Month: February 2011

PROGRESS REPORT: Keizer Elks Club

By DIANE NORTON We are a charitable organization and give time and money within the community.  The Elks motto is Elks Care, Elks Share. We recently donated to the Keizer Fire District, Keizer Police and Simonka Place. Our charities include: • Christmas baskets – 175 were delivered to needy families including 50 to military families.  The rest of the food is given to the local food bank. • Scholarships – Seven McNary High School students were awarded money this year. • Meals on Wheels – The Keizer lodge is the drop off for meals to be picked up and delivered.  We have many members who deliver and a few are on the board. • Relay for Life – We have a Keizer group that participated last year and will do so this year. We also work with schools – Gubser School gathers food for our Christmas baskets, participate in the Americanism essay “Why I am proud to be an American.” In 2010, we had a goal to increase membership.  Our goal of growth was achieved which allows us to do more within the community and give back. Our current challenges are retaining the members we have, getting new volunteers, and most important is getting our story out to the public. We need to keep members actively involved.  We need an infusion of new ideas for: fundraising events, Lodge activities...

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PROGRESS REPORT: Keizer Planning Commission

By GREG RANDS The responsibility of the planning commission is to review city of Keizer staff requests for items that range from how tall a fence can be or the set back requirements to building a fence, to a zone change, master plan reviews to construct new buildings and discussing the pros and cons of extending our urban growth line.  We also take testimony from city residences who are requesting everything from a zoning variance to a zone change to presenting a master plan with construction plans to review. Though many of the issues we discuss may seem dry and boring, the Planning Commission has a great deal of influence as to how the City of Keizer will grow and look in the future.  It is our responsibility to listen to all testimony and forward to the City Council our recommendation in regard to the issue we are discussing. One issue that consumed several public hearings was the annexation of land next to Keizer Rapids Park.  This is land outside of our Urban Growth Boundary, therefore we were not only dealing with the city but also Marion County. A lot of work had to be put in by staff and reviewed by us through the public hearing process in order to make sure the hearings were accurate and fair.  I believe the Planning Commission did a very good job in listening to all of the testimony and forwarded to the City Council...

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Kroger’s public records

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger’s initiative to overhaul Oregon’s Public Records Law is important to the state’s citizens and should be enacted by the legislature. Since the original law in the early 1970s so many exemptions have been added to it by subsequent legislatures that the intent has been watered down.   Amendments to the public records law over the years  has resulted in hundreds of exemptions as well as long delays and high fees for what is, essentially public property. Kroger wants to change that. The attorney general wants it easier for the public and the media to get public records.  Public records are important to the common discourse because it allows light to shine on what some want to keep hidden for any number of reasons. The press has been faced with lengthy waits for requested records as well as exorbitant fees for those records. The bills proposed by Kroger would enact strict deadlines for government agencies to respond to requests for public records.  Some Oregon media outlets have spent tens of thousands of dollars for public records; Kroger’s proposed bill would cap fees at three times the minimum wage.  Governments say that it can take hours of staff time to find and prepare requested public records.  Here’s an idea:  digitize all public records so that a search is easy for government employees to access rather than...

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Town Hall meeting

The City of Keizer is reaching out to citizens with a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Civic Center.  This will be the first of many such meetings over the next year. The topic of Saturday’s meeting will be policing in Keizer. Police Chief H. Marc Adams will discuss the mission, staffing, and costs of providing police services to the citizens of Keizer.  The presentation will explain the staffing of the police department, its various units and the services they provide. The meeting will include a question and answer session; a panel composed of the command staff of the police department will answer questions and take input from the audience.  The audience will be encouraged to express the level and types of police services important to them. For anyone in Keizer who feels the city doesn’t listen to them, the Town Hall meeting is an opportunity to sit in a casual setting and have a frank conversation about one of the top issues on the minds of residents:  public safety. The Town Hall meeting has been on the schedule for weeks and the topic is important enough for people to make changes in their Saturday schedule to attend and be a constructive part of the conversation. If a citizen wants to know how the police department decides when and where to schedule patrols or any question...

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At odds with Keizer Compass

By RICK HAMMERQUIST I encourage the Keizer City Council and Mayor Lore Christopher to dust off  the Keizer Compass Community Vision 2029 document before approving a Walmart-type big box in Area C of Keizer Station.  I also recommend that the city wait for the outcome of ballot measure 24-314.  Waiting for the results of the election would prove to Keizerites that the council is representing the majority of the voters, not just the developer of Area  C. The 2009 Keizer visioning process was made possible with funding by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development and through a collaborative effort of citizens of Keizer and the city. As the document says, the intent of the Keizer Compass 2029 Vision is to serve as a basis for future city plans, including ongoing updates of the city’s comprehensive plan. The key findings of the Keizer Compass report: 1.) Manage growth and development.  Maintain Keizer’s “small town feel” while balancing expected growth and development pressures. 2.) Preserve Keizer’s livability.  Keizer is a livable community and residents want to keep it that way. Aspects of livability include: keeping Keizer a safe place to live; maintaining streets and roads; controlling traffic and managing development; making Keizer an affordable place to purchase and own a home; attracting diverse industries with family-wage jobs; encouraging cultural and civic facilities; and favoring additional places to shop that appeal...

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