The Rotary Club of Salem is a group of talented, professional, and caring individuals who believe in contributing to the community. We represent local businesses, professions, nonprofit organizations, and several government agencies. We pride ourselves as “a club that gets things done,” and our track record demonstrates this.

Each year Rotary in Salem supports local nonprofit organizations with a variety of grants mainly focused on youth programs in our community. Over the years we have donated major gifts to the City, including the Rotary Pavilion, a large covered picnic and meeting area at the north end of Riverfront Park, and the children’s playground located next to the Carousel. To celebrate our centennial year in 2020, we are excited to undertake this landmark project to improve the amphitheater as our gift to the community.

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Currently, performances and other events are limited by the lack of a high quality, multi-purpose stage, protected from sun and rain, with comfortable seating, and attractive, functional crowd control for ticketed events. Many events that have been held at Riverfront Park for years will now have a larger and better-equipped venue to attract exceptional performances and new visitors.

With Minto Island now accessible across the new Peter Courtney footbridge, the area near the amphitheater at the south end of the park will quickly become the focus of increased visitor activity. The setting is perfect with stunning views of the Willamette River, directly across the street from Salem’s core downtown business area, and within a five-minute walk of four large, city-owned, multi-level parking garages.

Following a collaborative planning effort with the City of Salem, it has been determined a better location for the amphitheater will be on the new 3.8 acres of to-be-developed parkland located at the south end of the park.

City of Salem and Rotary Club of Salem Announce New Riverfront Location for Amphitheater Project

The Rotary club will oversee the design process and donate the funds for construction to the City. It being a public park, the City will contract with the builder and then own and operate the facility.

Three local architecture firms produced five design concepts which were shared with thousands of community members though a series of neighborhood association meetings, spring and summer events at Riverfront Park, the Salem Art Festival, a public forum, the Chamber of Commerce, and several other gatherings, more than 45 in all. Through these meetings we gathered valuable ideas, suggestions, and other input that helped shape the project. The final design concept was selected in part due to the strong community support of its cultural and historical connection.

Our downtown and city parks are alive and vibrant! At the same time, we understand the potential frustration when a person is unable to find convenient parking. There are nearly 3,500 parking spaces on nearby streets and in four city-owned parkades within a short walk of Riverfront Park. The City also plans to consider additional parking in the 3.8 acres being added to Riverfront Park adjacent to the parking lot next to the Carousel. Finally, efforts are underway by many in the community, including Main Street Salem, to facilitate a more pedestrian friendly connection to Riverfront Park.

In talking with concert professionals and the architects about the project, one thing we’ve made clear is that this structure should convey openness and allow for enjoyment of the surrounding scenery. It will have the flexibility to allow “scrims” or special curtains to be added for events which require a theater backdrop or light projection screen but otherwise it will be open, framing the beautiful view behind.

Currently, plans call for construction to begin in 2020, with an approximate six month construction timeline.

We are a club with about 200 members and one of nine in the Salem-Keizer area. Our members have already pledged nearly $600,000 as a demonstration of the club’s deep commitment to the project. In addition, we will engage the broader community to secure cash donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations, along with in-kind goods and services. We are working to generate broad awareness to ensure the entire community genuinely supports and “owns” the new amphitheater. We encourage you to donate today!

A project this big requires the support of the entire community. If you would like to help build this new Salem landmark, please consider a tax deductible donation to the Rotary Centennial Stage. Donate today!