Month: August 2010

Backyard burn starts two-alarm fire last week

At 10:05 p.m. Saturday, July 31, Keizer district firefighters responded to a shed fire at 4453 18th Avenue NE. [MAP: 2] Crews arrived to find a sotrage shed and tall arborvitae bushes on fire. A second alarm was called for more personnel due to the fire spreading from the shed to neighboring properties. Fire crews then began an aggressive attack of the shed fire. The second alarm engine company extinguished arborvitae bushes engulfed in fire on an adjacent property. The situation was under control in 25 minutes. The shed is owned by Adam and Cheryl Krein who were at home at the time of the fire. Damage to the shed is estimated at $5,000 as the fire damaged the entire structure and caused $2,000 in damage to the contents. No injuries were reported. During the investigation, Adam Krein reported he had burned material in a burn barrel in the backyard earlier in the day. From the location of the barrel, associated fire damage and homeowner statements, Keizer Fire District determined the fire to be accidental. The Keizer Fire District reminds residents that backyard burning is prohibited within the city limits. – Lance...

Read More

River Road Apts. adding six units, leasable garages

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes An apartment complex on Keizer’s main drag is expanding. River Road Apartments, a 21-unit complex at 5115 River Road N., is adding six apartment units and a bank of garages that can be rented to tenants. [MAP: 14] Valerie White, director of property management for Rushing Real Estate, said Multi-Construction will be adding three three-bedroom and three two-bedroom units as well as eight garages. Each will have washers and dryers along with single garages. It’s part of an effort to upgrade the complex, which White said had seen better days when it was purchased by Barnes – River Road LLC in March. “It’s gone through several owners in the past few years,” White said. “… There were five or six units that hadn’t had any power in over a year. It was in pretty bad disrepair.” “We’ve been actively going through every single one of the units and upgrading them all.” Construction is slated to begin in mid-August, should all relevant permits be obtained, with an opening date in...

Read More

Funding for Chemawa project approved

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes About $450,000 was approved from the city’s street fund to pay for part of an improvement project on Chemawa Road N. While it’s not expected to break ground until 2012, surveys and plans will be taking place throughout the next 12 months. Total project cost is about $2.30 million, with about $960,000 coming from the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and another $883,000 from the Transportation Enhancement Program. From River Road west to the city limits – just west of 15th Avenue – separated sidewalks, bike lanes and rain gardens will be added, Public Works Director Rob Kissler said. From the city limits west to Keizer Rapids Park, a multi-use paved path will be installed. Between the path, sidewalks and bike lanes it will allow pedestrians and bicyclists access all the way to Keizer Rapids Park without having to use the roadway or the shoulder. What is up for debate is what the intersection where Chemawa, Windsor Island Road and Shoreline Drive meet will look like. Possibilities include a roundabout and adding turn lanes. Kissler said surveys and determining exactly where the public right-of-way is – and how much will need to be acquired – will play a role in what happens there. “Until we do that we won’t know what design elements will fit,” Kissler said. He has requested that staff from the...

Read More

Grassroots Government

Parks Advisory Board When they met: Tuesday, July 13 What they did: Vickie Hilgemann, a former parks board chair, said conditions at the Keizer Rapids Dog Park have deteriorated to the point where she will no longer take her dog there. She said the dog has to wade through high weeds and smells strongly of urine after visiting, to the point where she has to bathe the dog when she gets home. She said it needs to be mowed and irrigated more regularly and suggested a public-private partnership. In addition, she reported Kim Steen of D&J Dog Grooming has been inquiring as to the status of a drinking fountain she donated funds for, and wants the money back if it is not completed within the next six months. She also shared a letter from Kim Girouard – whose Keizer Veterinary Clinic made a large donations to build the park – decrying the parks’ neglect. She did, however, have some good news: The Wild Wild Rec summer recreation program is growing every week and has gotten good reviews from attendees. Public Works Superintendent Bill Lawyer said the city plans to have water at the park in this fiscal year, but has been on hold due to pending property acquisitions. He hopes to have this done in August. Board members indicated they would work on installing the sprinkler system. Parks Supervisor...

Read More

Expect push for cell tax later in year

(Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. See the full correction below the story.) By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes There’s almost universal agreement on the Keizer City Council that 911 costs are taking an excessive chunk of the city’s general fund dollars. Whether a franchise fee on cell phones is the solution is another matter. Indications are the matter will come up for formal discussions in November. The facts are these: Between 2006-07 and 2009-10, revenue from the state’s 911 excise tax that made its way into city coffers have remained more or less stable. Meanwhile, costs of 911 service to the city have risen by about $64,884 in the same time period, with charges reaching $421,600 in 2009-10. Consequently, the city’s general fund has bridged the gap. The general fund contribution in paying for communications services from the Willamette Valley Communications Center has risen about 7 percent in the past four budget cycles, from $291,192 in 2006-07 to $312,900 in 2009-10. In addition, landline telephone fees are also falling. They fell from $134,939 in 2007-08 to about $93,200 in 2009-10. “There are many reasons for this reduction, not the least of which has been increased use of cellular phones, as well as ‘reseller’ use, essentially other vendors using the lines for less fees,” states a 2009 report from City Attorney Shannon Johnson. While the structure isn’t complete,...

Read More