Month: August 2010

IN THE RING: Should the city work to create a downtown district in Keizer, complete with affordable housing, office and retail space?

Each week the Keizertimes asks community leaders a question about current events.  To see more of this week’s answers or answers to past questions log onto www.keizertimes.com and click on In the Ring. This week’s question: Should the city work to create a downtown district in Keizer, complete with affordable housing, office and retail space? Kimberly Strand, owner, Willamette Valley Real Estate— Multi-use is a great idea close to where all services are.  Apartments or loft space above retail and office would be great along River Road, if done properly.   Our plan is to beautify the downtown—River Rd corridor and the multi-use, like recently done on Broadway St. Salem would be a nice addition to Keizer. Roy Duncan, retired state of Oregon analyst— No.  I don’t remember this in the constitution and if it is wanted it should be done with private money. Phil Bay, former city councilor— I have shared my views on many occasions that I believe it is important to maintain the core of Keizer(River Road) if that you are referring to as downtown.  I do not think it is good to see large retail space empty, and we should encourage business development to fill all vacant spaces, and that includes office occupancy.  I do not think that the city should try to develop more affordable housing, as I believe that would over work the...

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Simonka community garden grows where weeds once flourished

By JOCE DEWITT For the Keizertimes For several Salem area organizations, blessings have arrived in all shapes and sizes in the last couple months. The Simonka Place in Keizer became the target of abundant community outreach efforts during the month of June as several Salem and West Valley nurses groups decided to apply their annual gift funds to a good cause. The Simonka Place, located at 5119 River Road, is an arm of the Union Gospel Mission for women and children in need of shelter and outreach due to abuse and homelessness. The nurses groups, including Salem SHAPES, Salem inpatient and West Valley SHAPES of Dallas, gathered their gift funds and gained contributions from local businesses to convert a weedy area of the Simonka Place’s backyard into a healthy garden full of vegetables, herbs and berries. “Literally, the weeds were enormous,” says Michelle Slattum, Assistant Nurse Manager of Salem and West Valley SHAPES. “We came on a Sunday and pulled the big weeds. A week later we came back out with the youth group and started planting.” Bridgeport Community Chapel of Dallas played a big part in the success of the event as members of the youth group volunteered to help build the garden. “At one point we had 50 kids out here working like you wouldn’t believe,” says Kathy Smith, volunteer coordinator and case manager at Simonka Place....

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Council considers creating sidewalk assistance program

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes A program to help homeowners pay for sidewalk repair and installation is in the works. There’s been no official decision to create it, but Keizer city councilors asked staff at a work session earlier this month to create a framework for either a city-wide or smaller local improvement districts (LID) to do the work. A pilot program with residents of Hornet Court would be launched under the council’s proposal. Some issues still to shake out include the size of the sidewalks being installed, what contribution the city’s street fund might make and how often the opportunity would be offered. City Manager Chris Eppley and Kevin Watson, assistant to the city manager, touted a local improvement district as an option that could lower costs via economy of scale and possibly a lower interest rate than a homeowner could get otherwise. The idea could make sense for everyone involved since homeowners are responsible for maintaining their share of the sidewalk. “If the economies of scale are correct, then you can move forward with it,” Watson said. Models discussed included very localized LIDs, where neighborhoods would request by a two-thirds majority to create one; or cycling city-wide LIDs where any homeowner would join. Like any public project, the sidewalk projects would be bid out per public contracting standards. One issue would be collection; LIDs must be...

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Roth’s Fresh Markets renews lease in Keizer for five years

  Roth’s Fresh Markets has renewed a lease with Schoolhouse Square to stay for at least five more years. [MAP: 5] The lease was renewed “at the very end of July,” said Michael Roth, president of the company. “We think it’s a good market – full of nice people,” Roth said. Roth’s was founded in 1962 and now has 10 stores, according to its...

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