The “State Street Corridor”

The City of Salem is rolling out a new plan called “The State Street Corridor” …and to that end we attended a recent neighborhood meeting where we were to sit around some tables and “brainstorm”…and the idea of planting came up, and trash, and this reminded us of the “State Street Renewal” group of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.  This was a cooperation between NEN (Northeast Neighbors) and SESNA (Southeast Salem Neighborhood Association)…brought about really by Roger Hull (NEN) and Marcia Hoak (SESNA).  Over the course of several years neighbors from both neighborhoods picked up trash (my “beat” was the north side of State between 14th and 17th) once a month, on the theory that trash begets more trash.  Then Marcia and Roger spearheaded a tree planting initiative that involved the planting of some 20 trees along State Street on both sides of the street….

NOBODY at our table, including senior city staffers, had heard of “State Street Renewal”.  As luck would have it, Marcia was seated at another table and NOBODY at her table had heard of it either.  I had written about it here but promised Roger and Marcia I’d revisit the subject…I found this original clipping with the photo of the two of them but was wondering how I’d ever get a current photos and…voila…we turned up at the same event…

Roger and Marcia historic

MArcia and Roger

and I found this with R on the left and son Zach on the right…1991…


so I ran out and took a couple of the street today and it looks like now, 25 years later, they are getting ready to cut them down as they are beginning to break the sidewalk…ah institutional memory..this is for Marcia and Roger who were determined.

south side

North side



  1. Wow, Marcia Hoak! A name from my past, though I have not remember in exactly what context we intersected when I lived in Salem.

  2. sad about the buckling sidewalks and the trees that may be removed. it certainly was a heroic effort to get them all planted not to mention the volunteer garbage pickup. loved the retro report, bonnie.

  3. Thanks for the report, as i missed the meeting (my middle name). I am saddened to hear that they may cut down those trees. Seems to me, there is a lot of that going on in Salem these days. There must be a way to save them. I’d prefer they removed the sidewalk….it would be like a walk in the park!

  4. This is a wonderful post! Full of what can be done on the “grass roots” that is, tree roots level! I so wish that the ‘solution’ to any problem with a living thing is to remove it in favor of the built environment. Hooray for Roger, Marcia, you, dear Bonnie and all involved in the original and now the contemporary efforts. And particular thanks for the historical perspective w/ updates!

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