MEET THE GNA BOARD

2023 -24 GRANT NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION BOARD

Officers

Sam Skillern, Co-Chair — Cottage Street
Marissa Theve, Co-Chair/By Laws—  Gaines Street

Susan Napack, Vice-Chair/Communications/Outreach—  Summer Street
Jeanne Boatwright, Secretary — D Street
Aaron Terpening, Land Use Chair Church Street

Sub Committees
Lola Hackett, CERT Chair— Summer Street


Board

Mark DeCoursey - Shipping Street
Tim France — Gaines Street

Christopher Hackett — Summer Street 

Tina Hansen — Broadway Street
Laura Herrmann/By LawsBelmont Street

Teresa Joslin — Capitol Street

Kay Keys - Summer Street

Nick Maselli Gaines Street

Michael Pettit - Capitol Street

MICHAEL PETTIT
Board Member
General Manager of Superstop Market on Capitol Street
How long have you lived in Grant and why did you move here?

I don't live in Grant  but I came here because the job was here. I worked here when it was still 7-11 and the new owner kept me on and advanced me to manager. That being said, Shani and I are still looking for a place to rent that we can afford.

What does a typical Tuesday look like to you?

There is no such thing as a typical Monday or Tuesday here as they are the 2 busiest days here. I normally get to the store at 5:00 am. At 5:30 I drive to King Doughnuts to pay for the week's supply and pick up our order for the day. By the time I get back our merch order is here and ready to unpack. During the day of stocking freight, I also have to talk to vendors and put away a beer delivery as well. When I can get caught up on that then I have to update our inventory in the computer, answer messages/email. Normally, if I'm lucky, I can get out of here and go home about 9:30-10:00 but, homes not much fun because I leave Shani at the store so home is empty except for the cat!

What hidden gem do you want to keep secret about the Grant neighborhood but you also can't help telling others about?

I don't have a hidden gem about Grant as I haven't explored it enough but one of the kids in the neighborhood does have a sweet old T-Bird I like to look at. I'm a bit of a car guy.

If you could transform Grant tomorrow, what would it look like?

I'm still so new here that I don't know what changes I would like to see, if any.

What do you hope to learned from volunteering on the GNA board?

It's not that I hope to learn much from being on the board as much as I would like to give the people over in our area a voice. I talk to people around the store and most don't know they even live in Grant or that there is a neighborhood association! I want to get the word out. I grew up in a town half the size of Silverton and everyone knew everyone. We could never do that with Salem but we could come close with Grant. I'm old enough to appreciate talking face to face over video chat. I prefer a phone call over a message and that is why some people have a hard time getting me, I just forget to check my messages!

KAT KEYS
Board Member

How long have you lived in Grant and why did you move here?

My grandmother's house was the first home I knew (born in Salem). It was the one home we returned to multiple times during my father's military career. So you might say I've been in/around the Grant Neighborhood my entire life. I live here because it feels like home.

What does a typical Tuesday look like to you?

A typical Tuesday begins with a morning 5k at Minto Brown Island Park with my husband and dog. In the afternoon I walk to the Pushes and Pulls Pilates studio on Broadway for a workout session.

What hidden gem do you want to keep secret about the Grant neighborhood but you also can't help telling others about?

My hidden gem of the neighborhood is it's walkability. I love being able to walk downtown, to the Saturday Market, or Riverfront Park.

What do you hope to learned from volunteering on the GNA board?

 I hope that being on the board will give me some insight into city government and an understanding of the processes involved in accomplishing change.

If you could transform Grant tomorrow, what would it look like?

If I could transform the neighborhood, it would involve helping our neglected northeast corner with lawn maintenance and home repair. Invisioning well kept houses with tidy lawns.


Photo of Sam Skillern

SAM SKILLERN, Co-Chair 

How long have you lived in Grant and why did you move here?

23 years. Jennifer and I were volunteering (still are!) at Grant School and the principal, Grant Foster (and a Grant neighbor!) introduced us to Fran McComb who was selling her house on Cottage Street. We moved in the Fall of 1998 and it was great for Samuel and Andrew to attend Grant, Parrish and North!

What does a typical Tuesday look like to you?

Morning board meeting at IKE Box, Staff meeting at Salem Leadership Foundation (Broadway Commons), afternoon Board meeting at Willamette Heritage Center, great evening in Grant Neighborhood!

What hidden gem do you want to keep secret about the Grant neighborhood but you also can't help telling others about?

The Larmer Property behind JK Carpets. The Larmer family once had the largest Wysteria garden in Oregon and there's a cool little neighborhood tucked back in there. McMennamins (owners of Boon's Treasury across the street) could have a hey-day with that historic property.

What have you learned from volunteering on the GNA board?

We have a great system for public participation in municipal and neighborhood matters, but we have to remain diligent to keep "the molasses and weight of the system" from either a) blocking our good ideas or b) imposing changes on us we don't want. North Salem has to work harder to get attention and action and that's not just.

If you could transform Grant tomorrow, what would it look like?

A culturally-diverse neighborhood with a beautiful mix of restored historic homes, restaurants, shops, single- and multi-family housing, churches, nonprofits and schools ... but not 'over-gentrified' to the point that our older neighbors and renting neighbors cannot live here.


Photo of Susan Napack working on the Street Painting

SUSAN NAPACK
Vice Chair
Outreach/Communication
SOO-san NAY-pack
she/her/hers

How long have you lived in Grant and why did you move here?

My husband Michael and I moved to Oregon from New Jersey at the tail end of 2016. We moved into our historic brick tudor home in Grant in January 2017. We made the trek across country to be closer to family and because we were in love with the landscape. Salem was a surprise. It reminded me of places I had lived out east but with a northwest vibe. The great homes and Arts community drew me in.

What does a typical Tuesday look like to you?

Now that I make my own hours for work and play, Tuesdays can be a mixed bag. I could be  leisurely cooking, working in my studio at The Willamette Heritage Center, doing freelance and volunteer graphics projects, prepping for an upcoming Arts Commission or Neighborhood Association meeting —  like preparing the newsletter and editing this website. There never seem to be enough hours in any day.

What hidden gem do you want to keep secret about the Grant neighborhood but you also can't help telling others about?

I love just walking around the neighborhood looking at all of the different houses, yards and gardens. There are so many ways that people create a unique home for themselves.

What have you learned from volunteering on the GNA board?

I have learned a lot about the history of Grant and of Salem, and how the neighborhood has changed and grown over the years. I have learned SO much from the other board members who are varied and interesting and just great people who care deeply about our neighborhood.

If you could transform Grant tomorrow, what would it look like?

I would like to see a community hub, where neighbors can casually congregate and share stories and ideas — like a town square.  It is a challenge to reach more of our neighbors and I wish there was a better way to do that. 

AND --  more community art!  Street paintings, murals and painted utility boxes that reflect the diverse and colorful personality of Grant Neighborhood. 

Photo of Laura Herrmann

LAURA HERRMANN
Board Member 

How long have you lived in Grant and why did you move here?

I first lived in the Grant Neighborhood as a Willamette student. I rented a house on Winter and Belmont with friends and loved the neighborhood. In fact, twenty years later, my husband and I bought a house just a block from where I had lived! We have now been living here for just over two years. 

What does a typical Tuesday look like to you?

A typical Tuesday for me starts with getting my kids out the door. They both walk to school, one to Parrish and the other to Grant. My husband works from home and I’m enjoying a season of flexibility having transitioned to substitute teaching. If I’m not in the classroom you can probably find me working in my garden.

What hidden gem do you want to keep secret about the Grant neighborhood but you also can't help telling others about?

One of our favorite parts of living in the Grant Neighborhood is the close proximity to restaurants. There are quite a variety of places we can walk to for a great meal. 

What do you hope to learn from volunteering on the GNA board?

I hope to better understand the factors that unite us as a neighborhood. I want to continue to advocate for our community at the city level. Together we are stronger! 

If you could transform Grant tomorrow, what would it look like? 

I'd love to see more public art, including murals. This is why it is so exciting to help launch the first street mural in Salem here! 

Photo of Marissa Theve

MARISSA THEVE
Vice Chair 
(muh-RIS-uh Tev) she/her/hers

How long have you lived in Grant and why did you move here?

I moved to Grant when I bought my house in early 2018, so I’ve been here for about 5 years. I moved to this neighborhood above all for the walkability to downtown, a theater, and services like eye doctors and stylists.

What does a typical Tuesday look like to you?

No such thing. Generally on Tuesdays I try to hit my gym Catalyst Community Fitness (catalystfitcommunity.com), sometimes by car, sometimes by bike. Then after a shower and breakfast, it’s time for my work as a soil scientist. Two Tuesdays a month I have an all-day meeting with one of my two teams. But the Tuesday before I wrote this, I was out in the burn scar of the 2020 Beachie Creek fire monitoring timber salvage logging activities for impacts to the soil. Next Tuesday I’ll be sitting in on a Diversity Equity and Inclusion meeting and working on some environmental analysis maps, followed by attending the City’s Parking Reform open house at the library. I like to unwind in the evening by practicing yoga, listening to music and doodling, reading, going for a walk or bike ride, gardening, or watching The Simpsons.

What hidden gem do you want to keep secret about the Grant neighborhood but you also can't help telling others about?

The amazing date night potential of a stroll down Broadway Street: see a movie at Salem Cinema, have dinner and catch some jazz at Christo’s, then top it off with a delicious pint at Barrel & Keg. Living in such a walkable neighborhood has always been a dream of mine.

What have you learned from volunteering on the GNA board?

Mainly I’ve appreciated the longer view perspective from some longer-term Salemites that I’ve met. This city has gone through and is continuing to go through a LOT of growth and it’s important to know where we’ve been to be able to help adapt to 2023 and beyond. I’ve learned a lot about the city government structure, land use, and how local change happens.

If you could transform Grant tomorrow, what would it look like?

Dark and quiet. In a non-creepy, peaceful way. I have a vision that someday our City’s light pollution could be managed to only what is absolutely necessary after sunset. I sit in on International Dark Skies Oregon chapter (www.darkskyoregon.org) meetings to learn how I can help encourage better outdoor lighting stewardship. Similarly, I help to organize Quiet Clean Salem, a burgeoning group focused on phasing out gas-powered leaf blowers, which is modeled after and mentored by Quiet Clean Portland (www.quietcleanpdx.org). Both light and noise pollution are shown to affect the human nervous system detrimentally, and disproportionately affect poorer communities. I consider these both some of our lowest lying fruit for environmental justice work. I’d also LOVE to wake up to protected and connected bike lanes throughout the City as conceived in Salem Bike Vision (www.salembikevision.org). While I’m at it, there’s an gourmet ice cream shop on Broadway and dogs would take humans on walks instead of the other way around.


Head shot of Aaron Terpening

Aaron Terpening
Land Use Chair 

How long have you lived in Grant and why did you move here?

 Our family has lived in the Grant Neighborhood for ten years.  There are several reasons we love Grant. We moved into the neighborhood to be part of a great community between North Salem High School, Parrish Middle School, and Grant Elementary.  We also love living in the center of our city with easy access to Riverfront Park, our best restaurants, and it’s a walkable neighborhood.  We hardly need to drive which gives us so much more time to be doing things we love.

What does a typical Tuesday look like to you?

We all head out to school and work.  One walks to Grant Elementary, two to Parrish Middle School, and my wife and I head to our jobs downtown. The evening consists of making and eating dinner, homework, and maybe football or soccer practice.

What hidden gem do you want to keep secret about the Grant neighborhood but you also can't help telling others about?

 I’m not sure how hidden it is, but we love the outdoor seating at Boones with the 

What do you hope to learn from volunteering on the GNA board?

 Being involved is needed and it can be rewarding to see positive change over time.

If you could transform Grant tomorrow, what would it look like?

We would have trails along Mill Creek and the Willamette River.  We would have more housing and mixed-uses activating the area near the river. It would be great to have a cultural anchor in Grant as well – something like a museum, community center, or neighborhood pool.  Here’s to dreaming!


Photo of The Hacketts

LOLA HACKETT ~ CERT Chair
CHRISTOPHER HACKETT
Board Member

LOLA
I have lived in Grant since 2006.  We moved here because we found just the house we wanted, after searching quite a bit of Oregon.

Tuesdays are full, between a trip to the gym, weeding, meetings and working on projects for the Willamette Heritage Center.

Volunteering on the GNA Board has allowed me to get to know more Grant neighbors than I might have otherwise.  Our Grant neighbors are committed to maintaining Grant as a happy, healthy and safe place to live.

CHRISTOPHER
I have lived in Grant since late in 2004.  We moved here to enjoy a Craftsman style house in an area where we could easily walk to places all over town.

Tuesdays may typically involve yard projects, and searching for and organizing supplies for the next home project or Willamette Heritage Center restoration/repair project.

By serving on the GNA Board, I have learned that a neighborhood group can influence the City's decisions.  As well as meeting many people, I have learned about the City departments and their functions.