Day: February 8, 2011

Mayor upbeat about 2011 in speech (w/ audio)

Click here to listen to the Audio. Mayor Lore Christopher offered an upbeat assessment of Keizer’s economic development prospects at her State of the City address Tuesday. “I think 2011 is shaping up to be one of the absolute best years for the city of Keizer” in both areas of job growth and development, Christopher told a Keizer Chamber of Commerce luncheon crowd Tuesday at the city’s civic center. She predicted a “dramatic contrast” between the coming months and the economic doldrums of the past few years, and said Keizer has “a wonderful reputation. We’re a highly successful city and people know that.” Christopher was optimistic that a Salem-Keizer Transit hub near Keizer Station and a medical office planned nearby could jumpstart development of medical offices and suppliers in the area near Exit 260. She said the medical facility, to be built by Salem Radiology, “will break ground this building cycle.” The mayor said these developments could establish a medical industry niche in the city, noting the planned medical tower that’s part of the Keizer Station Area C plans. With that comes daytime jobs, and with those could come more restaurants, Christopher hopes. “Daytime employees are significant,” she added. The mayor also addressed an upcoming ballot measure restricting retail buildings in Keizer to less than 65,000 square feet outside the currently-developed portion of Keizer Station. Christopher called the proposal a...

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Big box ballot measure raises big questions

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Keizer voters will be asked March 8 whether to ban retail buildings larger than 65,000 square feet outside the currently-developed portion of Keizer Station. Thus we have some Big Questions. This week we answer questions about how the measure would be applied if passed, what it would stop – and what it wouldn’t. While nothing’s set in stone, we consulted land use experts with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), the city of Keizer along with private practice attorneys who have represented both developers and conservationists. This week, we answer practical questions about the measure if it passed. You’ll see words like “probably.” These are there because, as City of Keizer Senior Planner Sam Litke put it, there’s no single body that can answer these questions before the fact. “Usually you have to go to a judge” once questions arise, Litke said. Q: If it passes, would it only ban grocery stores larger than 65,000 square feet only? A: No. Any building defined as retail would be barred outside Keizer Station’s Area A. Q: What is retail? A: To define retail, multiple land use experts say, we start with the definition within Keizer’s development code. “My interpretation of the law (Keizer’s code) would be the first place looking for a definition of retail,” said Steve Oulman, regional representative for DLCD. “The...

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KFD eyes Keizer Prairie annexation

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes At the request of the Keizer Prairie Owners Association, the Keizer Fire District is looking into the possibility of annexing the north Keizer neighborhood into its coverage area. It will likely come as a surprise to many that the neighborhood, which includes Clear Lake and Forest Ridge elementary schools, isn’t already part of KFD’s domain, said Chief Jeff Cowan, of the Keizer Fire District. “A lot of people don’t know because we respond side-by-side with Marion County Fire District on many of the calls in that area,” Cowan said. Keizer expanded beyond the established boundaries of the two fire districts not long after Keizer opted to incorporate as a distinct city and the overlapping services became standard operating procedure. Marion County Fire District No. 1’s Station 6 is not staffed full-time and the Keizer Fire District responds alongside MCFD to provide medic services as needed. During 2010, KFD responded to 133 calls in the Keizer Prairie neighborhood despite tax revenues from the property going to  MCFD. The owners association took up the issue after MCFD made a change to their procedures that results in crews coming from MCFD Station 5 near Interstate 5 in Brooks and added response time. “It boils down to whether we want someone responding to calls in the neighborhood from five miles away or two miles away,” said...

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