New lease on life for orchard

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes There is a future again for the filbert orchard at Keizer Rapids Park. After Tony Weathers was granted a release from his contract to harvest the orchards in June, there was considerable question if another farm would take his place, especially given the desire to not use chemicals necessary to fight off the blight impacting the trees. Kevin Schurter with Schurter Enterprises LLC submitted a proposal in July to do the harvesting, with the proposal accepted the following month. It was only a short-term lease, spanning from Aug. 20 to Nov. 30. A Request for Proposals was run in mid-October for the city-owned orchard, resulting in two proposals. The one selected was from Schurter Enterprises. Keizer City Councilors approved the contract without comment during the consent calendar portion of the Dec. 7 council meeting. Rental income received from Schurter will be used for city park operations, including maintenance of the filbert orchard. According to the contract, the lease terminates when all crops are removed from the property, or no later than Nov. 30, 2017. The rent paid to the city will be 10 percent of the net proceeds from the farming of the crops grown on the property. When Weathers asked to be released from his contract in the spring, a key issue was the use of chemicals on the property. Weathers and...

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