UPDATE: (The Mayor has sent us her last selection, and it is Mr. Tyler Jackson, Jackson Jewelers. She also said: “My vision for the Task Force is to come up with a financially sustainable parking system, which in turn will accomplish the council goals of downtown vibrancy and economic vitality.)
The Parking Task Force that (Ward 1) City Councilor Chuck Bennett recommended in June, to evaluate and improve downtown parking conditions, has become an active body with a vision and timeline.
In July, a month after Bennett’s motion, Salem City Council voted to broaden the Task Force’s focus from solely downtown parking regulations and structures to include the Capitol Mall, West Salem (Edgewater/Second Street), North Downtown, Pringle Parkade, the Downtown Parking District, and areas south to Mission Street.
The Task Force is now led by Salem Mayor Anna Peterson and will include nine voting members. Peterson will select all nine.
Eight are currently known and include:
City of Salem Mayor Anna Peterson
City of Salem Councilor Chuck Bennett
Manager of JC Penny Kasey Wheeler
Manager of Salem Center Mall Dana Vugteveen
Marion County Commissioner, Sam Brentano
State of Oregon’s Department of Human Services Brian King
Owner Sid’s Furniture Alan Schechtman
West Coast Bank’s LeAnn Keim
The mayor has said the final member will be selected and confirmed soon.
Although the group’s focus had widened since June, the core issue will still be downtown parking. Of the numerous small businesses that pay the parking tax out of their own pockets, only one (Schechtman) is represented on the Task Force at this time. The seven others represent either government or large corporations.
Task Force meetings will be open to the public and held 7:30 – 9 a.m. in the Anderson Room at the Library. Preliminary plans are to begin meeting after Labor Day, in mid-September.
“I’m hoping the Task Force can sort through the large amount of information regarding parking throughout the community and provide policy recommendations to the City Council for their consideration,” Bennett told us. He wants to develop both short- and long-term solutions to meet the needs of the public, neighborhoods, businesses, government and visitors.
Bennett says the group will also study how to pay for parking in Salem. This includes, he says, “not only on-street parking but substantial parking at the several public, free garages. The current funding system is not sustainable and needs a full review. Councilor Bennett expects results in three or four months, hopefully by February of 2013. “This allows any changes to be dealt with in the city budget process,” he says, “and sufficient time for substantial public comment as policy options are developed.”