City of Salem Reports Progress on Council Priorities

Posted on October 13, 2020

City of Salem – 10/13/20 9:00 AM

Salem, Ore. –Salem’s annual City Council Policy Agenda is how the Council makes its priorities clear to staff and the community. Each October, we release our annual progress report on those priorities.

The 2020 Policy Agenda is part of an annual cycle of budgeting, policy and program evaluation, financial forecasting, and reporting to the Council and community on progress. For 2020, priorities are organized around six result areas from the Strategic Plan:

  • Safe Community: Complete the new Salem Police Station, provide safety for bikers and walkers, prepare together for emergencies;
  • Welcoming and Livable Neighborhoods: Develop more affordable housing and provide aid to those experiencing homelessness, continue planning Our Salem and Salem Public Library seismic and safety upgrade;
  • Strong and Diverse Economy:  Focus economic activity in downtown, north downtown, and west industrial areas;
  • Safe, Reliable and Efficient Infrastructure: Continue to invest in safe drinking water, prepare asset management and bonding strategy;
  • Natural Environment Stewardship: Prepare Climate Action Plan; and
  • Good Governance: Connect and engage with our community, look at waste management fees, support revenue strategy for valued services, show progress with key performance indicators.

As this progress report is released, the City has started its Strategic Plan Update.  City Council will hold work sessions in November 2020 and January 2021 to discuss priorities, results from the annual Community Satisfaction Survey, and community and Council conversations.  The City Council may consider adoption of the Strategic Plan Update in February 2021.

Find the Strategic Plan, and annual policy agendas, community reports, and satisfaction surveys here.

Survey Finds Salem Residents Satisfied with Core Services, Concerned About Homelessness

Homelessness and affordable housing are top concerns for Salem residents, according to the 2020 Community Satisfaction Survey, but they are generally satisfied with core City services.

Since 2016, the City has commissioned the Community Satisfaction Survey to better understand community priorities. Insights drawn from the survey and other outreach activities help City leaders plan for the future of Salem. Survey results factored into the Strategic Plan Update and the City Council Policy Agenda, the Council’s annual work plan and direction to the organization.

Core Services. Consistent with responses since 2016, almost eight of 10 residents are generally satisfied with core City services including police and fire protection, parks and recreation, library, and water and sewer services.  Residents also expressed satisfaction with the City’s protection of our natural environment and support of arts and culture.

Homelessness.  Homelessness and affordable housing remain top concerns. More residents (49%) list these issues as most important for Salem.  Since 2017, we’ve increased investment in affordable housing, allowed for more housing types, and initiated the Homeless Rental Assistance Program (see Meeting Housing Needs). Since its inception, more than 260 people in our community have been served through the program.

Other Needs.  Residents also see room for improvement in walking and biking safety, creating more job opportunities, and street maintenance.  The City has focused on walking and cycling safety in recent years.  Adding lighting, pedestrian crossing improvements and new bike lands has helped. We’ve also made investments in off-street bicycle and pedestrian trails. For more details, see Biking and Walking Improvements.  Residents also asked to hear from the City more often. The City produces a weekly email newsletter to help keep residents informed of policies and activities. It’s easy to sign up.

The 2020 Community Satisfaction Survey was conducted from September 1 to September 19, 2020 via cell and land-line telephone calls and an on-line option to both English and Spanish-speaking Salem residents. Measures were taken to ensure that survey responses accurately represented all areas of the City and the diverse backgrounds of its residents.


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