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HOPE Plaza Breaks Ground

Written by Luis Ramirez on May. 13th, 2022
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SALEM- The Center for Hope and Safety officially broke ground on their ambitious new project, HOPE Plaza in downtown Salem.

HOPE Plaza is a project that will create housing, opportunity, partnerships, and employment at the site of the old Greyhound Bus Terminal.

On the first floor will be businesses that partner with the Center for Hope and Safety and that’ll provide job training and/or beneficial services for survivors of domestic or sexual violence. They also hope to house a Hope Builders Boutique, where folks will be able to shop for free clothing when they go on job interviews.  

The building will also include two levels of affordable housing for residents in the program, with a mixture of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. 

“We’ll have a training center and we’ve already had folks in the community reach out to do classes for us,” Executive Director Jayne Downing said. “We’ve gotten interested in someone to do wellness classes, a musician that wants to come do music therapy, yoga classes, and support groups for not only the people that live there but any people we help serve. We’ll have a warming kitchen for us to make meals for the groups or training. The third floor will also have office space for advocates working directly with the folks that live there. Help them with whatever barriers they may be facing.”

The Center for Hope and Safety is a non-profit organization in Willamette Valley whose mission is to serve victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. The organization started in 1973 to provide services in Marion, Polk, and Yamhill County. They have since started Henderson House (serving Yamhill County) and SABLE House (serving Polk County) as their sole focus is now urban and rural Marion County. 

“We’re the only organization that provides a domestic violence service in Marion County,” Downing said. “We help people get into housing, provide court support, have 24-hour bilingual service, etc. We also help individuals who have been assaulted in prison. Last year we had over 33,000 contacts into our program.”

Downing started as a volunteer with the organization 31 years ago and this July will mark her 25th year as the director. 

“When I started, there were three staff members and we all shared the same computer and it stayed that way for quite some time,” Downing said. “We opened the downtown advocacy office, which was close to the bus terminal and easy for folks to walk over to get help and support. We’ve grown our services tremendously.”

The building for the HOPE Plaza was originally on sale for 1.2 million, but negotiations with the owner led the Center for Hope and Safety to manage to purchase the location for $650,000. 

The overall price tag on the project is $14 million and so far, they have raised 93 percent of the funding.

“We’re doing some fun and exciting things with this project and want it to be self-sustaining,” Downing said. “The state of Oregon gave us 7.5 million in lottery bonds. The reason why it’s getting this kind of support is because of this model of having everything under one roof and we’re honored to have that kind of support.”

The goal is to open by the Spring of 2024. With most of the funds already secured, those interested in helping with the project can help sponsor a room.  

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