KEIZERTIMES

KEIZERTIMES

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

A more business-friendly shopping cart ordinance has been approved by the Keizer City Council.

The issue of complaints related to shopping carts being left in neighborhoods was brought up in September, but councilor Brandon Smith objected to some of the requirements as proposed. Based on the feedback, councilor Marlene Parsons withdrew the ordinance and worked on it some more with city attorney Shannon Johnson as well as Nate Brown, director of Community Development for the city.

The revised ordinance didn’t have many differences, but they were noticeable. For example, the revised ordinance no longer requires stores to set up a toll-free phone line for people to call if they find an abandoned shopping cart from that store.

In addition, the maximum fine was dropped from $500 to $100, the minimum fine was dropped from $100 to $50 and a presumptive fine was dropped from $250 to $50.

Smith voted in favor of the revised ordinance, while councilor Amy Ryan was the lone no vote.

Shortly before the meeting, former councilor Joe Egli e-mailed thoughts on the ordinance, emphasizing that removing a shopping cart from a store’s premises is theft.

“By fining the business we are simply addressing the symptom, not finding a cure for the problem,” Egli wrote in part. “We are letting our citizens know that it is okay to steal a shopping cart and leave it in the alley because the business they stole it from has to come pick it up. Keizer is a pro-business, thinking on our feet community that does not just make ordinances because other communities have.”

Councilor Roland Herrera agreed with Egli’s points.

“This seems to be punishing the stores,” Herrera said of the ordinance. “There’s got to be a way not to put another burden on the stores.”

Brown noted a business won’t automatically get fined if their cart is found off-premises.

“We give businesses three days to pick up their cart,” Brown said. “It’s only if they fail their responsibility and we have to get involved, that’s the only thing that kicks it off. Some businesses simply don’t care, but I don’t think that will be any of our businesses. We don’t have the intent to levy fines. Only if we have to use our resources to collect and store the cart, that’s the only time we would levy a fine. We don’t intend to ever do that.”

Parsons pointed out Ben Crosby, Keizer’s Code Compliance officer, has talked to all of the local store managers about the ordinance.

“All companies in Keizer with carts are corporations with businesses in other cities with stickered carts,” Parsons said. “So it would not be another expense. They already have a phone number and stickers. We don’t have stickers now since we have no ordinance. The stores are prepared for this.”

Smith explained why he objected to the original version of the ordinance.

“I felt it was overbearing and heavy handed,” he said. “I had no less than five people come up to me and say good job, which tells me it was important. The $500 fine seemed excessive. It shouldn’t need to be this big of a deal. If you see a cart, call the store and tell them to get it. If they don’t, they should have to pay a fine. I felt it was silly to have a separate phone line for the reporting process. Let’s not make it such a big deal.”

In other council business:

• Clint Holland is looking to put on a Christmas concert at Keizer Civic Center on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 13.

“We will have Patrick Lamb doing the program,” Holland said. “We want to upscale it every year to some pretty nice bands or musicians.”

As proposed, the event would run from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and include dinner.

• The 32-lot Bowden Estates subdivision on Burbank Street was unanimously approved without comment. The proposal had originally been rejected by the city hearings officer due to concerns over the intersection at Burbank and Trent Avenue, but the area was redesigned.

“It took the work of the developers and the city team coming up with something that worked,” Johnson said.

• Two liquor license applications were approved and forwarded to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Salsa Rica Restaurant at 3844 River Road North has been bought by Carlos Pineda and renamed El Patron Mexican Grill, as previously mentioned in the Keizertimes.

Pats Cigs, located at 4486 River Road North, has been bought by Najeeb Mohammed and is now named Pats 1 Cig.