By ALLEN PRELL
I have been overwhelmed by the information available to the residents of Keizer in regards to Measure 24-314, the big box issue, originated by Keep Keizer Livable, a well financed and organized group. Organized opposition to this measure does not exist and is relying on common sense for your vote.
I visited the Keep Keizer Livable office in the School House Square and spoke with a couple of volunteers. I give this organization credit for ambition, organization, determination and passion. But, it does not change the facts of what the measure will do for the future growth of Keizer if passed (drastically limit business opportunity) and what the passage of measure 24-314 will not do (keep a big box store out of Area C).
I was given a lot of information about square footage of businesses currently allowed in Keizer and told the businesses along River Road would be dramatically impacted in a negative way if the measure fails. The Keizertimes had an article addressing this matter (“A look at communities that booked the big box”, Feb. 18). The volunteers told me this article was right on. I read the article and the conclusion I came to was that the jury is still out on conclusive outcomes related to any negative impact to local businesses where a big box store was built or considered.
The impact on traffic control on Lockhaven Drive and McLeod Lane is also a subject of concern to the Keep Keizer Livable volunteers, convinced engineers cannot successfully design a traffic flow pattern to handle the increased traffic flow expected from building a big box store based on current plans submitted.
I came back from a business trip a week later to find my neighborhood streets lined with 50 or more lawn signs to vote yes on measure 24-314. The signs were placed on corner lots, front lawns, and along walkways. Impressive! When I questioned some of the people sporting the yard signs why they support the big box measure, for the most part they were confused over the facts and were not sure what the impact of the measure really meant. It was intended to be a protest vote against the Keizer City Council. Many residents believe rules were altered and information was withheld in support of the potential job creation from the development in Area C. I believe we need to trust our city council members.
If you question the legitimacy of the city council actions, I suggest addressing the council members individually. But, a yes vote on the ballot measure is not the way to protest. Many neighbors with the front yard signs were asked by Keep Keizer Livable if they wanted a big box store in Keizer.This question leads to a discussion of what if? The proper question should have been: What are your thoughts on the big box measure? But as a Keep Keizer Livable volunteer told me “We can’t help what people say.” They asked me and I gave them my thoughts.
I received an e-mail asking for volunteers to help in the final push to pass measure 24-314. Volunteers were solicited for a phone bank and to knock on doors and pick up ballots. I guess the houses sporting the signs will be the first doors to be knocked on. They clearly don’t trust their supporters to turn in ballots on their own. I guess they won’t be knocking on my door.
From what I understand, the big box store will be built regardless of the outcome of this ballot measure. This measure only affects future development in Keizer not the submitted plans for Area C. Both sides have legal counsel with conflicting ideas on the outcome of the election.
I have nothing to gain with the passage or failure of this measure. As a specialty sales consultant I speak to doctors on complex issues supported by science and facts. I hold these volunteers to the same standards. Let the measure succeed or fail on its own merits and don’t make up stories to gain support for an ultimate agenda. Politics at its worst.
When in doubt, tough it out.
Allen Prell lives in Keizer.