We Love Our Parks!

Hello again neighbors! We’ve missed you! Your West Salem Neighborhood Association (WSNA), while out of print for a while, has not been sitting idly by. Board members, along with participating citizens, local businesses, and elected officials, have continued  the hard work of helping to maintain and improve the quality of life in our district. We’re excited to be back inside the pages of the Westside Newspaper to keep you informed and involved!

Don’t you think there’s something magical about spending time outside? Regardless of where you live or how old you are, when given more opportunities to enjoy nature and breathe fresh air, people become happier, healthier individuals. And while we can’t always get away to the mountains or the coast, we can step into the magic offered by the many parks that dot our West Salem neighborhood.

These parks are dedicated spaces, thoughtfully sculpted into our communities to provide kids of all ages, a safe space to play, gather, and socialize. Here in West Salem, we’re fortunate to have eleven of these little gems scattered throughout our neighborhoods.

We’re also fortunate to have Linda Bierly as our WSNA Parks Chair for the past two years. Linda joined me for coffee recently at our local Urban Grange coffee shop. Drawing from the fragrant and cozy surroundings, she skillfully articulated the similarities, “Parks are like coffee shops,” she said. “They’re gathering places for people, animals, and plants. A place where all things can mix together (for the good of the neighborhood).”

Linda is small in stature, but she’s a mighty force in her campaign to keep our resident parks strong and vital. As a native Oregonian and resident of West Salem since 1979, Linda is passionate about our community and its livability for future generations. She has been involved in city issues since 1996, including serving two terms on Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and as an environmental health advocate for the city. Linda volunteered to step into the WSNA Parks Chair role because she believes in the power of nature and its ability to build and hold communities together

As WSNA Parks Chair, one of Linda’s responsibilities is working with local agencies and non-profits like Salem Parks Foundation (SPF) and the City of Salem’s Park grant program, the Salem Parks Improvement Fund (SPIF), to obtain funding for projects that help maintain and improve the parks in our West Salem neighborhood.

Salem Parks Foundation (SPF) is a private non-profit organization that blossomed in 2000, from a small group of like-minded park advocates, concerned about the wellbeing of our local parks. SPF offers an annual grant program to city neighborhood associations for improvements to parks within their respective boundaries. With funds granted 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. If you haven’t made the short walk from the parking lot, over the creek, and up the hill to see this magnificent tree, you need to put it on your bucket list. And next summer, with a steaming cup of coffee in hand, you’ll be able to sit under its protective arms and watch the sun rise over the city. What an incredible way to start the day!

WSNA also stays connected with the  Salem Parks Improvement Fund (SPIF). SPIF was first established in 2006 to provide an opportunity for neighborhood associations to partner with the city to help make local park improvements. As WSNA Parks Chair, Linda submitted a grant that recently provided two new picnic tables on cement pads on the scenic Edgewater Trail in Edgewater Park. Within the first week, locals were enjoying the new tables, sharing stories over coffee, having lunch with the kids, reading books, eating ice cream, and just watching the people go by.

In her role as WSNA Parks Chair, Linda worked tirelessly this summer with Travel Salem and the street mural committee, to secure and implement one of their neighborhood grants. The grants were for the specific purpose of beautifying  otherwise unremarkable neighborhood intersections with colorful street murals. The endeavor was huge, but with the help and support donated from the following businesses and people, the mural on NW 2nd and Kingwood Avenue, is the pride of the neighborhood. Special thanks go out to the following:

  • West Salem Ace Hardware (provided all the painting supplies)
  • Urban Grange (coffee and treats all three days)
  • West Salem Lions Club (hot dog and chips booth)
  • Miller Paint (discounted paint)
  • Kraft Construction (iced treats at the party)
  • Northwest Human Services (pressure washed the pavement, use of restrooms, and the painting device at the party so kids could create their own paintings)
  • Salem Leadership Foundation
  • Edgewater Partnership
  • Volunteers!
  • And our wonderful artists Stephanie Juanillo and Kristen Kuhns, who donated their design and artistic services.

The mere existence of neighborhood parks offers incredible advantages to the mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing of the surrounding community, not to mention the economic, social, and environmental benefits that trail along with it.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to help? It’s time again for the SPIF grant cycle and we need your thoughts and ideas on how to make our parks shine. If you’d like to pitch your idea for your favorite park; adding new garbage cans, hosting an owl or bat condominium, or improving a trail, please submit your requests directly to Linda Bierly at: bierlyskl@gmail.com. Letters of Intent must be submitted to SPIF by October 31st, so please, reach out soon. Formal applications for funds will be submitted by WSNA no later than January 31st. See you in the park!

West Salem Neighborhood Association is open to all residents and local businesses in West Salem. Please consider attending a monthly meeting, we’d love to have you join us. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 5th, 6:30 pm, Roth’s on Wallace Road.