Day: June 17, 2011

New tax for police, fire may be on Nov. ballot

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Keizer City Councilors indicated Monday they still support some sort of new fee or tax to raise more money for police and fire services. The question is how, and specifically what are voters most likely to support in a November ballot measure? Councilors expressed a preference Monday night for a fee assessed via utility bills over a tax aimed at cell phone users. The city and the Keizer Fire District may soon survey the public on which approach residents are most likely to support. With the costs of providing 911 services growing – and increasingly subsidized by general fund revenues rather than dedicated 911 fees – both city and fire district officials have sought to find another revenue source to pay for those mounting communication costs. Councilors last year passed a 3 percent telecom fee, but repealed it after opponents gathered enough signatures to place the question on a special election ballot via referendum. Political consultant Chuck Adams is preparing a scientific survey, said City Manager Chris Eppley. Estimated at about $6,000, costs would be split between the city and fire district. About 400 people can expect to be contacted, Eppley said. “You’re going to want to know what’s the most likely” approach the public would support, Eppley told the city council Monday night. “Otherwise you’re reducing your effectiveness as a group and...

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Finish the Road

The parts of the River Road beautification project that have been completed have received good reviews.  People comment that Keizer’s main thoroughfare looks great with the meandering sidewalks and new landscaping. It’s time to finish the project and it’s the city’s responsibility to see it is completed for the sake of the vitality of River Road and overall economic development in Keizer. River Road Renaissance, as the beautification project is called, has been done in a hopscotch matter—one parcel here, another parcel there.  In hindsight the project should have been started at one end or the other of River Road, updating both sides of the street and it moved north or south. The project has been completed as business and landowners become eligible for Urban Renewal District funds to pay for the redevelopment of parcels of River Road.  For too long the city waited for River Road landowners to come to the city seeking approval for a part of the Urban Renewal pot. What we are left with is an uncompleted renaissance that looks haphazard.  The Urban Renewal District and the city had the best of intentions, and still do.  But it is time to put money back into the project, get serious about proceeding in an orderly fashion. It is reported there is about $1 million remaining for the River Road Renaissance project, but there is much more...

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Let grown-ups have chickens

Sometimes it’s useful to view the unfamiliar through a familiar lens. So let’s talk about dogs and cats in Keizer. Many of us adore our Fido and couldn’t live without our Fluffy. But one man’s best friend is his neighbor’s nemesis. The barking, the canine’s mating howls and the cat’s come-hither caterwauling drive people on the other side of the fence crazy. And that’s when they stay put. If the dog’s not in your trash, he’s running in front of your car. The fleeing feline is probably picking a fight with Fluffy – or, if you haven’t fixed her, giving her the gift that keeps on giving. Or if you’re lucky a tomcat will mark your house as its own, leaving that new vinyl siding with that not-so-fresh feeling. Maybe Rover will leave a present that you’ll inevitably discover while mowing the lawn. Yet anyone proposing banning our most common household pets would face a clucking cacophony, forever caricatured as the Dog Nazi, or Moammar Cathafi. When put in the same category as these animals, allowing urban chickens makes a lot more sense. It’s understandable that folks equate chickens with the barnyard and not the cul-de-sac, but – with common sense rules – all evidence suggests chickens simply don’t pose the problem our everyday housepets cause. Good rules include banning roosters, limiting hens to five or less and have strict...

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Is it for safety or for revenue?

By ALLEN PRELL Smile:  You’re on camera. It is no longer a matter of if, but when you get your next speeding citation. Red light cameras at intersections, laser/ radar guns in police vehicles and on motorcycles, and photo speed sensor cameras on special equipped vans. Even the most experienced and well meaning drivers are being tagged for what is called safety violations. But, are they really for safety or for producing revenue? My colleague has not had a citation in 10 years. She was driving on the freeway in Portland and took an exit ramp to get off. The road forked: stay left and you re-enter the freeway again, stay right to exit. She continued turning right around the corner: “Got you!”A red light speed sensor camera on a van parked along the freeway exit flashed. She was traveling 35 mph in a 25 mph exit zone. The speed limit changed from 55 mph on the freeway, to 40 mph exiting the freeway, to 25 mph. She was slowing down. She paid a $200 fine. I was driving north on I-5 toward Portland the other day, aware the posted speed sign said 65 mph. As I passed Wilsonville, the speed sign changed to 55 mph. As I entered the Terwilliger curves area, in Portland the sign changed again to 50 mph. The traffic flow was still traveling at...

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