Our Salem: Planning for Growth

Aerial image of downtown Salem with a mountain the background.

Salem is growing, and that presents both the need and opportunity to better guide and plan for how and where the city will grow. Sign up to get email updates about the project.

What's our vision for the future?

How do we want Salem to grow and develop? What goals do we have? How can we improve our community?

The City is in the midst of a multi-year project to update the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan, which guides development in the Salem area. 

View and comment on the new zoning interactive map

We are starting to consider changes to zoning in Salem, and a draft of the proposed zoning map is ready. You can see what zoning changes are proposed for specific properties in this new interactive map. You can also add comments to let us know what you think.

The new map reflects the higher-level proposed Comprehensive Plan map that is part of the Our Salem Vision. That Vision was accepted by the City Council in March.

The proposed zoning changes, however, are not final. Your input will help us refine the map. Changes will not be final until they go through the formal adoption process, which is expected at the end of this year.    

Virtual public forum on proposed zoning map May 19

Join us on Wednesday, May 19 to talk about proposed zoning map changes in Salem. We recently launched our new interactive map that shows the proposed changes, and we want to hear your comments and answer your questions. 

In place of our weekly policy meeting on May 19, we are holding virtual public forums at 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. that Wednesday to talk about the proposed zoning changes. You can join via Zoom or by phone.

12 noon
Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/95956718376 
Phone: Call 669-900-6833 and enter Meeting ID 959 5671 8376

5:30 p.m.
Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/94992609730 
Phone: Call 669-900-6833 and enter Meeting ID 949 9260 9730

Proposed zoning map

You can view the proposed zoning map here:

You can view the existing zoning map here:

Proposed Comprehensive Plan map

If you want to see the proposed Comprehensive Plan map that was included in the Our Salem Vision, you can view it here:

You can also view the existing Comprehensive Plan Map below.

Sign up to get email updates about the project and learn about opportunities to get involved.

More opportunities to give input

We want to hear your ideas about housing, transportation, parks, and more.

Weekly public meetings 

Starting March 31 through May, we will hold weekly public meetings on the Our Salem project.

Each week, we will focus on a different topic, with virtual meetings every Wednesday at 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Choose the time that best fits your schedule. The mid-day meetings will cover the same material as the evening meetings. You can check out the schedule of meeting topics in this packet.

Your input will help shape policies that will guide future growth and development. The policies will support the Our Salem Vision and be incorporated into our updated Comprehensive Plan.

Meetings will be held virtually via Zoom:

  • To join any meeting at 12 noon, use this link or number:

https://zoom.us/j/95956718376 or call 669-900-6833 (meeting ID 959 5671 8376)

  • To join any meeting at 5:30 p.m., use this link or number:

https://zoom.us/j/94992609730 or call 669-900-6833 (meeting ID 949 9260 9730)

You can also watch the meeting live on YouTube: https://bit.ly/planningpublicmeetings 

We plan to continue engaging the community in other ways throughout the year. Additional outreach is expected to include a survey, new interactive map, and community meetings. Check back for more details.

We will use your input to continue our work on the Our Salem project, including shaping the policies, maps, and regulations necessary to update the Comprehensive Plan in line with the Our Salem Vision.  Any actual updates to the Comprehensive Plan or changes to the Comprehensive Plan Map would not occur until late 2021 after public hearings and adoption by the City Council.

Gen Z: Focus groups

In April, we held three “Your Voice, Your City” forums for youth and young adults between 14 and 22 years old. The virtual forums were on April 24, 26, and 29. The forums were a chance for youth and young adults to share their ideas on future growth and development in the Salem area. We plan to hold a fourth forum with the Salem-Keizer School District AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Program on Monday, May 24.

Zoning Subcommittee

The Our Salem Zoning Subcommittee will meet virtually for the second time on Thuriday, May 27 from 12 to 2 p.m. to continue discussing six zoning options intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The subcommittee includes four City Councilors and four Planning Commissioners. It is expected to meet again on Monday, June 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional meetings will be held and announced as needed.

To learn more about the subcommittee and how to participate in meetings, visit the Our Salem Zoning Subcommittee page.

City Council accepts the vision

Check out the Our Salem vision

Nuestra Salem Visión

The City Council accepted the Our Salem Vision on March 8, 2021, marking a major milestone in the Our Salem project. It is a culmination of more than a year and a half of community engagement.

The Vision includes broad goals and a map that depict how the community wants the Salem area to grow. It sets the high-level framework for all of the detailed work ahead - the development of policies, zoning map changes, and zoning code updates.  Nothing is final until it goes through the formal adoption process, which is expected at the end of this year.

The Council also voted to form a subcommittee of councilors and Planning Commission members to make recommendations on six zoning code changes intended to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can see those zoning options in this City Council presentation.

  
  
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Policy Meeting chats – Natural Resources, Environment, Community and Public Facilities221 KB5/14/2021
Combined Policy Meeting Presentation200744 KB5/13/2021
Policy Meeting chats – Transportation, Parks and Recreation189 KB4/29/2021
Existing Zoning Map (English)3299 KB4/26/2021
Existing Zoning Map (Spanish)3300 KB4/26/2021
Proposed Zoning Map (English)3478 KB4/26/2021
Proposed Zoning Map (Spanish)3479 KB4/26/2021
Mixed Use-III Zone Overview Spring 2021218 KB4/16/2021
Mixed Use-R Zone Overview Spring 2021215 KB4/16/2021
Neighborhood Hub Zone Overview Spring 2021226 KB4/16/2021
Residential 4 Zone Overview Spring 2021228 KB4/16/2021
Revised Central Business District Zone Overview Spring 2021218 KB4/16/2021
Policy Meeting chats – Equity/Engagement, Housing, and Economic Development236 KB4/15/2021
Zoning Options: Greenhouse gas emissions42 KB4/13/2021
Draft Our Salem Policies March 2021 (English)273 KB3/15/2021
Draft Our Salem Policies March 2021 (Spanish)137 KB3/15/2021
Policy Meeting Packet March 2021 (English)387 KB3/15/2021
Policy Meeting Packet March 2021 (Spanish)365 KB3/15/2021
Vision Presentation to City Council - 3-8-213911 KB3/8/2021
Proposed Comprehensive Plan Map (Spanish)2027 KB2/11/2021
Vision Presentation to Planning Commission - 2/9/214317 KB2/9/2021
Our Salem Vision 20219841 KB2/3/2021
Our Salem Vision 2021 (Spanish)10728 KB2/3/2021
Proposed Comprehensive Plan Map2042 KB2/3/2021
Salem Demographic Maps2519 KB10/15/2020
Neighborhood Hub Zone Overview310 KB10/9/2020
R4 Zone Overview435 KB10/9/2020
Joint Work Session Presentation 9/23/20 (English)6557 KB9/24/2020
Joint Work Session Presentation 9/23/20 (Spanish)6293 KB9/24/2020
Complete Neighborhoods Map for Preferred Scenario4396 KB9/23/2020
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Technical Advisory Committee

A technical advisory committee is advising staff. The committee has 15 members. The committee includes staff from City of Salem departments, area jurisdictions, and partner agencies.

The committee provides technical expertise on project deliverables and guidance on work tasks. The committee is responsible for representing and relaying information about the project to their respective City departments, jurisdictions, or agencies.

Government to government

We are collaborating with other governmental agencies, tribal governments, and other agencies on the Our Salem project. They are providing input and coordinating planning efforts.

Cherriots

City of Keizer

Marion County

Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments

Polk County

Salem-Keizer School District

Tribal governments

Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde

Confederated Tribes of Siletz

Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation

Community groups and organizations

We have been fortunate to be able to engage with a wide variety of organizations, groups, and agencies throughout the Salem area. The City's boards and commissions have also participated. Many of the organizations and groups have invited us to attend their meetings and events, and many community leaders have taken the time to talk with us.

350 Salem

Active Transportation Network

American Association of University Women

Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties 

Capital Planning Commission

CARECorps

Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization

Center 50+ Advisory Commission

Chapman Hill Elementary School

Chemeketa Community College

Community and Partners of East Salem

Crossler Middle School

Downtown Advisory Board

Downtown Rotary

East Lancaster Neighborhood Association

East Salem Rotary

Edgewater Partners

Enlace Community Development Project

Faye Wright Neighborhood Association

Salem Community Markets

Friends of Center 50+

Grant Neighborhood Association

Grant Community School Parent Club

Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties

Houck Middle School

Human Rights Commission

INDUS

Just Walk Salem Keizer

Kalapuya Elementary School Parents' Club

La Casita

Lansing Neighborhood Association

Latino Business Alliance

LUS (Latinos Unidos Siempre)

League of Women Voters

Mano-a-Mano

Marion County Health and Human Services

Mayor's International Council

McKay Islander Club

Micronesian Islander Community

Mid-Valley Association of REALTORS

Morningside Neighborhood Association

National Association of Women in Construction

North Gateway Redevelopment Board

North Lancaster Neighborhood Association

North Neighborhoods

North East Salem Community Association

Northeast Neighbors Neighborhood Association

Northwest Senior and Disability Services

Oregon Marshallese Community

PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste)

Rotary of South Salem

Safe Routes Partnerships

Salem Area Chamber of Commerce

Salem Art Commission

Salem Citizens Advisory Traffic Commission

Salem City Club

Salem Cultural and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board

Salem Environmental Education

Salem for Refugees

Salem Keizer Collaboration

Salem Keizer NAACP

Salem Keizer Public Schools Community Transition Program

Salem Keizer Public Schools Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee

Salem Kiwanas

Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board

Salem Public Library Advisory Board

SEDCOR (Strategic Economic Development Corporation)

South Central Association of Neighbors

South Gateway Neighborhood Association

South Salem Connect

South Salem High School Leadership Classes

Southeast Salem Neighborhood Association

Southwest Association of Neighbors

Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association

Sunrise Rotary

United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley

Washington Elementary School

West Salem Business Association

West Salem Neighborhood Association

West Salem Service Integration Team

West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board

Willamette University

You

There are many different ways you can participate in the Our Salem project. We will host public workshops, have tables at community events, conduct stakeholder interviews, send out surveys, and partner with local organizations.

If you want us to attend your neighborhood or organization’s meeting or event, please contact Eunice Kim at [email protected] or 503-540-2308.  You can also sign up to get project updates via email, and you can always contact Eunice Kim with any questions or comments.

Consultants

A consultant team led by Fregonese Associates is providing technical expertise.

Stakeholder Advisory Committee

stakeholder advisory committee advised staff during the first phase of the Our Salem project. It had 15 members. The committee consisted of Salem officials and representatives from partner jurisdictions, neighborhood associations, and other organizations.

  • Elected officials: The committee included two Salem City Councilors appointed by the Mayor, two Salem Planning Commissioners appointed by the Planning Commission President, and one elected official each from Keizer, Marion County, and Polk County. The officials from Keizer and the two counties were selected by their own jurisdiction. We included them because this project covers Salem's portion of the urban growth boundary, which goes beyond Salem city limits. Changes to the Comprehensive Plan impact the broader area, so coordination is important, and in some cases, required. 
  • Neighborhood associations: Land use chairs from three neighborhood associations were on the committee. The land use chairs were from neighborhoods located in southeast, northeast, and inner portions of Salem. These are areas that were not represented by the two City Councilors on the committee, which generally represented West Salem and South Salem. We selected the neighborhood representatives to try to achieve geographical representation in the city after the Councilors were selected.
  • Agencies and organizations: The committee included representatives from several agencies and organizations, including Cherriots, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties, Salem 350, and Enlace Cross Cultural Community Development Project. Most of the representatives were selected by their own organization or agency.

The committee was a non-voting committee. It provided a forum to understand differences and shared values among the participants for mutual gains. The public was be invited to attend and participate in all committee meetings.

What is the Comprehensive Plan?

The Comprehensive Plan is a long-range plan for future growth and development in the Salem area that aims to meet the needs of current and future residents.

The plan has goals, policies, and maps that shape everything from where multifamily housing is built to how our street system is designed to how our natural resources are protected.

Simply put, it represents the community's vision for future growth.

Why is the City doing this project?

The community identified a need to develop a vision for growth and development as part of the strategic planning process in 2017.

The Comprehensive Plan has not been updated altogether in decades. It may not reflect the community's vision for the future. This project is an opportunity to better understand Salem and how the community wants to grow over the next couple decades.

The City Council approved funding for this project in 2017.

What happened during the first phase of the project?

A lot happened but not visioning. The first phase focused on data, indicators, and scenarios.

  • Data: We worked with a consultant team and others to collect and analyze information related to the built environment. This included looking at our housing stock, parks, jobs and businesses, development patterns, streets, and more. We also completed a greenhouse gas inventory to better understand the community's impact on the environment.
  • Indicators: Using all of this data and input from the community, measures – or indicators – were selected to evaluate the current state of Salem. We answered questions like: How livable are our neighborhoods? How strong is our economy? How sustainable is our community? Indicators included things like housing affordability, proximity to parks, average wages, tree canopy, and bicycle and pedestrian use.

  • Scenarios: Once we knew how we were doing now, we created different scenarios for how Salem could grow over the next 20 years under current policies. We used the same indicators to evaluate and compare these future scenarios. We created a report card to help answer the question: Are we headed in the right direction?

The results of the first phase of work will inform the next phase, community-wide visioning.

If phase one – Our Salem: Today – did not include visioning, what decisions were made during the first phase?

There were two decision points during phase one. At both of these points, we asked the public for input.

    1. What indicators should we use to evaluate the city? We asked the community to select indicators to evaluate Salem as it is today and as it could be in the future under our existing policies.
    2. Given the results of the analysis, is Salem heading in the right direction? At the end of this first phase, we brought the results of the evaluation to the community and City Council. The results were in the format of a report card and helped answer the question:  Are we heading in the right direction?

What were the results of the first phase?

The first phase resulted in a report card  that evaluates whether we're heading in the right direction given current policies.

It also resulted in a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory . All this work is informing the visioning phase of the Our Salem project.

Check out this story map  to see what we did and what we learned in phase one.  

Is the City developing a climate action plan as part of this project?

No.

The 2017 Strategic Plan recommends developing a climate action plan, but was not funded as part of the Our Salem project. The City Council voted in June 2019 to provide $50,000 for work on a climate action plan. Work on the climate action plan has begun, and collaboration between that work and the Our Salem project continues.

  • Greenhouse gas inventory: The City developed a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, as called for in the 2018 Council Policy Agenda. This inventory was incorporated into the first phase of the Our Salem project. We did this because the built environment – buildings, related transportation networks, etc. – affects GHG emissions, and the results of a GHG inventory can and should inform larger discussions about how and where Salem should grow in the future.
  • Goals and policies: We expect to update the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan as part of the Our Salem project. The updated goals and policies will address GHG emissions, particularly as they relate to transportation and the built environment.  Environmental actions that are not related to the built environment fall outside of the purview of the Comprehensive Plan.

What is the second phase – visioning – all about?

It's about developing the community's vision for the future. We have been conducting community-wide visioning since the summer of 2019. This means we have been out and about, talking to the community about future growth and development in Salem. We've been asking people: What thoughts, concerns, and ideas do you have for the future?

We've done this outreach in a variety of ways, including public workshops, outreach at community events, stakeholder interviews, virtual meetings, surveys, and more. In June, we had a Facebook live event on the City's Spanish Facebook page  where we answered questions about the Our Salem project in Spanish. You can watch the video here.

What were the scenarios that were developed in the visioning phase?

We developed four scenarios during the visioning phase. They were essentially different options for how the Salem area could grow in the future. The scenarios focused on land use. To read more about the scenarios, check out these frequently asked questions.

We held a webinar on the scenarios in April. If you couldn't join us, you can watch a recording of the webinar online. You can also watch a video about the scenarios in Spanish

We want your input 

Queremos sus sugerencias

Please take our new survey.

Policy Survey (English)

Encuesta Política (Español)

Project phases 

​Phase 1

Evaluate existing conditions and how Salem could grow

 



Phase 2

Establish a community vision for future growth

 




​Phase 3

Update the Comprehensive Plan to implement the community’s vision

What we've learned 

Our Salem Report Card

 

Contact us

Eunice KimProject Manager
Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
Phone: 
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