When Salem’s mayor Anna Peterson learned that the town’s Social Security office would be moving from its easy-to-access downtown location to an industrial area of South Salem with limited public transportation, she voiced her concern to Jeff Merkley.
In response, Jeff himself drove to the South Salem site and agreed that it did not offer enough accessibility for an office that would serve the public. Located on a busy street, this new location lacked a sidewalk, and the closest bus stop sat over a quarter-mile away. As a result, Oregonians seeking help from the Social Security Administration – many of whom are disabled – would have had to walk or wheel themselves to the office on a road with cars passing at 40 miles per hour.
Jeff drafted a letter to the regional Social Security administrator to explain why this new location posed problems for the many residents of Salem who rely on the city’s bus system as their primary source of transportation.
In response, the City of Salem paved a sidewalk (meeting standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act) that links the bus stop to the new office and painted a pedestrian crossing on the road nearby. While Jeff would have preferred to see the office rebuilt in a different location, he is pleased the city took safety measures to ensure that Oregonians who need to access the Social Security Administration can do so safely.