Of the Keizertimes

If all goes well, by late next summer Keizerites won’t have to leave town to put that boat in the river.

A $1.08 million boat ramp at Keizer Rapids Park is one step closer to reality, with the Oregon State Marine Board approving funding for three-fourths of the project.

The Marine Board met in Sisters Monday to dole out grants for waterway projects throughout the state. The city will be required to come up with some $250,000 in either cash or in-kind contributions.

“Any volunteering, donations or in-kind work people are willing to contribute will count against our match, so our desire is to reduce that level of $250,000 as much as we can,” said Community Development Director Nate Brown.

System development charges collected for parks will also be used, he said.

Installing a boat ramp is a requirement of grants the city has already received from the Marine Board for property acquisition, Brown said.

“This is a fulfillment of that obligation,” Brown said. “The Marine Board funded a portion of the property acquisition.”

Plans call for a single-lane boat ramp, a parking lot with room for 60 vehicles, an access road and restrooms. Should the grant be approved Brown said design drawings should be ready in spring 2012, with construction commencing that summer.

The city already has required permits from the Department of State Lands and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Currently the closest upstream boat ramp is at Wallace Marine Park, with downstream ramps at Wheatland Ferry and Willamette Mission State Park.

The letter sent June 16 from the Oregon Marine Board states upstream travel to Keizer Rapids is constrained by rapids, shallow water and gravel bars during summer, and developing this boat ramp “will open a stretch of the Willamette River that is currently inaccessible except to local waterfront residents with boats, or during higher flows in winter and spring.”

The letter adds the project “appears to pose little adverse impacts on adjacent land uses or the environment.”