Current Public Policy priorities
The Salem Chamber works with community partners to promote investments in the future economic health of our region. From education to public safety, the Chamber is the positive voice for business.
The Chamber works to make sure our infrastructure meets the transportation, safety, and service needs that support our region’s long-term economic vitality.
- Salem River Crossing – The Salem River Crossing project is working to find a way to reduce traffic congestion on the two bridges that cross the Willamette River. The Salem Chamber has been active in advocating the need for an additional bridge and the impact it would have on the community.
- Expanded public transit service in Salem and Keizer. It is estimated that Salem-Keizer Transit could offer deeper evening and weekend service with an additional $5 million in revenue per year. We are committed to working with SK Transit at the state level to assist in securing this funding.
- Highway 22 and Cordon Road Interchange (new): With increased commercial traffic at Mill Creek Corporate Center, having a transportation infrastructure in place that adequately accommodates both residents and businesses in the area is key. We will drive conversations with the City of Salem, Marion County and State of Oregon transportation planners to see this through.
- Free Market Ride Sharing: Ride shares such as Lyft were welcomed to Salem in 2017. They are an alternative to help residents get around town easily and safely by helping to keep roads free of intoxicated drivers. Lyft will boost the economy by expanding the reach of Salem businesses and opening the market for the city to attract more people.
- Commercial air service to Salem Airport.
Education & Workforce Development
Our partnerships between the business community and our school district help students connect classroom learning with the expectations of the workplace. By investing in our future workforce, we build a stronger economy for our region for generations to come. Learn more about our workforce development efforts.
- Career Technical Education Center – The Chamber continues to be a strong advocate for the importance of this project as a cornerstone of our workforce development strategy.
Strong public safety systems are key elements in the quality of life of a community, as well as its economic prosperity.
- Salem’s Police Department – In 2016, the Police Facility Bond failed, but laid the groundwork for a successful campaign in 2017, which passed with a decisive 62 percent of voters’ support. The Salem Chamber advocated for the bond as a crucial next-step to build a police facility to match the growing community because it is imperative that the capital city of Oregon serves as an example for the rest of the state by protecting its 160,000 citizens.
Tax increment funding is being dedicated for revitalization developments in the following Urban Renewal Areas below. Some of these URA plans are in infancy, some are maturing. All, once enacted, will provide tremendous leverage of public and private funding to create jobs and opportunities.
- McGilchrist expansion from 22nd to 25th: Increased manufacturing activity in this area has dictated a need for transportation that allows traffic to move more efficiently through this local economic hot spot.
- Portland Road: The North Gateway of Salem is ripe for infrastructure enhancements that will attract private investment. With its close proximity to Interstate 5, this is vital real estate to Salem’s economic advantage.
- Downtown Urban Renewal: The Salem Convention Center has become a cornerstone of our downtown’s viability. With the payoff of the loan (in 2017) that enabled the Salem Convention Center’s development, the next significant investments are being discussed now by the Downtown Advisory Board and the Urban Renewal Agency. Look for more information on these potential projects from us in the coming months.
- Closing the Fairview Urban Renewal Agency, and creating a State Street Urban Renewal Agency.
- West Salem Business District: With transportation enhancements on the horizon, West Salem will become far more suitable for new residential and commercial developments.
Contemporary Business Issues:
- Marijuana and its place in our local economy: Measure 91 passed a vote of the people of Oregon in 2014, and a new industry is unfolding. While the Salem Chamber did not take a position on this measure, we will work to ensure municipalities retain leverage to implement policies that reflect local values.
- The North Campus of the Oregon State Hospital represents a unique private sector opportunity to develop centrally located property, currently held by the State of Oregon.
Attracting Companies and Professionals
- Becoming a riverfront-centric city and downtown (recreational events, boating, development, trail along Willamette River).
- Dark fiber wifi throughout Salem to bolster our technological infrastructure and bandwidth.
- Various “sizzle and opportunity” projects: marketing Salem the way this video does.