Day: March 21, 2014

Salem river crossing

To the Editor: The Keizer City Council recently approved a new version of a bridge over the Willamette River, without a public meeting and without revealing to Keizer residents how the new alternative would affect them. The city council approved “by consensus” an alternative originally proposed by the Salem City Council last summer.  The so-called Salem Alternative is not an expressway to West Salem—it has at least eight intersections. In addition, the traffic study shows it will cause intersections on Liberty and Commercial Streets between Keizer and downtown Salem to be over-capacity at certain times of morning and evening. This means traffic well wind through the neighborhoods, or you will sit at a light through several changes. The estimated cost of the  “Salem Alternative” is $400 million.  There is no state or federal money available, nor is it likely there will be, for such a local project.  The most likely funding mechanism will be bonds, to be paid for by the entire Salem/Keizer area.  There is another alternative in the study that would cost a third of the Salem Alternative, would result in better traffic flow between Keizer and Salem and into West Salem, and would displace many fewer residents and businesses.  The Alternative 2A would widen the existing bridges and build infrastructure improvements at the existing bridge heads. The Keizer City Council should re-think its decision, compare the...

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Keizer power plant

To the Editor: I’d like to offer an observation on the proposed power plant.  I think this is an excellent climax to Mayor Lore Christopher’s long career. I go back to an article I read many years ago about the Washington Public Power Supply (WPPS) where, due to a typo, the ‘l’ was omitted from Public.  I’ve remembered that fondly now for many years. I support the construction of the gas powered plant, near a shopping center, near a residential district, in a flood plain, in full view of everyone driving along the Interstate freeway, as long as it is declared with large signs as the “Lore Christopher Memorial Pubic Power Plant”  I think her service to the city of Keizer deserves such a lasting memorial. Roger Oakes Keizer...

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Founders wanted citizen reps

By PHIL GERSTNER I greatly enjoy reading the Keizertimes each week. The paper is the best source for local coverage of the issues that matter most to the citizens of Keizer. I do have one suggestion for improvement. Please fold in a blood pressure pill when you run columns by Gene McIntyre. I have the need to pop a pill after reading his articles. Last week’s article was no exception. In the article, Trading $1M a year for $174,000, Mr. McIntyre expresses his “sadness and disappointment” after reading an article in The Oregonian regarding Dr. Monica Wehby, the candidate opposing U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. Mr. McIntyre writes he is ”sad and disappointed” that Dr. Wehby would leave her position as a pediatric neurosurgeon for a position in the U.S. Senate. Our Founding Fathers would applaud this move. They felt strongly that our government leaders should come from the citizenry. They believed that leaders should use their knowledge from civilian life to better the condition of the citizenry. They didn’t believe that we should have career politicians. I agree. I believe we are served best by leaders that have experience in the working world. Jeff Merkley is a career politician. He has zero experience or accomplishment outside of the government or non-profit sectors. After college, he moved from a position at the Office of the Secretary of Defense to the...

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Politics of a toy

One person’s idea can excite many others and grow into a full-fledged civic project. After Keizer resident William Stitt laid out his idea for a big toy playground at Keizer Rapids Park, the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board quickly adopted the idea in early 2013. Stitt cited other big toy playgrounds in the region and thought it would  be a good fit for the park. The project, a community build, will be led by the city with the help of the Keizer Parks Foundation and dozens, if not hundreds, of volunteers.What is supposed to be a large, adventurous playground for Keizer kids is in danger of being mired in competing visions and politics. The final site for the playround within in the park has yet to be settled. Mayor Lore Christopher threw a wrench in the planning in January when she said she favored a site close to Chemawa Road. The task force organizing the community build and the paid consultant all favored a site further in the park between the amphitheatre and the boat ramp parking area. There is yet to be a final vote on the location due to some machinations regarding the urban growth boundary (UGB) that must be concluded. The 28-acre expansion of the UGB at the park needs the acquiesance of the Salem, Marion County and Polk County. We still think that’s a...

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Hotel to pull into the station

    By CRAIG MURPHY/Of the Keizertimes For years there have been signs in Keizer Station pointing out a hotel. The problem has been the lack of a hotel in the shopping area. It appears that is likely to change. Two developers, both of whom have a long history with Keizer Station dating back to its early days, indicated this week plans should be announced soon for a new hotel. While rumors of a hotel being built on Lot 21 in Keizer Station – between the Panera Bread and Outback Steakhouse – have come and gone, they have picked up steam the past few weeks. Developer Chuck Sides told the Keizertimes last month he expected an announcement in a week. Though that didn’t happen, the issue has been moving forward. When the packet for the March 17 Keizer City Council meeting was sent out last week, one of the items dealt with the default of payment on the Local Improvement District (LID) on behalf of Northwest National LLC and HTLKS LLC – two of Sides’ companies – for Lot 21. The resolution called for authorization to move forward with foreclosure on the LID lien. City Attorney Shannon Johnson said during Monday’s council meeting there had been a change a couple of hours before the meeting. “There was a new development this afternoon, for the hotel site,” Johnson said. “The...

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