Day: March 19, 2010

Keizertimes on Vacation

Keizertimes on Vacation — Ron Ruefner recently went to visit his son Ryan, a quarterback for the Danube Dragons of the Austrian Football League. Above, Ryan – who was a quarterback for the McNary Celtics – gets caught up on the local sports scores in Vienna, Austria. You too can have your vacation photos featured in the Keizertimes. Simply take the Keizertimes with you to your destination and photograph you or your group holding the paper. Then send the photo to kt@keizertimes.com. Do not resize or alter your photos. (Submitted...

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Canine conflict spoils fun for some at park

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Since it opened nearly two years ago, the off-leash area at Keizer Rapids Park has been a haven for dogs and their owners. But like any amenity, its very popularity has caused some problems – one of which is the conflicts arising between dogs, and sometimes their owners. Terry Witham, a parks specialist for the city, said most dog owners supervise their dog closely and make sure any scuffles end quickly. But others, he said, aren’t doing their part to avoid conflicts – and are sometimes escalating them. “There’s been complaints,” said Terry Witham. “Quite a few, actually.” Witham told the Keizertimes that complaints indicate “we’re getting more and more aggressive … dogs, and aggressive owners as well. We’ll have an issue with the dog, and the owners kind of get into it.” Ideas bandied about at the March board meeting included finding ways to supervise the park, but the primary problem is money. “There was never anything put into the budget to help take care of it,” he said. “It makes it hard. We’re spread really thin. … Short of having enough funding to be able to hire someone to be out there full-time, I’m not sure there’s a whole lot we can do.” Terry Witham tells people who feel threatened to call 911, and an owner with an injured dog should...

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Pedestrian killed on I-5

A Keizer man was killed Thursday morning after he was hit by a vehicle while crossing Interstate 5 on foot. Oregon State Police report a 2000 GMC Yukon driving southbound struck the victim near mile marker 259 at about 5:44 a.m. Thursday. Officials believe the pedestrian was crossing the freeway from west to east on foot. Several other vehicles reported running over the pedestrian after the first crash. The pedestrian, identified as Dale Allen Underwood, 44, of Keizer, was pronounced dead at the scene. Southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were shut down for three hours as investigators were on scene. Officers are still trying to figure out why he was in the area, and would like to speak with anyone who had contact with Underwood in the hours prior to the incident. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Trooper Joseph Skipper at 503-378-3387 ext....

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Recession leaves retail holes

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Notice more “for lease” signs on River Road than you used to? A recent informal survey of commercial vacancies along River Road found at least 25 available office and retail units. And Pam Rushing, a commercial real estate broker for Coldwell Banker Commercial, said River Road currently has about a 13.3 percent retail storefront vacancy rate. A spike in available real estate is a byproduct of a downturned economy. In fact, commercial real estate agents say fear of the future and a lack of credit are primary deterrents from investing in or expanding a business. Jennifer Hand of Gall Real Estate Services sees a light at the end of the tunnel, but says prospective tenants are taking “baby steps” instead of leaps. “People are thinking we’re going to be coming out of this,” Hand said. Julie Frazier, an advisor for Sperry Van Ness, said her office is “receiving so many more phone calls than we were last year. … I think overall it’s looking promising.” In addition to increasing optimism – or perhaps decreasing pessimism – many landlords are doing almost whatever it takes to get retail and office space filled. Hand said length of lease has been a barrier. “(Tenants) are hesitant to sign a five-year or 10-year lease, and a few years ago that wasn’t a problem at all,” Hand said....

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Funds for River Road upgrades used to buy land at Keizer Station

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes About $637,000 set aside for River Road improvements and other urban renewal projects will instead be used to buy land at Keizer Station. But city staff say the ultimate intent is to reimburse the Urban Renewal Agency – and, in turn, money set aside for improving River Road’s look – once the land is sold as part of a larger development project. The Keizer Urban Renewal Agency, which consists of the city council and mayor, voted Monday, March 15, to purchase some 53,143 feet of land from Flora J. Tiersma. The parcel cuts diagonally across land from the south end of the Gubser neighborhood, across Keizer Station Boulevard and up to almost Lockhaven Drive. It sits in an portion of Keizer Station designated as Area B. All is coming from urban renewal dollars. About $470,000 is coming directly from River Road Renaissance, while the rest will be bought on credit, Finance Director Susan Gahlsdorf said. The City of Keizer already owns much of the surrounding land. City Manager Chris Eppley hinted that the land is an important piece of developing the land. The city hopes to be able to sell the land to developers at some point, he indicated. “Having the whole parcel to work with makes it much easier to work with,” Eppley said at Monday’s meeting. The only objection at Monday’s...

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