Day: November 18, 2011

Keizer volunteer of the quarter

To the Editor: At the Nov. 7 city council meeting, Barb Smith Henke received the city’s Volunteer of the Quarter award because of the countless hours she devoted to the Keizer Tennis Association’s (KTA) Slammin’ Summer Tennis Program. Barb wears many hats. She is KTA’s treasurer, web master, an instructor, volunteer coordinator, a sponsor of the KTA through her business, BSH Consulting,  and registration coordinator. She helped design our summer flier and rounded up some wonderful local sponsors to boot. She marched in the Iris Festival parade. She introduced tennis  to the kids participating in the Keizer Parks Foundation/Boys and Girls Club Wild Wild Rec program. Barb also assisted other instructors with their lessons.  KTA’s summer program held at North River Road Park in Salem because the McNary High School courts were closed and since the Willamette Manor Park tennis court and the Bob Newton Family Park tennis court are not suitable for holding larger clinics. In closing, I know that Barb Smith Henke shares her passion for tennis with everyone she meets. Last Monday night at the council meeting, she even invited Mayor Lore Christopher to play tennis. I sure hope that happens. I just want to say, great job, Barb! Rick Hammerquist Keizer Tennis...

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How safe will you feel now?

To the Editor: I will say thank you, with extreme sarcasm, to all of you that voted against the 911 tax. Michael Kurtz made some good points in his letter (“It’s a lousy time to ask for new taxes,” Keizertimes, Nov. 4), which obviously fell upon deaf ears. I would have been happy to pay twice to help our local police and fire district protect us; I have a residence and a business in Keizer.  That would have been getting off cheap. These services have already been cut to the bone, and now have to be reduced further. In spite of that they have done a fantastic job keeping us all safe, don’t expect that to continue. I for one will be upgrading my personal firearm and self defense training, home and business security systems, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, which will cost me a lot more than a little tax. And I suggest you all do the same as we may become known as easy pickins’ to the criminal element. It’s sad we all want more or better services, but when it comes time we are not willing to pay for it. Is throwing more money at a problem the answer? Probably not, but more money is needed. I don’t have the answers. I’m too busy trying to figure out how to keep my business open, working seven...

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Keizer’s financial position

To the Editor: The City of Keizer finds itself in a precarious financial position due to a developer of Keizer Station Area A being significantly delinquent on payments he owes the city.  The city is responsible for fulfilling bond payments taken out for land improvements in Keizer Station. Unlike developers, the city does not have the option to not pay its bills. At the Keizer Urban Renewal Agency meeting Monday, Nov. 7, the agency (aka Keizer City Council) voted 6 – 1 to recommend to the council that it amend the North River Road Urban Renewal District plan to allow the city to manage its bond payments and stay on schedule to pay off the bonds. If the North River Road Urban Renewal District plan was going to be amended to support the continued improvements along River Road, I would not have a problem with it.  The City of Keizer should be doing everything it can to support what has been the core of our business community and the heart of our city for so many years.  But the fact that this is being done in order to cover the developer’s delinquent payments is wrong, pure and simple. To say this doesn’t end the River Road Renaissance project, it just defunds it, as Councilor Clark said a couple of weeks ago, is ludicrous. I applaud City Councilor Joe Egli,...

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Herrera’s impact on the community

To the Editor: I can’t remember much from when I was five years old, but I do remember playing tee ball for the Keizer Little League Mariners. My coach was Roland Herrera. Thinking back to my childhood, there are more things I remember about Roland. I remember seeing him on the Little League fields after a rainstorm laying down kitty litter to ensure that the fields were safe and playable. I remember Roland at McNary sporting events supporting the Celtics and rooting like crazy for their success. I remember him always wearing royal blue. I don’t know that it was possible to grow up in the last 20 years and play a sport without knowing Roland Herrera. He was seemingly everywhere, sometimes coaching, sometimes cheering, even umpiring, and always smiling. Looking back on it now, I’m not quite sure how he managed to raise children, be a devoted husband, work a full-time job for the City, and volunteer so much of his time giving back to the community. When I graduated from McNary in 2004, Roland was one of the first people to congratulate me and tell me that he’d be looking forward to my future success. I know my youth wouldn’t have been the same without him; and I know I’m not alone. Roland Herrera was and is everything that is good about Keizer. It’s a shame that...

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School board talks urban renewal idea

By HERB SWETT Of the Keizertimes Salem-Keizer School District directors debated Tuesday, Nov. 8, on a request by the city of Keizer for it and other local taxing districts to extend an urban renewal plan for four years. The city and the Keizer Urban Renewal Agency are seeking the extension to address a default by one property owner on a local improvement district (LID) plan payment within Keizer Station. The default jeopardizes Keizer, which secured the LID with the full faith and credit of the city. If the plan is extended, the taxing jurisdictions would continue for four years to forgo a portion of the property taxes calculated on the increase in value within the Keizer North River Road Economic Development Area during the four years. In consideration of the extension, the city has made a proposal to pay the affected taxing jurisdictions the amounts they would forgo during the extension, using any future proceeds from sale of properties in default, after foreclosure and after paying fees and administrative expenses of the foreclosure. The city has been advised that it can use tax increment financing from the existing urban renewal area to support the city’s commitment on the LID.  This would require an amendment to the urban renewal plan, which would require concurrence of the taxing districts. The city must have the concurrence by Dec. 16 to pursue this amendment. The...

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