Doug Bowker

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March, 2021

Doug Bowker's projects

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Commented on Leefort Terrace 5 months, 3 weeks ago
I think you hit all the points exactly on the head Shannon. To anyone who says the current rundown housing on the site "blends in" is kidding themselves. They don't blend in; they are if anything a continuous reminder of neglected maintenance. Even the day they were built they leaned more towards "utility" than beautiful. And all this talk of "don't take away my view"... If things keep heading the way they are everyone's "view" (including homes right on the waterfront) may be facing an ocean retaining wall. But well before that possibility, we're all in an area completely vulnerable to storm flooding. That's not a future thing, it's a "right now" thing.

I don't think people realize that most of the streets just a block out from the shoreline are actually BELOW sea level. If the Salem Housing Authority is going to be upping the grade for this new development, it may be the very thing that saves the homes situated behind it (even if they do lose their "view").

Take a look at the FEMA flood zone maps from 2013: Literally every street from Leefort Terrace and on back to Fort Ave are in the flooded zone. Right now, only the elementary school is above grade. Again, this is not an "if" situation, it a "when" situation.
Supported a comment by Shannon Bailey on Leefort Terrace 5 months, 3 weeks ago
Shannon Bailey
I feel as though I have an obligation to say something here. I am a resident of Lee Fort Terrace and have been here for 21 years come July. I'm disabled. There are some comments and speculations from which need correcting here. Some "neighbors" are insisting on speaking on behalf of us tenants here. First off that isn't your right. Secondly, not all tenants here agree with you. If you've been to the meetings then you will know who I am. Here are the facts. We are in dire need of redevelopment. We can prove to you that our building foundations are cracking (splitting down the middle to be more precise) to the point that our floors slant, our street floods on high tides, some units are invested with mice and some mold. Some have both. The mold in my apartment alone is outrageous. I've been to the meetings and not one person who has spoken out has asked about the welfare of us here so please don't use us as an argument. In fact, at the last meeting, I have never felt more discriminated against in my life. If you saw our living conditions maybe you'd realize you're very wrong. I get you have rights as our neighbors but you think, because we're old and disabled here, that we don't deserve better. While we want to find common ground you all seem to just want us gone. Just because we're poor doesn't mean we're not entitled to quality life.
Supported a comment by Shannon Bailey on Leefort Terrace 5 months, 3 weeks ago
Shannon Bailey
I truly get your side to this but, again, this is not a 5+ storied building. While I would love for it to be more of the same community it's not feasible. There is a reason why housing authorities have dilapidated buildings. This is not a SHA issue. This has been happening all over the country. Because we only pay 30% of our income it's not enough to offset the costs of running the properties. I've known this for years. While I'd love to see every unit be for the elderly/disabled/vets only, realistically it doesn't work. Especially if Beacon is putting in most of the funding. They are for profit and never claimed not to be. What happened here will only happen again. We have to progress in order to keep things updated and not watch it go to waste again. In regards to the aesthetic I find I'm repeating myself. Everyone's main view isn't of the ocean, it's of the giant power plant in our backyard! This neighborhood is full of all types of housing from homes to condos to a power plant and now affordable apartments. I'm not quite sure what you mean by they're taking advantage of us and reducing our quality of life? I need my hip replaced and I can't come home to recuperate because it isn't safe. Right now I have very little quality of life. Unless you've been in our shoes you can't understand what quality of life means for us.
Supported a comment by Amy VanDoren on Leefort Terrace 8 months, 3 weeks ago
Amy VanDoren
As a neighbor and former low income housing professional, I am very much in support of the Leefort Terrace development and the Beacon Companies' role. Aside from Section 8 rent supplements and private developer set asides, there has been virtually no public funding of below market rate housing development since the Nixon administration. That puts all of us 50 years behind. Let's not let the good be the enemy of the perfect in this situation. The tiered development offers an opportunity to use limited available tools to provide a creative solution to a housing shortage for all income levels. Perfect does not exist in the real world, let's work together to effect the best possible improvement for a site which is, largely, at this point, environmentally contaminated and used as a storage site for public works construction. Time spent saying "no" instead of "I can help make it better" needlessly uses up the finite resources that can be used constructively to help the process. Change is tough; moving into a sustainable future is so important. Please, fellow citizens, direct your energies to making this project the best it can be within the constraints of reality.
Commented on Leefort Terrace 8 months, 3 weeks ago
It feels like many commenters have not bothered to read the proposal so here are the basics: 1. Unit Count & Parking - 123 units, 123 parking spots. 2. All existing Leefort Terrace residents will have the right to return. 3. The replacement public housing units will continue to serve households 62 and older, while the remaining units will be open to families and individuals of all ages. 4. All units will be universally designed. 5. Affordability - 100% affordable at moderate- low- and extremely low- income households. 6. The building configuration will remove the residential units from the flood plain by building them on a podium that is partially built into the land. The units there now are old and past the point of repair, none are ADA compliant, all are on the flood plain, and there are not enough of them. Neighbors complaining about losing "their view" just aren't thinking. By raising the LeeFort site, it will be protecting everyone in the area from flooding too, which is kind of a win/win. But an "all public" option is just not practical and is essentially asking to triple our taxes, which I can't imagine anyone wants. Salem could get 10X the Federal dollars it just received, and it STILL wouldn't be enough to deal with everything that needs fixing or replacing within the city limits. Half of the city is at or below sea-level and we're going to need to figure out how to protect it, and soon.
Commented on Leefort Terrace 9 months, 2 weeks ago
I just wanted to point out that since the City started using Zoom for meetings, citizen participation is actually "up" 300%. Many more people can't make meetings in person (time, child-care, work conflicts etc.) than via Zoom, though ideally at some point we'd have hybrid meetings to reach even more.