In an interview published in 2003 The New York Times said Salem’s then-Mayor Janet Taylor has “the demeanor of a chipper school principal” and often describes things as “just wonderful.”
She immersed herself in mayoral duties, logging some 50-hour weeks. When development of the Salem Convention Center seemingly was stalled 15 years ago, she and other city officials “got involved and helped cut through the red tape.” The center was built, and now it successfully anchors the south end of downtown Salem.
Although her terms as mayor (from 2003 to 2011) are now in her rear-view mirror, Mrs. Taylor this year answered the call and signed on to help pass a bond measure to build a new police center in Salem. The campaign posed some questions to her to reveal her point of view on the project.
Friends of Salem Police: Through the eyes of a former mayor, tell us, why does it take extra effort to get a bond issue passed in Salem?
Janet Taylor: Salem is a community that wants to be involved in the big decisions. It requires a lot of time to contact people, but their input is important as to all details. If it is a fair proposal (not too expensive), and a need is apparent, they will support it. The other issue that is often not acknowledged is that we have a large percentage of the population that is low income, and they simply cannot afford any more expenses.
FSP: In reducing the size and cost of the plan that voters turned down last November, what was lost in the revised police center?
JT: We lost the opportunity to include the 911 center in the building and enough space to grow for more than 30 years. I do not think either of these is a major problem for the department.
FSP: Do you believe we will one day regret not building a facility that took population growth into account?
JT: Who really knows what will challenge us in 30 years or more? Technology will change how we live, population may not grow as fast as we think, and society may change dramatically. We should have no regrets in building a 30-year facility.
FSP: When looked upon as an investment, what return will Salem residents get by approving the police center in November?
JT: By having this new facility, we will be able to recruit new police officers much easier and retain the great employees we have now. This saves money in the long run and helps us to build continuity with the community. It also shows the police department that our community respects and supports their work.
FSP: What questions and concerns are people raising when you discuss the levywith them?
JT: People have been pretty blunt when I talk to them. The purchasing of private property and taking it off the tax rolls is a surprising concern. When you add up the State of Oregon, Marion County, City of Salem, and the many non-profits (churches, etc.) many people are concerned about the inability to spread the tax burden fairly. The cost of the first proposal last November is front and center in listening to them, and I have had a mostly positive response to the $20 million reduction in cost. There is limited comment on seismic issues for the library and civic center. I sense that is more than voters are ready to decide, and they seem fine with waiting until November 2017 to consider.
FSP: Why did you decide to co-chair the Friends of Salem Police political action committee?
JT: Gerry Frank called me to join the campaign team. You do not say no to Gerry. The team asked Gerry and me to co-chair, and the opportunity to work closely with him is a privilege. I also have high respect for Chief Jerry Moore and the whole department, so it was an easy decision to join the group.
FSP: Are any other former mayors endorsing the levy?
JT: Former Mayor Sue Miller is endorsing, but I am not aware of what the others are doing.
Social Media: Helpful Information Tools
Many people responded to pollsters in February that one reason for voting “no” on the November 2016 police center bond measure was there wasn’t enough information available about the measure to vote “yes.”
Consequently, the City of Salem and the Friends of Salem Police have committed to making certain that all questions and concerns about the revised police center proposal (Measure 24-420) are addressed well in advance of the May 16 election day.
Transparency has been the hallmark of the political action committee's work to back the project.
All factual content posted at friendsofsalempolice.com has been verified and sourced.
You can feel confident sharing news and information from the website, and we hope you will.
We also hope you continue to like and share our Facebook page, which in recent weeks has provided fresh updates about the citizen-led effort to rally support for passage. The page had 290 followers, as of last weekend, and our audience is growing every day. The page reached 4,645 people last week.
Please help us with this snowballing social media campaign.
If you believe the time is now for replacing Salem's inadequate, cramped police headquarters, help us spread the truth about its replacement via social media. Go to “Friends of Salem Police” on Facebook and follow us. Like the posts and share them with your friends and family. Visit our website, friendsofsalempolice.com. There is a considerable amount of information there, from answers to questions to published opinions about the measure to facts about the proposed center.
The City of Salem also has a website bursting with helpful information about the ballot measure. Visit the site at http://arcg.is/2o4QTCJ.
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Snippets from Recent Letters to the Editor
Now is the time to support the new police facility
“Where the police are located now in the Civic Center, there is minimal privacy or safety for the officers, the staff and, even more importantly, the people they serve: the victims. The current location allows the victim and the suspect to be in the same waiting room while they check in. Domestic violence victims have absolutely no protection from their predators while they are walking into the police station from the dark, underground parking lot...
“Salem is a beautiful city that serves and welcomes everyone and it is constantly seeking ways to improve. Now is the time to support the new police facility. Please vote yes on Measure 24-420.”
Laura Morrett, Salem
Statesman Journal, April 4, 2017
Support bond and give our police updated facilities
“Currently, the department has to lease additional space for the crime lab, evidence, training, meetings and to store special police vehicles for SWAT and bomb squad. Having everything under one roof will surely enable quicker response times and also save the city money. A modern facility will be much more efficient for the officers and civilian staff, enabling them to do the great job they already do for us even better.
“It’s time to bring our police department out of the ’70s. Let’s all join our city council and unanimously vote yes in May for a new police center!”
Dan Wellert, Salem
Statesman Journal, April 3, 2017