Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: December 27, 2007”

A center-city remake

ULI report

ULI report

Salem gets discounted too much: It's a good small city, with a stronger-than-usually-given-credit-for downtown and a bunch of other assets apart from its state capitol role. It has a number of parks too, but one aspect of the city that jumps out as unrealized potential is its Willamette River waterfront, the bisector (toward the west side) of the city.

There's parkland there, sure, but not a great deal of it. (Boiseans would look at the river frontage and act superior.) What's there is good, but there are key blockages. And one of the most important of those, just southwest of downtown and across the street from city hall and the main library, is an old industrial plant, the Boise Cascade (now Boise) wood factory. Very old - BC and the companies that preceded it have owned the property and used it for wood production since 1862. The buildings that occupy 13 acres of its property most recently have been used for packaging and distribution; about 100 people work there. It's not wasteland, but it is something of an eyesore, and it diminishes the surrounding downtown core area.

Turns out, we learn in an announcement today, a win-win is possible here: A change in location for the Boise company (with the company evidently working very cooperatively on it) and a new redevelopment of the area to bring out some of its underlying potential. An important chunk of Salem may be transformed as a result.


Baseline 08: Idaho Legislature

Idaho legislative building

Idaho legislative building

It being that season again - yes, it's the time of Lists - we have a few to close out the year. (Then we'll have more lists next year. Gee.) Our point (excuse, if you insist) is that this is a reasonable point to pause and take stock of where we are or seem to be in Northwest politics - what it looks like as 07 slides into 08.

This is the first of four lists for the days upcoming, of what now look like some of the most noteworthy and watchable political contests to come: Three lists covering the legislatures of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, then one covering major offices for the three states, with 10 races each. The numbering logic in similar for all: These are the contests which, from this viewpoint, seem to have the most significance or analytical interest as we look to where Northwest politics goes from here. It isn't a list of which seats will change parties (though we think there's a good shot some of them will) or which incumbents are most endangered (among other things, some of these are open seats). Rather, it's: Which contests stand to say the most about local and Northwest politics?

You may wonder if there are as many as 10 potentially significant Idaho legislative races for '08; after all, aren't Republicans essentially a lock to maintain a solid grip on the Legislature regardless? Well, yeah, probably. But there are places of potential or actual change, and places where politics is getting redefined. These races could matter even if the overall partisan balance in the Statehouse doesn't greatly change.

One other highly cautionary note: There's no candidate filing until March 10 (deadline March 21), so we don't yet know for sure who's running for any legislative seat. Could be that some of the reasons for interest in some of these races goes away by then. Just sayin'.

(The list is below the fold.) (more…)