We had an encouraging response to our question about events in downtown Salem at the Salem Downtown Organization meeting and online. We’re still compiling results and will offer a focused survey next week to refine the data. So far, it looks like placemaking in alleys is the most popular. Don’t forget the mandatory meeting November 19th for the $2000 city grant!
This 1974 editorial captures the challenge facing building community in downtown today. Forty years later, we find ourselves without a unified voice for attracting visitors downtown. Over the past decade, four separate groups have attempted to represent downtown interests; Salem Downtown Association (see article), Go Downtown Salem, Salem Downtown Partnership and the City of Salem. Each suffered the same fate: loss of funding by the check-writers.
Meanwhile, promotion of downtown withers and market failures increase.
Salem Downtown, a project by Salem Creative Network, has addressed lack of downtown programming since 2009, starting with Creative Pub Crawl, a monthly event exposing visitors to nightlife downtown. These efforts have grown to include Pop Up art gallery, UpSalem Social Innovation Center, Mid-Valley Makers, Cherry City Music Festival, Mix-n-Mash and First Wednesday Pop Up in the Alleys.
Now, we’ve taken on our biggest challenge – applying five years of social innovation research directly to the market. Salem Downtown Organization (SDO), a mutually beneficial 501(c)(6) business trade organization, focuses on improving community through promotion and event production in the Central Business District and surrounding areas. SDO aims to represent businesses, organizations and individuals interested in building community downtown.
The first meeting is Thursday, November 13, 2:30 p.m. at 260 Liberty St NE. Agenda items include event planning, mobile app development and shared calendars. The group seeks fresh blood and ideas for attracting visitors and improving the economy.
Are you up for the challenge? Let’s get innovative!
Thousands of maker fans turned out on a sunny Sunday afternoon to experience open streets, active entertainment and support local Mid-Valley Makers exhibiting on the Capitol Mall. Three breweries, a cider works and a distillery offered craft drinks to complement the mobile cuisine from the 4-truck food pod. Art vendors were especially busy keeping up with the traffic and the live music kept everyone in good spirits. It was a great example of collaboration, led by the City of Salem and Salem Sunday Streets.
If you missed the fun, First Wednesday Pop Up in the the Alleys happens Wednesday, October 1. It’s OKTOBERFEST!
First Wednesday Pop Up expands to Wisteria alley with 8 mid-valley brew, cider and spirit makers and more art, food trucks and entertainment on Wednesday, September 3 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Then, on Sunday, September 7, Mid-Valley Makers join Salem Sunday Streets for a celebration of open streets.
Mid-Valley Makers on the Capitol Mall offers art booths, a food pod and a beer and cider garden in the shade of the State Capitol State Park cherry trees. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic and lawn games to enjoy the concert by March Fourth Marching Band, City of Pieces and Tokyo International University of America Taiko drummers. Dog/Kid/Bike friendly!
Three dog-friendly walking tours, Salem’s first food pod and alley party add sizzle to downtown this First Wednesday. From 5:00 to 9:00, Fusion, Uncle Chuck’s Wagon and Sample This Barbecue will line up in the alley behind Ladd and Bush Bank. They will be joined by Vagabond Brewing, Santiam Brewing, 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Hard Times Distillery. Two Kilts Brewing pours across the street in Uptown Insurance.
At 6:30, three walking tours will be offered for baseball fans and dog lovers. Kylie Pine, curator at Willamette Heritage Center, will talk about downtown baseball and Salem Creative Network will lead an alley parade and creek side stroll with sites of interest.
There are plenty of stores open late and lots more dog events throughout downtown.
Art, music, food and drink christen a new era when the first Salem food pod pulls into the alley behind Taproot (Pete’s Place) during First Wednesday Pop Up. Fusion, Sample This BBQ and Uncle Chuck’s Wagon join Vagabond Brewing, Santiam Brewing, 2 Towns Cider House and Hard Times Distillery for an event celebrating Mid-Valley Makers and First Wednesday in downtown Salem. 20 artists will exhibit work at the art fair and the stage features music, acrobatics and fencing. The event is free and occurs 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 6th. Reply if you are interested in participating or volunteering.
Historic Dog Walking Tour allows dogs to take their owners for a walk around downtown on First Wednesday. There’s a short alley parade and a longer stroll in the shade to Pringle Park. Both are free and include sites of interest. Dogs are asked to meet in the alley beside Uptown Insurance, 349 State St. at 6:30 p.m.
Regardless of their background, the Mid-Valley Makers that influenced downtown Salem were All-American. They worked hard and played hard, paying tribute to the country that allowed success and to the community that provided the resources and talent for prosperity.
All-American: Mid-Valley Makers on First Wednesday shares stories about influential Americans in downtown Salem, including Charles Bennett (started the 1849 Gold Rush), Vic Trevitt (Mexican-American war hero) and Jonathan Bourne (initiative and referendum creator). The 90 minute walking tour also covers sites visited by patriotic American figures John Philips Sousa, Susan B. Anthony and Herbert Hoover.
Enjoy a stroll around downtown and take in some culture. Lots of businesses are open late for your enjoyment and entertainment. Ursprung heritage event starts 6p at Blade Fit 150 Liberty St NE.
Spirits of the Underground happens tonight during First Wednesday. We’re touring old saloon sites and the looking up from the underground starting 6:00 pm at Blade Fit. Mid-Valley distilleries are offering samples in Blade Fit and Uptown Insurance from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Grand Vines, Brown’s Towne Lounge and Magoo’s are featuring Oregon spirits along the route. The tour or the tastings are a fun excuse to enjoy some spring air.
The 8th Cherry City Music Festival happens April 3, 4, 5, 2014. This year 41 bands are playing in 9 venues around town. Almost all performances are free and 21+. Minors welcome at the Capital City TV live broadcast. Check out the updated schedule at Cherry City Music Festival.
Stakeholders interested in discussing marketing strategies for downtown Salem convene today to discuss the impact of the economic improvement district (EID) and other efforts to improve commerce for downtown business and property owners during two workshops scheduled for noon and 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 3 at UpSalem Social Innovation Center, 365 Ferry St SE.
Summit participants will be presented with the history and current status of the downtown marketing and promotion efforts, assess the effectiveness of various marketing implementations and develop a strategy for positive growth in the absence of an EID.
The summit revisits the Mobilizing Stakeholders to Create a Sociable City meeting conducted by the Salem Creative Network in 2011 and will assess the other core elements necessary for a healthy downtown; entertainment, public safety, venue safety, multi-use sidewalks, transportation and quality of life.
The downtown marketing strategy summit is open to all interested stakeholders and free to participants.