Development Continues at Fairview
In 2004, the 275 acres of land that housed the Fairview Training Center, a state facility for people with developmental disabilities, were purchased by Sustainable Fairview Associates [SFA]. SFA created the Fairview Master Plan, which laid out a plan for developing the land. The plan included 180 apartments which would be built by Mountain West Investment Corporation. The plan also included a city park, single-family homes, and potential shops and offices.
The goal was to create a community with a variety of housing types to support diverse needs. It would include trails, parks and open space accessible to the public. It would utilize natural resources, because the land includes wetlands, riparian corridors, and trees. SFA planned to build all services within walking distance to encourage alternative transportation.
Construction on the single family units has already begun, roughly 60 have been built so far. Construction of the apartments is expected to begin soon. It is expected that the first few units of apartments, which have been approved by the Salem Planning Commission, will be ready to rent by the summer of 2020. More residential development is planned for the Western portions of the site. The Village Center will be located in the central and east portions of the training center. This will be the central core of the community and will include residential housing, office, and retail space.
“It’s been a part of Salem since 1907 and although there was unfortunate mistreatment of the patients it’s good having it as a reminder from what we used to be like to how we have changed today,” Jessica Vaca-Wills ‘19 said, on the removal of the buildings.
Many people have argued that the Fairview Training Center is a historical part of Salem and should not be torn down even with the dark history surrounding the treatment of patients at the facility. They think it is still important to keep it because it was the first state run facility with a goal of educating its patients and providing them with the opportunities to get them ready to go back into the world. However the building are in serious disrepair and are currently unsafe to enter. The buildings are a common spot for vandalism and there are rumors of gangs meeting there.
“No, it shouldn’t be torn down because it’s an important part of salem. I have seen images and it’s very cool to see how the buildings have changed over time,” Tyani Aguiar ‘ 21 said.
The Fairview Training Center was established in 1907 and first opened in 1908 for Oregonians. It was presented as the first asylum in Oregon that would be educational. Its goal was to provide patients with the essential skills needed to be able to get back into the real world.
The first residents were 39 patients who transferred from the Oregon State Hospital. They were admitted to a compound with an administration building, dormitory building, laundry and boiler house. As the years went by, the facility kept improving and more cottages were built to accommodate its residents.
In 2000, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Health Care Financing Administration was held. They discovered disturbing abuse that occured when federal funding was cut. The training center was forced to shut down to prevent this abuse from continuing.