PLATFORM

My Priorities

"The important issues facing Ward 1 include decreasing the number of people experiencing homelessness in every way we can, and doing more to improve mobility, particularly during rush hour. We continue to need investment in our sidewalks and would benefit from more crosswalks and safer routes to schools. "
ISSUES I CARE MOST ABOUT
Homelessness

We must work with all community partners and the State to invest in compassionate, sustainable solutions to address our current homelessness crisis. This includes a Navigation Center with a Sobering Center for people to find the help they need. It also includes a 24/7 low barrier shelter large enough to accommodate all who need it. Storage facilities are critical for helping people to get to their jobs. I want to see those throughout the city, as well as public bathrooms that are open for all to use. 

Active Transportation

I have a passion for active transportation! I want to improve neighborhood livability with safe crossings, better sidewalks and connected bikeways. Salem has underinvested in facilities to make walking and biking safe and enjoyable for all our residents, young and old. That needs to change. I also want to work more collaboratively with Cherriots to dramatically increase the use of our transit system with better and more affordable service.

Parks and Greenspace

Beautiful, well cared for, public green spaces must be a priority for our city, especially as we become more densely populated. I want to focus on creating more parks and greenspaces wherever possible, including pocket parks and dog parks. We also have too many parks with minimal or no development of facilities for children and families. That needs to change. I would love to see Riverfront park extended north to Keizer Rapids Park, which would connect vast biking and walking trails on both sides of the river. If completed, this would be a key feature for our city.

Thriving Downtown

Revitalizing downtown as a vibrant place for people to live, work, visit and shop is a top priority for me. Downtown Salem was on a roll before our city was confronted with a severe homelessness crisis where we saw two separate issues collide — wanting to help those in need and also wanting to support downtown businesses. Then, if that wasn't bad enough, the coronavirus pandemic hit and dealt a serious blow to downtown vitality. My job as Councilor for Ward 1, which includes downtown, will be to do whatever we can to revive and restore our downtown as soon as possible. 

And let's not forget downtown West Salem! I will work to see Edgewater Street become the downtown "Main Street" of West Salem with thriving shops, restaurants and small businesses. There is so much potential there and so many great things already happening. I can’t wait to get to work there, helping to improve and highlight a wonderful part of town.

New River Crossing

I want to develop a new vision for a regionally-funded river crossing that respects the needs of everyone. The Salem River Crossing project was rejected by a majority of the Salem City Council because it was too destructive to homes and businesses and Wallace Marine Park and the Edgewater District. It's time to move on and pursue short-term solutions to make a significant dent in rush hour traffic congestion, while pursuing the longer term solution of a new river crossing plan that does less harm and is affordable for Salem citizens.

Local Climate Action

We need to implement a Climate Action Plan for Salem that improves mobility, promotes zero waste, and increases our tree canopy. Salem is the only major city in Oregon without a plan to reduce carbon emissions. We must act as individuals, and at all levels of government, to address the Climate Emergency. A local Climate Action Plan will provide leadership and direction for our city's residents and businesses. 

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© 2020 by  Virgina Stapleton