By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Unlit portions of Wheatland Road will see the light very soon.

The Keizer City Council approved an agreement with Portland General Electric to install 24 lights along darker portions of the street.

Rob Kissler, public works director, said about two miles of the street lies within city limits. About 35 percent of that is lit, funded by street fund dollars and local improvement districts. [MAP: 2]

The $19,830.45 councilors authorized to light the street will add 24 lights, and should cover the remaining portion of the street within city limits. City staff hopes to have them installed in the next 45 days to 60 days.

The street is considered a transit corridor, Kissler said, and with two schools – and the bus stops that accompany them – in the area, he said it would help to improve safety in the area. In addition, some portions of the street don’t have sidewalks.

“There’s no question on the winter days when there’s pedestrians using the sidewalks that are there and using the shoulders … the safety will be enhanced because the lighting will be better,” Kissler said.

The agreement with PGE calls for the city to pay $250 per month to the utility. In return, PGE maintains the fixtures and replaces burnt-out bulbs.

Keizer Police Capt. Jeff Kuhns said the road has seen considerably more traffic in the past 10 years due to development in the area.

“Of course, we think the more lights the better,” Kuhns said. “Lighting is a very key element when it comes to the reduction or prevention of crime in the first place. That’s one thumbs-up. Lighting also plays a very key or vital role in the reduction or prevention of vehicular crashes. From both perspectives, the police department is in complete support.”