On Wednesday, March 28, Mayor Chuck Bennett gave his second State of the City Address. In it, he reflected on Salem's many accomplishments in 2017 and outlined the vision for the City's future.
During Mayor Bennett's 36-minute talk, he discussed what the City has accomplished in addressing homelessness and affordable housing in Salem and highlighted the success of the Homeless Rental Assistance Program, the largest housing first program in Oregon.
Referring to the more than 550 building permits issued in the past year, valued at $371 million dollars, Mayor Bennett also emphasized Salem's accelerating economy saying, "The recession is over. We are really booming along here in Salem." Of the permits issued 125 were new commercial and industrial building permits with a total value of more than $203 million. He also touched on the Strategic Plan placing priority on supporting the growth of business start-ups, and that the City will focus on Salem's technology sector. Mayor Bennett also thanked the City Council for more than $2 million invested in the Salem-Keizer School District's Career and Technical Education Center on Portland Road.
Looking forward to future City initiatives, Mayor Bennett discussed the upcoming update of the Salem Airport's business plan, the continued exploration of a food incubator in the Portland Road area, and streetscape improvement projects in North Gateway, and in downtown Salem.
One the subject of public safety, Mayor Bennett thanked residents for passage of two bond measures in 2017 that pay for the construction of the new police station, and critical seismic and other infrastructure improvements in the Salem Public Library. He also talked about reopening First Station 11 in West Salem, which will add a full engine company to the City's fire and emergency services.