Salem Community Improvement Bond

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Infrastrucure Bond Projects

​Funding Critical Community Need: No Tax Rate Increase  

We have a one-time opportunity to invest in critical projects to improve streets, sidewalks, parks and public safety without increasing the City's property tax rate.  The City Council is looking at paying for these critical needs through a bond measure for voters to consider in November 2022.

Ten Year Investment Plan

Several previous bond measures will be retired and removed from the tax rolls over the next decade, providing up to $300 million to invest – without increasing tax rates.  Bond funded projects would take care of what we have, saving money currently spent on repairs and maintenance of outdated facilities and equipment, and improve energy efficiency.

2022 Bond Proposal

Recommended projects are community-scaled fixes to our streets, sidewalks, and in our parks, with investments in new affordable housing with a branch library at two sites, much-needed fire engines and equipment, earthquake safety for the Civic Center, and cybersecurity to protect residents and our services relying on technology. 

Project ideas came from community outreach with neighborhood associations, advisory boards and commissions, and civic interest groups.  Some ideas came from public testimony during Infrastructure Bond Engagement Steering Committee meetings, others from earlier community outreach in planning park areas or safety in travel corridors.  In building the recommended package, Steering Committee members considered equity and our impact on the climate.  The selected projects do not address all the need.  Look up other, larger projects scheduled to move forward in the next five years. 

Recommended Salem Community Improvement Bond Purposes described in a pie chart that matches descriptions below.

What's Next for the Community Improvement Bond? 

April Steering Committee Recommendation

These critical improvements will have robust oversight from an independent advisory board that will make regular reports to the public.

Streets and Sidewalks: $157 million

As funding from Salem's 2008 bond measure winds down, the community's transportation needs still exceed available funding. More than two-thirds of residents rate the Salem's condition of infrastructure as poor or very poor, and most say that is getting worse.

With community input, a new list of priority projects is being developed to: provide safer pedestrian crossings and install sidewalks and safe bicycle routes; construct new streets and replace or add signals that improve traffic flow; and rehabilitate and repair bridges throughout the community.  River Road, McGilchrist St SE, Doaks Ferry Rd NW, Battle Creek Rd SE, Browning Ave S, Fischer Rd NE, and Sunnyview Ave NE are some key roadways targeted for improvement.

Sites for Future Development: Branch Libraries and Affordable Housing: $7.5 million

As we plan for the next ten years, building two branch libraries and more affordable housing will be critical to livability in our community.  Funds are to acquire properties and begin development of branch libraries on same site with affordable housing.

Park Upgrades: $28.5 million

Salem has an excellent and well-used park system, but its aging facilities need updates. Replacing restrooms at Marion Square and Wallace Marine Parks and developing new trails, covered areas, playgrounds, splash pads, pickleball courts and dog parks are among the projects identified for community priority-setting. The goal is to make up-to-date park facilities available in all parts of the City, for all ages.

Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund: $10 million

Provides gap funding to public and private developers to fund affordable housing. "Gap" funding refers to funds needed to offset project cost increases due to supply chain impacts, inflation, rising interest rates, or other cost increases that can occur over the 2-3 year project development cycle. These funds are only for those projects that will meet affordability criteria. While the criteria has not yet been established for this program, many programs incentivizing affordable housing target rents at the 80% Average Median Income level for the county.

Fire Engines and Equipment: $26 million

Purchased with bond funds in 2006, Salem’s fire engines and ladder trucks are now pushing 15 years old and on average, based on “motor hours” equivalency, in excess of 450,000 road miles. Despite excellent maintenance, fire engines, ladder trucks and other life-saving equipment are near their life expectancy and in need of replacement.

Civic Center Earthquake Safety: $39.4 million

The Civic Center – the City's busiest, most visited public building – was built 50 years ago.  It needs to meet current earthquake standards that keep the community safe and ensure public accessibility.  The Library was completed in 2021 – on-time and on-budget – to safeguard our children and other library users.  Our next priority it to protect community members who access City services and attend meetings next door at the Civic Center.  This funding reinforces all three buildings to a life-safety standard, allowing for a higher probability of a safe exit during an earthquake.  Funds replace and reinforce skylight, windows, roof and other systems, with abatement of hazardous materials and restoration of areas impacted by structural work.

Technology and Cybersecurity: $17.6 million

Every aspect of City services to residents and businesses relies on technology. Lessons learned from other cities underscore the need for up-to-date and fail-safe cybersecurity that protects personal data and makes it easier for the community to access services and programs.   This funding replaces out-of-date financial reporting and accounting systems, provides for a second data center for recovery after a disaster, and redundant fiber ring for resiliency.

Future Fire Stations: $14 million

Salem is planning ahead to meet community needs. It is clear the City will need two new fire stations to provide timely response. The goal is to respond to every emergency within just five and a half minutes.

The Details: Streets and Sidewalks

Bicycle / Pedestrian Improvements

  • State Street 13th St NE to 17th St NE Bike Lanes and Pavement; Pavement rehabilitation and striping reconfiguration to one travel lane in each direction with a center turn lane and bike lanes.  Includes a pedestrian crossing at 15th Street and streetscape features.  Also includes a new traffic signal at the 17th Street intersection with NB and SB right turn lanes on 17th Street.
  • Pringle Creek Path - Civic Center to Riverfront Park (half funding, anticipate grant for other half); Construct a pedestrian bridge crossing of Pringle Creek under the Commercial Street bridge, construct a new path along Pringle Creek from Commercial Street under the existing railroad bridge to the Riverfront Park.  Includes creek overlooks and art wall.
  • Liberty Street SE and Church Street Bridge SE railings - replacement concrete railings, matching historic style at bridges over Pringle Creek.

Sidewalks

  • Safer Pedestrian Crossings to include median islands, lighting, rapid flashing beacons (as needed), and new curb ramps and sidewalks to meet ADA requirements.  Locations TBD, after outreach and Council approval.
  • Sidewalk infill or construction of missing sidewalks for pedestrian connectivity.   Locations TBD, after outreach and Council approval.
  • Sidewalk replacement of sidewalk panels that are failing.  Locations TBD, after outreach and Council approval.

Pavement Repair and Rehabilitation

Fix up existing roadway, include curb ramps to meet ADA requirements at:

  • Commercial Street SE: Fabry Rd SE to Interstate 5 Ramp and 12th St Cuttoff to Boone Rd SE; Center Street NE:
  • Center Street NE:  17th St NE to 24th St NE
  • 12th Street SE:  Mill St SE to Hoyt St SE
  • Silverton Road NE:  17th St NE to Williams Ave NE and Beacon St NE to Fisher Rd NE
  • Doaks Ferry Rd NW:  Brush College Dr NW to Emerald Dr NW
  • Portland Road NE:  Beach Ave NE to Northgate Ave NE
  • Liberty Street SE:  Mill St SE to Trade St SE
  • Madrona Avenue SE:  Peck Ave SE to Commercial St SE

Urban Upgrades

Includes new curb, sidewalks, multi-use path or bike lanes, stormwater treatment, and streetlights - with pedestrian crossings

  • McGilchrist Street SE:  12th St SE to 25th St SE (includes realignment and a new traffic signal at 22nd Street, upgrades to two creek crossings, and rail crossing improvements.)
  • Fisher Road NE:  Silverton Rd NE / East-West Curve (includes a traffic signal replacement at Sunnyview Road and pedestrian crossings at Beverly Avenue and Devonshire Avenue)
  • Pringle Road SE:  McGilchrist St SE to Georgia St SE (includes four pedestrian crossings near transit stops)

New Street: Marine Drive NW

  • This first part of Marine Drive will go from Harritt Drive to Taybin and include a new multi-use pedestrian path connected to Wallace Marine Park.  There will be a new road at a 'collector street standard' with two travel lanes, including new curb, a sidewalk on the westerly side, 12' multi-use path on the easterly side, stormwater treatment, and streetlights.  Includes connector streets at Harritt Drive, Beckett Street, and 5th Avenue.  This estimated to be $23 million of the $157 million for transportation in the current bond package.

Bridge Rehabilitation

Strengthen existing bridge to remove load restriction at:

  • Liberty Street NE Bridge over Mill Creek
  • 17th Street NE Bridge over Mill Creek
  • Mission Street SE Bridge over Pringle Creek
  • 15th Street NE Bridge over Mill Creek

The Details: Parks

Replace Playground Equipment

  • Royal Oaks
  • Livingston
  • McKay
  • Morningside
  • Aldrich
  • Riverfront
  • Woodmansee
  • Brush College
  • Minto Brown Island
  • Clark Creek

Restroom Facilities

  • McKay School Park - new four-stall
  • Bush's Pasture Park – replace eight-stall
  • Cascades Gateway Park – replace four-stall
  • Wallace Marine Park - replace eight-stall
  • Northgate Park - new four-stall

Athletic Courts

  • New tennis/pickleball courts at Highland, Hoover, and River Road parks
  • Replacing multi-use athletic courts at Hoover, Morningside and Sumpter parks

Paths and Trails

Park paths and trails throughout parks system. Locations TBD, after outreach and Council approval.

Sport Fields

  • Geer Park
  • McKay School Park
  • Orchard Heights Park

Shelters

  • Bush's Pasture Park
  • Geer Park
  • Orchard Heights Park
  • McKay School Park

Pave Parking Lots

  • Minto-Brown Island Park, Parking Lot 2 (dog park area) and 3 (river access area)

Below are some frequently asked questions about the 2022 Bond project. As community outreach and the project scope develops, these sections will be updated as more is learned.

Will this be voted on?

General obligation bonds require voter approval.

What can be paid for with an obligation bond?

The Oregon Constitution limits what local governments can use bond dollars for to capital costs. These costs can include the purchase of land, construction, improvements, remodeling, and equipment. Routine maintenance, such as supplies or employees are not bond elidgable.

Why a bond?

Like other local governments, the City of Salem issues bonds to pay for expensive infrastructure. After being approved by votes, they are paid back through property taxes. This is similar to a homeowner taking out a loan to make improvements to their home. Due to some of the City's existing bonds being paid back in the next several years, coupled with refinancing opportunities, the City is in a position to issue up to $300 million in bonds over the next 10 years without increasing the taxing rate.

What's all this about a levy rate?

A levy rate is the amount of money that local governments (cities, counties, water districts, etc) have been approved to assess on the value of a property. Due to legislative measures in the 1990's, local governments have been limited to the rate they can assess on properties in order to fund their expenses and on the value of properties themselves. Since these limitations were put in place, taxing jurisdictions have used bonding to fund large capital projects. When a taxing jurisdiction bonds for capital expenses, they go to the voters for permission to assess an additional levy which is not limited by the legislative measures. For the 2022 bond measure, the levy rate currently assessed for Salem bonds will not increase.

What sort of oversight will there be if the bond passes?

If the bond passes, there will continue to be an appointed group that will continue to serve as oversight for the bond. This is in addition to financial reporting requirements reviewed by an outside  auditor as part of the annual financial audit.

proposed allocation of bond funds at 50% for Street, Bridges, and Sidewalks, 8.6% for Fire Engines and Equipment, 5% for Affordable Housing, 11.6% for Parks and Recreation, 4.6% for Future Fire Station Property, 4% for Civic Center Earthquake Improvements, 5% for Technology Upgrades.

Fire engines and equipment

Purchased with bond funds in 2006, Salem's fire engines and ladder trucks are nearly 15 years old and are reaching the equivalent of 400,000 road miles. Despite excellent maintenance, the fire engines and other life-saving equipment are in urgent need of replacement.

Streets and sidewalks

As funding from Salem's 2008 bond measure winds down, 66 projects citywide are complete and another 6 projects are underway . Transportation needs still exceed available funding.  With community input, a new list of priority projects is being developed to:

  • construct new streets and replace or add signals that improve traffic flow,
  • provide safer pedestrian crossings and install sidewalks and safe bicycle routes, and
  • rehabilitate and repair bridges throughout the community.

River Road, McGilchrist St SE, Doaks Ferry Rd NW, Battle Creek Rd SE, Browning Ave S, Fischer Rd NE, and Sunnyview Ave NE are some key roadways in need of improvement.

Park upgrades

Salem has an excellent and well-used park system, but its aging facilities need updates. Replacing restrooms at Marion Square and Wallace Marine Parks and developing new shelters, playgrounds, splash pads, trails, pickleball courts, and dog parks are among the projects identified for community priority-setting. Community-driven Master Plans for individual parks point to other improvement needs citywide.

Sites for affordable housing and shelter

Strategic investments in new permanent housing and temporary shelter are linchpins in Salem's strategy to address the problem of homelessness.

Civic center earthquake safety

The Civic Center – the City's busiest, most visited public building – was built 50 years ago. It needs rehabilitation and repair to meet current earthquake standards and improve public accessibility. Along with energy efficiency, these improvements are similar to the voter-approved rehabilitation of Salem Public Library— which was recently completed and reopened to the community.

Technology and cybersecurity

Every aspect of City of Salem service to residents and businesses is reliant on technology. Lessons learned in other cities underscore the need for up-to-date and fail-safe cybersecurity. Other investments are needed to install a backup fiber network and data storage, and to replace aging technology.

Sites for future fire stations

Salem is planning ahead to meet community needs. It is clear the City will need two new fire stations in the next decade to provide timely response in emergencies and must acquire property now for the new stations in Northeast and South Salem.

What ideas cannot be considered in the bond?

The Oregon Constitution limits the use of General Obligation bonds to capital projects like rehabilitation of facilities, construction, improvements and the purchasing of land and equipment. Bonds can not be used to fund operational expenses like supplies or employees. The Infrastructure Bond Engagement Steering Committee is considering futher project criteria beyond the limits of the Oregon Constitution which includes projects that have little to no impact on operational expenses.

Salem River Crossing will not be considered as part of the bond measure due to the limitations of the amount of the bond and project scope.  

What if the bond does not pass?

The need in the community will not change if the bond does not pass. The City will continue to have infrastructure needs that are greater than the current available resources.

If the bond passes, when will the funding be available for projects?

The bond will be on the November 2022 ballot. Upon the certification of the election by Marion and Polk Counties, the City will work with their financial advisor and bond counsel to quickly issue part of the debt as soon as possible.  

If the bond passes, there will continue to be an appointed group that will continue to serve as oversight for the bond. This is in addition to financial reporting requirements reviewed by an outside  auditor as part of the annual financial audit.

 

proposed allocation of bond funds at 50% for Street, Bridges, and Sidewalks, 8.6% for Fire Engines and Equipment, 5% for Affordable Housing, 11.6% for Parks and Recreation, 4.6% for Future Fire Station Property, 4% for Civic Center Earthquake Improvements, 5% for Technology Upgrades.

Fire engines and equipment

Purchased with bond funds in 2006, Salem's fire engines and ladder trucks are nearly 15 years old and are reaching the equivalent of 400,000 road miles. Despite excellent maintenance, the fire engines and other life-saving equipment are in urgent need of replacement.

Streets and sidewalks

As funding from Salem's 2008 bond measure winds down, 66 projects citywide are complete and another 6 projects are underway . Transportation needs still exceed available funding.  With community input, a new list of priority projects is being developed to:

  • construct new streets and replace or add signals that improve traffic flow,
  • provide safer pedestrian crossings and install sidewalks and safe bicycle routes, and
  • rehabilitate and repair bridges throughout the community.

River Road, McGilchrist St SE, Doaks Ferry Rd NW, Battle Creek Rd SE, Browning Ave S, Fischer Rd NE, and Sunnyview Ave NE are some key roadways in need of improvement.

Park upgrades

Salem has an excellent and well-used park system, but its aging facilities need updates. Replacing restrooms at Marion Square and Wallace Marine Parks and developing new shelters, playgrounds, splash pads, trails, pickleball courts, and dog parks are among the projects identified for community priority-setting. Community-driven Master Plans for individual parks point to other improvement needs citywide.

Sites for affordable housing and shelter

Strategic investments in new permanent housing and temporary shelter are linchpins in Salem's strategy to address the problem of homelessness.

Civic center earthquake safety

The Civic Center – the City's busiest, most visited public building – was built 50 years ago. It needs rehabilitation and repair to meet current earthquake standards and improve public accessibility. Along with energy efficiency, these improvements are similar to the voter-approved rehabilitation of Salem Public Library— which was recently completed and reopened to the community.

Technology and cybersecurity

Every aspect of City of Salem service to residents and businesses is reliant on technology. Lessons learned in other cities underscore the need for up-to-date and fail-safe cybersecurity. Other investments are needed to install a backup fiber network and data storage, and to replace aging technology.

Sites for future fire stations

Salem is planning ahead to meet community needs. It is clear the City will need two new fire stations in the next decade to provide timely response in emergencies and must acquire property now for the new stations in Northeast and South Salem.

What ideas cannot be considered in the bond?

The Oregon Constitution limits the use of General Obligation bonds to capital projects like rehabilitation of facilities, construction, improvements and the purchasing of land and equipment. Bonds can not be used to fund operational expenses like supplies or employees. The Infrastructure Bond Engagement Steering Committee is considering futher project criteria beyond the limits of the Oregon Constitution which includes projects that have little to no impact on operational expenses.

Salem River Crossing will not be considered as part of the bond measure due to the limitations of the amount of the bond and project scope.  

What if the bond does not pass?

The need in the community will not change if the bond does not pass. The City will continue to have infrastructure needs that are greater than the current available resources.

If the bond passes, when will the funding be available for projects?

The bond will be on the November 2022 ballot. Upon the certification of the election by Marion and Polk Counties, the City will work with their financial advisor and bond counsel to quickly issue part of the debt as soon as possible.  

Documents

Contact us

City Manager's Office
Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty St SE RM 220
Salem OR 97301
Phone: 

​Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about the 2022 Bond project. Ask community outreach and the project scope develops, these sections will be updated as more is learned.

​Like other local governments, the City of Salem issues bonds to pay for expensive infrastructure. After being approved by votes, they are paid back through property taxes. This is similar to a homeowner taking out a loan to make improvements to their home. Due to some of the City's existing bonds being paid back in the next several years, coupled with refinancing opportunities, the City is in a position to issue up to $300 million in bonds over the next 10 years without increasing the taxing rate.
​General obligation bonds require voter approval.
​The Oregon Constitution limits what local governments can use bond dollars for to capital costs. These costs can include the purchase of land, construction, improvements, remodeling, and equipment. Routine maintenance, such as supplies or employees are not bond elidgable.

The Oregon Constitution limits the use of General Obligation bonds to capital projects like rehabilitation of facilities, construction, improvements and the purchasing of land and equipment. Bonds can not be used to fund operational expenses like supplies or employees. The Infrastructure Bond Engagement Steering Committee is considering futher project criteria beyond the limits of the Oregon Constitution which includes projects that have little to no impact on operational expenses.

Salem River Crossing will not be considered as part of the bond measure due to the limitations of the amount of the bond and project scope.

​A levy rate is the amount of money that local governments (cities, counties, water districts, etc) have been approved to assess on the value of a property. Due to legislative measures in the 1990's, local governments have been limited to the rate they can assess on properties in order to fund their expenses and on the value of properties themselves. Since these limitations were put in place, taxing jurisdictions have used bonding to fund large capital projects. When a taxing jurisdiction bonds for capital expenses, they go to the voters for permission to assess an additional levy which is not limited by the legislative measures. For the 2022 bond measure, the levy rate currently assessed for Salem bonds will not increase.

The bond has been divided up into seven proposed spending categories: park upgrades, fire engines and equipment, sites for future fire stations, sites for affordable housing, technology and cybersecurity, Civic Center earthquake safety and streets and sidewalks.

Some of the proposed spending categories have fixed costs, such as fire engines and equipment. The cost for this category will be $26 million. Other categories such as parks upgrades or streets and sidewalks are flexible and projects within the categories can be scaled to community need.

 proposed allocation of bond funds at 50% for Street, Bridges, and Sidewalks, 8.6% for Fire Engines and Equipment, 5% for Affordable Housing, 11.6% for Parks and Recreation, 4.6% for Future Fire Station Property, 4% for Civic Center Earthquake Improvements, 5% for Technology Upgrades.

Fire engines and equipment

Purchased with bond funds in 2006, Salem's fire engines and ladder trucks are nearly 15 years old and are reaching the equivalent of 400,000 road miles. Despite excellent maintenance, the fire engines and other life-saving equipment are in urgent need of replacement.

Streets and sidewalks

As funding from Salem's 2008 bond measure winds down, 66 projects citywide are complete and another 6 projects are underway . Transportation needs still exceed available funding.  With community input, a new list of priority projects is being developed to:

  • construct new streets and replace or add signals that improve traffic flow,
  • provide safer pedestrian crossings and install sidewalks and safe bicycle routes, and
  • rehabilitate and repair bridges throughout the community.

River Road, McGilchrist St SE, Doaks Ferry Rd NW, Battle Creek Rd SE, Browning Ave S, Fischer Rd NE, and Sunnyview Ave NE are some key roadways in need of improvement.

Park upgrades

Salem has an excellent and well-used park system, but its aging facilities need updates. Replacing restrooms at Marion Square and Wallace Marine Parks and developing new shelters, playgrounds, splash pads, trails, pickleball courts, and dog parks are among the projects identified for community priority-setting. Community-driven Master Plans for individual parks point to other improvement needs citywide.

Sites for affordable housing and shelter

Strategic investments in new permanent housing and temporary shelter are linchpins in Salem's strategy to address the problem of homelessness.

Civic center earthquake safety

The Civic Center – the City's busiest, most visited public building – was built 50 years ago. It needs rehabilitation and repair to meet current earthquake standards and improve public accessibility. Along with energy efficiency, these improvements are similar to the voter-approved rehabilitation of Salem Public Library— which was recently completed and reopened to the community.

Technology and cybersecurity

Every aspect of City of Salem service to residents and businesses is reliant on technology. Lessons learned in other cities underscore the need for up-to-date and fail-safe cybersecurity. Other investments are needed to install a backup fiber network and data storage, and to replace aging technology.

Sites for future fire stations

Salem is planning ahead to meet community needs. It is clear the City will need two new fire stations in the next decade to provide timely response in emergencies and must acquire property now for the new stations in Northeast and South Salem.

​The bond will be on the November 2022 ballot. Upon the certification of the election by Marion and Polk Counties, the City will work with their financial advisor and bond counsel to quickly issue part of the debt as soon as possible.  

​If the bond passes, there will continue to be an appointed group that will continue to serve as oversight for the bond. This is in addition to financial reporting requirements reviewed by an outside  auditor as part of the annual financial audit.

​The need in the community will not change if the bond does not pass. The City will continue to have infrastructure needs that are greater than the current available resources.