Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vision 2020 Open House Report

(Updated with Photo! - Mayor Taylor, Stephanie Matlock Allen, Virginia Green, Tom Green, Jr. at the Vision 2020 Open House)

Almost 100 people came to the Vision 2020 Open House on Tuesday. But in many ways the most exciting part of the night featured a Friends of Two Bridges board member, Virginia Green.

Mayor Taylor gave the first annual Visionary Award for exemplifying the spirit of Salem’s Vision 2020 to Virginia for "her leadership and commitment to the long-term vitality of Salem’s vibrant City Center."

The award citation singled out her work in leading "projects highlighting the historic character of downtown." And of course the Union Street Railroad Bridge is one of them!

Another board member, Ellen Miller, staffed the F2B table. Ellen reports that
Many people stopped by the table to share their enthusiasm for the opening of the Union Street Railroad Bridge and their stories for how they were planning on using it, from Salem Bicycle Club riders to workers commuting to the downtown area from West Salem.
She also noted that the conceptual plans for the Minto Island Bridge led to two frequently asked questions. Courtney Knox from Urban Development had these answers:
What is the ownership status of the island?
Boise Cascade owns the 310 acres on Minto Island which were formerly in industrial use, supporting their downtown operations. The northernmost 22 acres of the Island was purchased by the Salem Audubon Society. The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department had been working Boise to purchase the property. Those negotiations have ceased. As a result, the City is initiating discussions with Boise. Staff will need to resolve the bridge landing location with Boise to allow for further design, engineering and assessment to support regulatory agency permitting. However, the Coast Guard can issue a preliminary determination regarding appropriate clearance height for the bridge without resolution of the bridge landing.

Have wildlife impact assessments have been done on the island?
We're only in the conceptual design phase at this time and have not secured enough funding to continue through the additional design, engineering, environmental and biological assessments and well as other technical analyses which will be required to support a permit application for the bridge to cross the Slough. Estimating the potential wildlife impacts of the proposed bridge crossing, at this early date, is premature. As we get further into the detailed design, we'll have more precise information to begin the analysis and assessment of impact to the animals making their home on Minto Island or along the Slough.
The complete staff report can be read here (24pp. pdf).

Ellen reports that CCTV was filming, and we hope to have a link when the video is done! Also maybe some photos of Virginia!

4 comments:

  1. Why doesn't the city simply give Boise a choice: clean up the acreage and we'll buy them for X, or we'll get you listed as a Superfund site, start cleanup and you'll pay for the cleanup that way?

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  2. Walker, that's an interesting question. The City does not believe the site meets the threshold of contamination for being listed as a Superfund site.

    Previously, the DEQ has issued Boise a letter of No Further Action (NFA) required to mitigate environmental conditions on the 310 acres as long as the site remains undisturbed in the current use. DEQ has indicated that passive recreation (like a pedestrian and bicycle trail) will not impact the NFA.

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  3. Because the City has no regulatory authority concerning the possible environmental condition at the portion of Minto Island currently in Boise's ownership, the City could only negotiate with Boise for acquisition of a bridge landing, easement for a trail connection to Minto-Brown Island Park or the entire 310 acres.

    Among its many roles, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulates environmental conditions of real property in Oregon. The DEQ has issued Boise a letter of No Further Action (NFA) required to mitigate environmental conditions on the 310 acres as long as the site remains undisturbed in the current use. DEQ has indicated that passive recreation (like a pedestrian and bicycle trail) will not impact the NFA.

    With more recreation on the site, however, these conditions will change. As a result of the change of use and greater public access, further study will be required by the DEQ. This will all be a part of the discussion with Boise concerning the City's interest in acquiring a location for a bridge landing, easement for a trail connection to Minto-Brown Island Park or the entire 310 acres.

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  4. Thanks for the clarification, Courtney!

    ReplyDelete