Thursday, August 26, 2010

Salem makes national news twice this week!

Our capital city was featured in both the New York Times and USA Today this week. Since the subject matter has (at least some small) bearing on Salem's local economy, we're sharing them:

From the New York Times:

In many cities, the rise of a shopping mall forebodes the fall of a downtown.

Oregon's capital, which saw its downtown deteriorate when Interstate 5 and strip malls rose to the east in the 1960s, went a different direction: It built a mall downtown. A movie theater, Macy's and dozens of other Salem Center retailers continue to draw shoppers to the corner of Center and Liberty streets. "The mall definitely helps business," said Lari DeLapp, owner of the Coffee House Café.

If Salem's key to economic sustainability in the 20th century was brick-and-mortar buildings such as the mall, then what is the solution for today?

Roughly 600 University of Oregon students in 25 classes will devote 80,000 hours answering this question during the coming year. As a part of the university's three-year-old Sustainable Cities Initiative, their work will focus on making Salem more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Students in architecture, planning, law, journalism, and business classes will explore how Salem could nurture green business clusters, reuse industrial byproducts, connect parks with bicycle paths, redevelop brownfields and design energy-efficient municipal buildings, among other things.

From USA Today:

Nancy Arntson spent a year thinking about installing solar panels at her Salem home. She made up her mind to do it when she and her neighbors decided to take the plunge together -- and generate significant savings in the process.

The group of neighbors, called "Solarize Salem," is the latest in a wave of grass-roots efforts around the country to connect homeowners interested in solar power. The homeowners attend educational workshops, buy solar panels in bulk, and negotiate a group discount with a panel installer.

Arntson will pay $2,067 for a 12-panel system with a price tag of about $18,000, after state and federal tax credits, she said.

Solar installations have more than doubled since the first Portland project in 2008, said Lizzie Rubado with Energy Trust of Oregon, which handles state energy-improvement rebates. Last year, there were 363 installations, about half of which were community solar projects, she said.

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