Mayor Lore Christopher helps cut the ribbon at the new boat ramp Monday at Keizer Rapids Park. (KEIZERTIMES/Lyndon A. Zaitz)

Of the Keizertimes

Under threating skies Mayor Lore Christopher was joined by dignitaries from     Keizer, Marion County and several state agenices to inaugurate the new boat ramp at Keizer Rapids Park on Monday, Oct. 29.

Slated to open to the public on Monday, Nov. 5, the single-lane boat ramp was completed with a combination of grants from various state agencies as well and financing from the City of Keizer.

Former city councilor Richard Walsh, who has been a proponent of Keizer Rapids Park and its amenities such as the new boat ramp, spoke for several minutes about the project that dates back to 2000.  That year the Keizer City Council issued a proclamation that said the city needed to figure out a way to connect back with the river.

“It began here,” said Walsh. “Thomas Dove Keizur and John Keizur owned this land right here. It began with the crossing of the Willamette River at this point.”

He said the new boat ramp will connect Keizer to 200 miles of park land.  “We have finally joined the community of riverfront communities. We are now connected,” he said.

Joining the celebration were Brian Carroll, a member of the Oregon State Marine Board, Marion County Commissioner Janet Carlson, Paul Haydu of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Michele Scalise, of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The Oregon Marine Board committed $50,000 in state boater funds. Brian Carroll said that the Keizer boat ramp was a rare opportunity for the agency to come out and open a brand-new project.

Haydu, acting divison chief for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Federal Assistance Programs, was introduced by Mayor Christopher as “…the guy with the cash.” His department committed $700,000 to the project, the bulk of the overall cost.

Before cutting the blue ribbon at the top of the ramp the mayor said the facility was ‘legacy-building stuff.’ “Fifty years from now folks will still be using this boat ramp,” she said.

The City of Keizer contributed $250,000 in matching funds from the general fund and from park system development fees in addition to $85,000 for in-kind funds for the construction.

Overseeing the project for the city, Director of Community Development Nate Brown thanked all the partners in the project and cited the work of Ray Lanham, an engineer with the Marine Board.

After the speeches and ribbon cutting, city councilor Jim Taylor along with his dog, Buddy, backed his fishing boat down the ramp and into the Willamette River.