Since joining Salem City Council in late 2019, I've made Salem's most vulnerable residents my top priority. I've also worked with business leaders to support locally-owned businesses through the pandemic. Here are some highlights:
As a member of the City's Citizen Budget Committee since 2017, I have kept Salem "in the black" for years. Year after year, the City of Salem received clean financial audits and earned one of the highest financial ratings from Moody's. Salem is nationally recognized for its sound financial management.
I voted to (1) build permanent supportive housing for hundreds of persons experiencing homelessness; (2) create low-cost managed shelter sites with wraparound services; (3) create housing for low-income seniors, families, military veterans, persons with disabilities, and persons with serious mental illness; (4) direct grant funds to non-profit partners dedicated to ending homelessness; and (5) fund a Navigation Center for persons experiencing homelessness.
INVESTING IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
I approved private-public partnerships to increase affordable housing. I increased our Salem Housing Authority staff, so that staff can reach more people and apply for more affordable housing grant funds. I voted to approve affordable housing projects in West Salem, South Salem, Southeast Salem, downtown Salem, and more. I voted to fund Redwoods and Sequoia Crossings, which provide housing to persons with severe mental illness and persons struggling with homelessness. I also voted to support funding for the ARCHES Inn, which opened its doors to house survivors of the Santiam Canyon wildfire.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
I voted to approve grant funds for folks who want to open or enhance a downtown business. I voted to support grant funds towards the construction of a new downtown hotel, new housing where the vacant Nordstrom once stood, new housing and small businesses in the vacant Whitlock Sewing building, and a downtown outdoor dining program to help restaurants survive the pandemic. I voted to increase security staffing for downtown parking structures. I also voted to approve a rapid response sanitation team in order to timely respond to complaints of garbage from illegal camping. I voted to direct state grant funds towards improvements in our airport's infrastructure.
HELPING LOW-INCOME SENIORS
I voted to sell unused city land to the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley so they can build tiny homes for low-income seniors. I volunteered for Meals on Wheels and recruited volunteers to support low-income seniors during the pandemic.
SUPPORTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS
I directed grant funds towards the building of low-income housing and support for survivors of domestic violence.
ENGAGING AT-RISK YOUTH
I voted to approve a youth shelter on Turner Road. I raised awareness about youth homelessness after touring Salem's overnight youth shelter and day center.
TAKING ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
I voted to approve the City's first-ever Climate Action Plan and served on the Climate Action Task Force. I support the Salem Bike Vision and voted to invest in bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure around the city. I voted to approve accepting grant funding from Portland General Electric to build electric vehicle charging stations for city vehicles and to build our state's first-ever solar microgrid.
I voted for a performance audit of the Salem Police Department. I voted to increase police funding, including funding for the Behavioral Health Unit, which handles high-acuity 911 calls involving persons struggling with mental illness. I voted to add funding for two new fire stations in the city's infrastructure bond measure, which the voters passed by a wide margin in November 2022.
SUPPORTING SANTIAM CANYON WILDFIRE SURVIVORS
I brought a team of volunteers and supplies to Gates, Oregon to assist with the wildfire relief efforts. I voted to direct city funds towards the ARCHES Inn, which houses Santiam Canyon wildfire survivors.
COLLABORATING WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS
As a member of the YMCA Board of Directors since 2019, I helped raise funds for our new flagship Y facility and a housing project for military veterans. The new YMCA is on track to open in late September 2022. The YMCA military housing project is currently under construction. I have also supported directing grant funding to Seeds of Faith Ministries, Church at the Park, the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, the Center for Hope and Safety, St. Francis Shelter, and the Marion-Polk Food Share.
INVESTING IN OUR PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM
I voted to create free, three-hour parking at our Main Library branch. I also voted to include two library branches in our infrastructure bond measure, which was passed overwhelmingly by the voters in November 2022.