About Salem's Riverfront Carousel

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Salem, Oregon, United States
Inspiration: Salem's Riverfront Carousel project was inspired by a trip Hazel Patton took in 1996 to visit family in Missoula, Montana. While there she went to see the first old-world style carousel built in the U.S. since the Great Depression. When Hazel rode the carousel, she knew it was more than the music and motion of the ornately carved and hand-painted horses that created magic in Missoula. The real beauty was how the carousel united the community by combining history with the creative talents of Missoula's citizens. She knew that the citizens of Salem could bring similar magic to the banks of the Willamette River. Vision: The vision of Salem's Riverfront Carousel is to touch the hearts, spark the imaginations and ignite the creative spirits of a broad spectrum of volunteers by creating a work of art that will stand as a historical landmark and an enduring symbol of community pride and cooperation. Mission: The mission of Salem's Riverfront Carousel is to enhance the quality of life in the Willamette Valley by invigorating community cohesiveness, fostering cultural and educational opportunities, creating a living history, and increasing tourism.
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Salem City Council in Favor of Closing State St Entrance

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Council votes in favor of closing railroad crossing
Revised application to be submitted to state agency
By Thelma Guerrero-Huston • Statesman Journal
September 30, 2009

Pedestrians crossing Front Street NE at State Street might have to walk a little farther to access Riverfront Park.
Salem City Council on Monday voted 8-1 in favor of closing the railroad crossing at the State Street entrance to the park.
Ward 2 City Councilor Laura Tesler voted against the agenda item, saying it could pose a hardship for businesses on State Street near the park.
The council's decision came more than two hours after public comment began on the topic.
Tim Gerling, a retired Salem Public Works director overseeing redevelopment of the Boise Cascade site, urged the council to be expedient in its decision.
"Tim, is there something driving (the urgency)?" Mayor Janet Taylor asked Gerling.
"Yes," he said. "A major national client has expressed interest in the north block of the (Boise Cascade) property."
Gerling would not identify the client but said negotiations have been ongoing for the past 11 months.
Speaking on behalf of the Salem Carousel Board, David Holton asked councilors to consider installing a low gate at the crossing "to avoid obstructing the view of the carousel from the street."
Former Salem Area Chamber of Commerce president Kathy Goss encouraged the council to support the item.
"The railroad has been a problem for redevelopment of Boise Cascade," she said. "This is the best way to solve it."
In giving the council her view, State Sen. Jackie Winters, D-Salem, said the proposed changes, coupled with the city's long-range plan to connect Wallace Marine, Riverfront, and Minto-Brown Island parks via a system of bicycle and pedestrian bridges over the remaining Boise property, presented "a tremendous opportunity for the city."
Council's decision allows City Manager Linda Norris to submit a revised application to Oregon Department of Transportation Rail Division seeking approval to relocate the State Street rail crossing to a new street to be constructed on the north end of the former Boise Cascade site.
ODOT's Rail Division is the acting agency for the Federal Railroad Administration, including serving as the crossing safety authority for all public highway-railroad crossing in the state.
A previous request was not granted because "we did not want any new grade crossings built in that area," said Charles Kettenring, the division's manager of rail crossing safety.
If the city's revised request is approved, closure of the existing State Street rail crossing would not happen until after the developer delivers on a number of conditions agreed upon between it and the city. City officials estimate those improvements would occur in the next 12 to 24 months.
tguerrer@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6815

State Street Entrance at Carousel - Due to Close

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Council to consider closing rail crossing Thelma Guerrero-HustonStatesman Journal
Salem City Council on Monday will consider a request to close a rail crossing to Salem's Riverfront Carousel off State Street.
The request, made by Boise Cascade developer Pringle Square LLC, asks the city to seek permission from state transportation officials to close the rail crossing and create a new one on a public street to be built farther south on the former Boise Cascade site. A public hearing is scheduled during the Council meeting at 6:30 p.m.
If the council decides to move forward with the request and the Oregon Department of Transportation Rail Division approves it, a gate cutting off direct access to Riverfront Park via State Street would be installed at the existing rail crossing, allowing access to emergency vehicles only.
Pedestrians would still be able to cross Front Street NE at State Street but would have to walk north to Court Street NE or to the new south entrance to access the park.
Some residents and merchants have expressed displeasure with the proposed closure. Others, such as Lois Skinner, are sitting the fence for now.
"I think a new street and more parking spaces would be nice," she said. "But when you are blind like me, accessing a wonderful jewel like the carousel in the least amount of time possible translates into a safer situation. At least it does for me."
City officials have said closing the current crossing near the carousel would provide a safer environment to pedestrian and vehicle traffic by reducing congestion, bottlenecks and backups exacerbated during train traffic and major events at the park.
As part of its request to the city, Pringle Square LLC has offered to build and pay for a number of changes, including the relocation of the rail crossing; the construction of 32 additional parking spaces at the carousel parking lot; a new sidewalk on the west side of the Front Street bypass between State Street and Court Street NE.
The group also would donate about 20,000 square feet of land from the Waterfront Block on the Boise property to the city.
In 2007, Pringle Square LLC approached city officials about a three-phase redevelopment at the former Boise Cascade property. The third phase called for development of 3.8 acres on the west side of the railroad tracks and bounded by Riverfront Park, according to city documents. To accomplish that, the developers included in their proposal the need for at-grade access across the railroad tracks on the site.
The results of a railroad crossing feasibility analysis conducted by Gerling Solutions Inc., which is owned by Tim Gerling, the project's manager, concluded that a new crossing independent of the existing railway crossings at State Street and Court Street NE was the best option, city documents show.
In late February, the city submitted a railroad crossing application to the Oregon Department of Transportation Rail Division for a new grade-crossing. In its review of the city's application, rail officials "would not grant a new at-grade crossing without completely closing another existing, nearby, at-grade crossing," according to city documents. -->

RIP "Grandma" Katie DeVore

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Katharine Anne DeVore January 8, 1923 - August 29, 2009 SALEM - Katharine (Katie) Suter DeVore, 86, of Salem died at her home after a brief battle with cancer. Katie was born in Tillamook. Her loving husband of 41 years, Don DeVore, preceded her in death. She is survived by their daughters Carol DeVore, Salem, Kalene (Paul) Orndorff, NC, Nancy (Terry) Nagle, MS; grandchildren Chris, Melinda, Niki, David, Mark; great-grandsons, Sterling and Tyler; sisters Theresa Smith and Rose (Chuck) Kriel. Katie was much loved and had an active, full life including travel, fun with family and friends, and volunteering with Foster Grandparents. Salem's "Carousel" and Myers Elementary School loved Grandma Katie. Memorial contributions can be made to Willamette Valley Hospice or Foster Grandparents. A celebration of Katie's life will be at 2:00 PM on September 1, Pioneer Village Social Hall, 375 Taybin RD NW, Salem. Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Services.

Addendum in memoriam (by Laura Tea-Pelley)

Grandma Katie joined our herd of volunteers at Salem’s Riverfront Carousel in April of 2006 stating her special interest in working with ‘children and elderly citizens’. She quickly and most affectionately became on of our beloved Carousel family. She found a home volunteering sometimes five days/20 hours per week, on the ‘back gate’ for the ride as a greeter and selling popcorn to the many visitors. Often Katie would sign up for our special events, like the Scarousel Bash or Cupid’s Night Out, joining in the fun and celebrating with our community. ‘Working’ so many days per week—she made easy friends with all the regulars and staff– with her ready smile and effervescent demeanor. Grandma Katie’s example of living your life in service, with commitment and her desire for fellowship with others comes from what she explained to me as her belief “that life is for living and I don’t want to miss out on anything”. This outlook and attitude kept her involved right up to the near end when we saw her last in June 2009. We treasure our memories of her and she will be sorely, missed. An honorary Bridle Path commemorative tile will be laid in her memory to live forever at the Carousel.