and inspiring committee, contact Pamela directly at pamela.j.garland@gmail.com.

Glass Birds!

Before Pamela became our new Parks Chair, she was the name and inspiration behind “Salem Seekers,” a project she envisioned and brought to life on the wings of little glass birds. Her vision was to “create a local activity – bringing people outside, reducing barriers and creating memories together, as a community.” And this she did, with enchanting success.

Working in association with Glass Art Oregon, 30 glass blown birds were “hidden in plain sight” in multiple Salem parks over the summer. Neighbors all around the city were invited to walk different parks, looking for the glass birds, and getting reacquainted with nature and our city. It was a success for the entire Salem area.

Neighborhood Mural!

Working tirelessly this summer with Travel Salem and their street mural committee, WSNA’s Park Chair helped to secure and implement one of Travel Salem’s neighborhood grants. With the specific purpose of beautifying  otherwise unremarkable neighborhood intersections with colorful street murals, the mural on NW 2nd and Kingwood Avenue, is the pride of the neighborhood. Spoiler alert! There may be another coming soon!

2nd Street Make-Over!

Members from the City Works Department provided an update on the NW 2nd street expansion project. The work is being completed in two phases, the first, finishing what can be done over the winter, the second starting next spring. The new road will provide better connectivity for commuters, while attracting more business to WS. The roads will be narrowed to provide traffic calming, allow for on-street parking, ADA ramps, curbs, sidewalks and crosswalks, new street lighting, and landscaping. Great renovation to our WS neighborhood, and a great way to end 2023.

And lastly, a holiday wish for you from your WSNA team. The spirit of the holiday is in the “togetherness” of the season. It’s in the thought you put into thinking about others. It’s a selfless time where we forgive, take stock of what’s important, and become better versions of ourselves. May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve. Happy holidays West Salem! Can’t wait to see you next year!