The sidewalk behavior ordinance was back for consideration Monday night. A large crowd of Salem residents came to show support or opposition, and the chambers were full. For over 2.5 hours I listened to everyone give testimony, seeking first to understand rather than be understood. Each side of this divisive political issue has its own common thread, weaving through the testimony and personal experiences. On one side, you have concerned residents and employers, surrounded by the impact on our downtown. These people are your neighbors, leaders, board members, working families, and children. Their theme was that Salem can do better- for everyone. On the other side of the issue, advocates, homeless citizens, and other community members begged council to reconsider passing such an ordinance. The theme was that this ordinance will not solve anything.
Ultimately, City council passed a motion requesting staff to bring back a modified ordinance at the next meeting on March 9th (sound familiar?). The direction was for the ordinance to prohibit sitting or lying on public sidewalks between 7am-9pm if certain conditions were met. These conditions include expanded day center access at Arches, and the use of Marion Square Park during the day for the homeless, with operational restrooms.
Due to the movement of time in Government, the soonest we could see this ordinance go into effect would be mid-April. This is a first step in the right direction.
Since I last wrote, I attended the Mayor’s State of the City and Breakfast with the Chief of Police Jerry Moore. Both events showcased the continued growth of our city, and this is exciting to look forward to. I am thankful for both Mayor Bennett and Chief Moore working hard to do what’s best for our community.
Team #SundShine was out walking the Salem Heights neighborhood this weekend! Thanks to a few amazing volunteers, we reached over 150 homes. It has been such an enriching experience hearing different perspectives, and meeting new neighbors. We truly are the city of Shalom!
We are having a family friendly event at the Co.W coworking space downtown today, Thursday 2/27, from 4-7pm! Please be sure to register on the event page here! You can find more details on my Facebook page “Reid Sund for Salem.” We are excited to meet new families and offer a fun way to get more connected to local politics!
We have other events lined up, and planning on walking neighborhoods in Ward 7 every weekend! Things will start to heat up real soon. Please let me know if you can be a volunteer #SundShine walker! You can sign up on my website under “Get Involved.