Day: September 5, 2014

Public turns out against apartment proposal

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Council chambers weren’t quite as full the second time around, but it was close. In June, a public hearing about a proposal to convert the “cow pasture” along Verda Lane between Chemawa Road and Dearborn Avenue at Keizer Civic Center resulted in the council chambers being filled with about 100 people. Another hearing on the topic was held during Tuesday’s Keizer City Council meeting. There were a few scattered open seats this time, but still approximately 90 people showed up. All who spoke were against the proposal, which means most left the meeting happy when councilors unanimously rejected the proposal from developer Mark Grenz to move forward with plans for 120 apartments (see related story, front page). Grenz was one of the few to leave the room unhappy, as he stormed out of the meeting after the vote. “Good night,” Grenz said gruffly in response to a question from the Keizertimes, the lone media at the meeting. Mayor Lore Christopher opened the public hearing shortly after 7 p.m. and laid down a few ground rules, such as expected behavior (which wasn’t always followed) and the criteria by which councilors would make their decision. The proposal sought a comprehensive plan change, a change in zoning for the Herber family property and a lot line adjustment. Each of those three things had certain criteria that...

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So, there’s a grenade in my desk drawer…

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes High on the list of things teachers don’t want to see in their desks when returning from the summer break: a grenade. That’s just what one teacher at McNary High School found last Thursday, Aug. 28. As a result, the Keizer Police Department was called and the bomb squad was called in. Staff members went home early. “It wasn’t really a bomb threat,” MHS principal John Honey told the Keizertimes this week. “What happened was we had a staff member who lost a family member. While going through their stuff, he found an old World War II grenade. He sent a text to one of our social studies teachers who teaches about World War II, along the lines of ‘I know you like props.’ He put it in the staff member’s desk drawer.” Honey, who is starting his fifth year as MHS principal but will be handing the job over to Erik Jespersen at the end of the semester, said the teacher in question didn’t know about the grenade. “The teacher never saw the text,” Honey said. “He comes back to work and there’s a hand grenade sitting in his drawer. He let us know. We had no idea how it got there. In order to be as cautious as we can, we called in the police and the bomb squad. They discovered...

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Apartment plan gets nixed

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes In the end, the numbers didn’t add up. As a result, members of the Keizer City Council unanimously rejected a proposal that would have cleared the way for approximately 120 new apartments along Verda Lane between Chemawa Road and Dearborn Avenue, on land referred to as the cow pasture. The decision came three hours into a meeting on Tuesday night – a day later than normal due to the Labor Day holiday – that attracted a near capacity crowd of about 90 people (see related story, pg. 3). Council chambers had been filled in June when a public hearing on the topic was held in front of the Keizer Hearing Officer. The meeting had been pushed back to September since members of the property-owning Herber family were unable to attend a meeting in August. However, no members of the Herber family were in attendance on Tuesday. The Hearing Officer report indicated developer Mark Grenz had met the requirements for a comprehensive plan change, a zoning change and a lot line adjustment, all of which were necessary in order for the apartment plans on the Herber property to move forward. Councilors disagreed. During 15 minutes of discussion, councilors raised several concerns. “I found two significant flaws,” council president Joe Egli said, referring to the Housing Needs Analysis in the staff report. “We’ve told everyone...

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KHC honoring DAR luminary

A memorial plaque honoring Anna Maria Pittman will be dedicated on the front lawn of the Keizer Heritage Center on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. The plaque memorializes the namesake of the Anna Maria Pittman Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Keizer chapter was chartered on Dec. 4, 1985 and shares the mission of the DAR, which was founded in 1890 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization is dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through better education for children. Tammy Goesch, chair of the memorial plaque project, noted the Keizer chapter embarked on the project in 2012 under the leadership of then-chapter regent Corale Goesch. “The goal was to raise awareness of Ms. Pittman’s part in our local and regional history,” Tammy Goesch said. “While more information on her life can be found in the region – at the Willamette Heritage Center, at Willamette Mission State Park and at the Lee Mission Cemetery – Keizer itself was lacking a memorial to this major figure. Plans for a historical and educational plaque to be sited at the KHC were approved by a resolution of the City of Keizer in October 2012 and fundraising then began in earnest.” Goesch noted donations are still being accepted. “It is hoped this memorial plaque...

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