Salem visioning initiative releases progress report

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Just more than a year after its launch, the Imagine Salem initiative has released a progress report that includes a vision of what the city could be at the time of its 400th anniversary, eight years from now.
The report, compiled following a series of open forums and meetings to gather feedback from the community, states the following vision: “In 2026, we are a sustainable and livable city where we celebrate our diverse histories and where people of all backgrounds and means participate and thrive.”
Imagine Salem consists of a working group of residents, volunteers, and a number of municipal staff. The initiative created opportunities for members of the community to meet and discuss what they love about Salem, what their experiences have been, and how the city can move forward. Imagine Salem identifies “inclusivity and equity” as its cornerstones.
The group hosted an interactive citywide forum in March 2017, followed by a strong digital campaign, small group discussions (“coffee klatches”), and bilingual postcards distributed at busy locations across the city in an effort to cast a wide net. An online survey generated 1,200 responses.
“The work is far from done,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll, “as this conversation will continue onward into developing specific goals and action items to achieve those goals.”
The initiative, launched in the fall of 2016, is looking toward the 400th anniversary of the city’s founding by exploring four core categories: population, housing, employment and transportation, as well as the interactions among them.
The initiative also received feedback on K-12 public education, which was shared with the Salem Public School District.
The progress report, available at, highlights community feedback, combined with data analysis and examples of existing policies, to determine the values of the community and suggest next steps for a resilient Salem in the coming years.
The report identifies Salem as a community that recognizes and values its diversity, and finds that inclusivity and equity in decision-making will be vital to the city’s continued growth.