June 17, 2014
Michael Livingston, Chair
Sarah Owens, Sect’y
Erma Hoffman, Treasurer
p=present a=absent e=excused
Residents: Barbara Castleman, David Dahle, Brian Hart, Rosa Leonardi Organizations: Bud Austin, United Gospel Mission (UGM), Director of Men’s Ministries, Aaron Eggers, UGM Vice President, and Mike Rideout, UGM President and CIO; A.P. Walther, Salem Weekly; Beth Manzo, Salem First Christian Church; Rick Yurk, BAM! Agency; Diana Dettwyler, Downtown Salem Strong
City/County Representatives: Officer Owings, Salem Police Department; Councilor Bennett, Salem City Council
A regular meeting of the CanDo Board of Directors was called to order at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at the First Christian Church at 685 Marion Street NE, Salem. Michael Livingston was in the chair with Sarah Owens as secretary.
Minutes of the May meeting were approved as amended.
Officer Owings reported increased enforcement action related to unlawful public consumption of alcohol due to pleasant weather conditions and increased shoplifting and thefts resulting from owners’ carelessness, the “hot spot” being the alley and underside of the Center Street bridge, south side, but does not include the UGM or involve UGM residents. Enforcement action in Marion Square Park (30-day exclusions) and Wallace Marine Park (transients) continues. Enforcement efforts are hindered by businesses that prohibit loitering only inconsistently, and budget-related staffing cuts (from seven to five officers). In answer to questions, Officer Owings explained that most of the enforcement action is police-initiated; the Downtown Team consists of the five officers and a District Officer; three to five are on bicycle patrol Monday through Friday from noon to 10 p.m.
Councilor Bennett, recently returned from a trip to the United Kingdom, reported that the City Council’s work on the Civic Center renovation is ongoing, that the investigation into the Central Library as a possible location for the Police Department was necessary, but there was virtually no chance it could be used. Downtown parking problems continue, but he understands that a group of downtown merchants are developing a set of proposals for the City to consider. The City discontinued the downtown Economic Improvement District (EID) when more than a third of the affected business owners objected to its continuation, the effect of which is to terminate the funding now used for, among other things, keeping downtown streets, alleys and sidewalks litter-free. Councilor Bennett noted particularly the need to keep downtown alleyways clean, that “the success of Downtown depends on it”, and that the City should also find some way to create a festive atmosphere downtown during the November-December retail shopping season. He said there was not a lot of room in the budget, but the Council would be looking for ways to provide the needed funding. Councilor Bennett lauded the direction that the proposed amendments to SRC Chapter 86 seemed to be taking, namely toward a system that “involves community input.” He also approved of the proposed amendments to regulations affecting Mobile Food Units (MFUs), that existing regulations were outdated and not working, not consistent with other cities or public expectations, and it is hoped that the amendments can invigorate the MFU business model to the benefit of Downtown. He expected the Council would conduct a public hearing on the proposed amendments on July 14th, along with a hearing on a proposal to prohibit the sale of live animals (puppies) on public property, including the public right-of-way.
In response to a thank-you for his quick response to a complaint (the City’s slow response to a graffiti report), Councilor Bennett reported he was continuing to work on it, that the team leader had been seriously injured on the job, and for reasons not entirely clear to him, the City seemed to respond more slowly to reports involving publicly-owned property.
UGM President and CEO Mike Rideout presented plans for the UGM’s move to north to the location of its store (885 Commercial Street at D Street). The Mission has been in existence for 61 years, 59 at the current location. The 190-bed facility (which must sometimes house 235 men) has structural problems, renovation would be extremely difficult and is simply not feasible. Mission staff have been working for several years with City Planning staff and the Mayor to develop a plan acceptable to the City and is in the middle of a capital campaign to fund the move, expected to take 18 to 24 months. The present hurdle is a code provision limiting facilities like UGM to 75 beds (enacted some time in the past 60 years, for reasons no longer known), but that is expected to be overcome. Mr. Rideout invited any interested to tour the Mission at its current location and learn about the Mission’s successes. He also invited neighbors of the UGM Store and adjacent property owners to get in touch with him to discuss any concerns they might have.
Brian Hart presented arguments in favor of the proposed amendments to the MFU regulations. Noted benefits included unique food offerings that would attract visitors, enliven the Downtown, make Downtown more attractive to “Millennials”, make Salem a “destination” and give greater exposure to Downtown businesses, adding that local restaurants can have their own food carts, and that successful food carts often become “brick and mortar” restaurants (example: Koi Fusion). Finally, for obvious reasons, food carts are particularly attractive to parents with young children and dog-owners.
In Old Business, Sarah Owens made a motion that was adopted “to recommend to the City Council that the proposed amendments to the regulations affecting Mobile Food Units be adopted.”
In New Business, Sarah Owens and Rebekah Engle proposed motions that, after debate and amendment, were adopted as CanDo’s goals for the coming year, “to increase participation and organizational capacity, and to continue to support and encourage the retention of the city’s shade tree canopy and changes to the Salem Revised Code and city policies that further that goal.”
The meeting of the Board of Directors adjourned at 7:10 p.m.