Of the Keizertimes

It’s a topic that comes up from time to time at Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meetings: what to do with Northridge Park.

The hidden park along Claggett Creek and 10th Street is nearly impossible to access, even though technically it is a city park. Keizer resident Cris Dudek asked during last month’s Parks Board meeting why the park was blocked off.

“Northridge has three accesses, but none are approved,” Public Works director Bill Lawyer said. “A small piece of property bisects the park property. There is public access, but it’s very poor. At the Verda (Lane) one, the banking is steep. Homeowners there have built their own access, but there’s nothing on the property the city owns.”

That led Dudek to ask if the public can enter.

“Yes,” Lawyer said. “The last I know, there were no gates along the property we own. If you and your neighbors would be interested in punching a trail through, we would be interested.”

Donna Bradley, a new Parks Board member, asked later if Northridge is the only park like that in Keizer.

“It’s more of a natural area,” Lawyer said, noting there are several parks that fit such a description. “We don’t really have parks, other than Palma Ciea, that are undeveloped.”

Lawyer noted neighbors can come to the city if they have interest in the development of access to Northridge, which was part of the annual Parks Tour in 2013.

Richard Walsh wondered if a Boys Scout troop could put a trail in.

“Do we have enough right of way for a trail and sign?” Walsh asked.

Lawyer answered with a somewhat conflicting yes.

“Is there room to put a sign? Yes, but I’m very hesitant to put up a sign until a reasonable access is made,” he said. “For Northridge, it’s a very large undertaking. To find the property line is difficult because of the overgrown status of that property. It’s a lot of brush. It’s not impossible, but it’s a difficult or expensive undertaking. Once you get over the bank is where it gets difficult.”

Walsh felt signs could help the process.

“You will start to hear from more people and have more interest if you have signs up,” he said.

Lawyer said doing extensive work is hard at the Claggett Creek entrance due to the hilly and narrow space.

“We can’t get equipment into Northridge,” he said.

In other Parks Board business:

• Two new members joined in January, Bradley and Dylan Juran. A third new member, Scott Klug, was approved by Keizer City Councilors this week. Two of the vacancies were created when former Parks Board members Roland Herrera and Brandon Smith joined council, while another was created when the term of Robert Jones expired.

• David Louden was selected to serve as the new Parks Board chair, taking over the position vacated by Smith. Tanya Hamilton was appointed as vice chair.

• There was supposed to be a presentation from Lincoln City-based Dreamland Skateparks about renovating the Carlson Skate Park behind the Keizer Civic Center. However, the company owners weren’t present so Parks Board member Jason Bruster gave a brief update.

“I have taken on mentorship with the group,” Bruster said. “We’ll be doing some fundraisers this year (for the project). I’m working with Town and Country Lane to do a fundraiser with them.”

Bruster said Dreamland will be resubmitting a grant application for the Parks Board’s matching grant program.

“We’re going to try and come in at a different dollar amount from what they’ve asked for ($12,000 in November, nearly the entire amount in the matching grant program), to make it easier on the grant program so that it doesn’t deplete that program.”

The topic is expected to be brought up again at the Feb. 10 Parks Board meeting.