Left: Sherrie Gottfried; Right: Nate Brown

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The concept of a 45th Parallel arch may be revived after spending years on the shelf.

Sherrie Gottfried, sales manager at the Keizer Renaissance Inn and a River Road Renaissance Committee member, thinks the arch – which would provide banner space to visiting groups and festivals willing to pay for it – could boost interest and attendance at local events. [MAP: 1]

And she said the money groups pay to hang their sign there could be used to promote tourism.

“Tourism doesn’t really have any funding source coming in to market itself for the city,” Gottfried said.

The City of Salem has a space on Liberty Street SE that can be rigged with a promotional banner – for a price, Gottfried said.

“This wonderful revenue stream isn’t happening in Keizer,” she said. “We are trying to welcome groups to town and we have no way to do that.”

“We have this arterial out in the middle of our business district with so much traffic, it would be a great way to get the word out about community events – concerts at the amphitheatre, businesses could use it for events,” said Jim Nardi, a committee member who owns Uptown Music. “I think it’s a great idea.”

Two poles would do the trick, she said, but she wants something that will look good even when there’s nothing on it. There’s no visual concept as of yet, and the group didn’t seem terribly interested in preserving a design conceived years ago.

“We want something that’s aesthetically beautiful, not something heavy,” she said.

“That was important,” Nardi added. “We didn’t want to just put up two metal poles with a runner across the top.”

The committee advised city staff that “it’s worthy to pursue,” according to Community Development Director Nate Brown.

“I wouldn’t mind expanding it … to more than one to actually try to provide a decent avenue for promoting public events – stuff we constantly have requests for,” Brown said. There’s no price estimates yet.

Next year’s River Road Renaissance budget – which comes from urban renewal dollars – “is basically status quo,” Brown said, because much of its remaining funds were used to pay for the Keizer Civic Center.

“At some point we’re going to have to talk to the council and say … are you going to put any money back into the program?” Brown said.