Sunday, May 30, 2010

O.M.G. -- is there any better example of how catering to cars lobotomizes city officials?

The always-excellent Salem Heritage Network has a truly tragic entry today showing just how low Salem has fallen in terms of destroying its past -- our past! -- to cater to automobiles. Worse, living here now, one finds little evidence that anything has changed in City Hall.

See the pictures there for a truly horrific and revealing display.
In the late 1940s, Salem's downtown had spaces on the street for automobiles to park in front of stores, but did not have parking lots to accommodate the increase in personal cars since the end of the war. One innovative proposal was to demolish the Holman Building (top photograph above) and make room for parking above a new auto maintenance and repair shop. Those residents who were concerned by the loss of Salem's heritage which this building represented, formed the Marion County Historical Society with the mission of preserving it and, more widely, interpreting the city and county's cultural resources. Its first president, David Duniway, led the fight to preserve the historic Holman Building, reminding the public that for the first years of Oregon statehood (1859-1876), the legislature meet here and most of our basic laws were debated on this site. But he was not successful, the building was demolished and the Marion Car Rental and Park (lower photograph) was built this year.

When you visit
The Marion Car Rental and Park is located on the northwest corner of Ferry and Commercial Streets, a busy intersection for traffic entering Front Street going west from Ferry, or continuing south on Commercial. It is diagonally across the street from the Conference Center. To learn more about the Holman Building and the other historic buildings that were once on this important corner of the new city, read the interpretive panel on the stair landing inside the Conference Center.
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Quick, get your state parks pass now

You can bet the prices will be climbing. Salem is blessed to be so close to Silver Falls State Park, a place so beautiful that words can't convey it.

If you get the $50 pass that's good for 24 months -- 25 if you buy it at the beginning of a month, you just have to visit Silver Falls ten times for it to pay off. Even better, the pass is now a card you hang over the mirror of your car, rather than a windshield sticker, meaning that you can give the pass to friends and family for use when you're not using it. We had guests at LOVESalem HQ this week and they're off with our pass now, gallivanting around Oregon.

TIP: When you go to Silver Falls, buy the pass at the Nature Store and the Friends of Silver Falls will get a cut, which goes to help maintain the park. If the entry booth isn't staffed, just drive past it, park, and go to the Nature Store and buy the pass and hang it in your mirror. If the entry booth is staffed, presumably they'll let you in to buy the pass at the Nature Store -- if not, just park outside the entrance for a minute, walk to the store, buy the pass, and you're all set.

It's a heckuva deal, and a great way to get great reminders of what a gorgeous place we live in.