Things are really perking up in Keizer these days with new construction and installations.

Ground has been broke  at Schoolhouse Square to  build a replacement for the space now occupied by Starbucks and Mr. Video+Games. A new Starbucks building was just completed on River Road just south of Chemawa Road.

Construction continues apace at the east end of Keizer with Bonaventure’s new senior living facility and a new apartment complex. Initial work is being done in Keizer Station for the city’s second hotel—a Holiday Inn Express.

Taco Bell on River Road is getting a complete overall.

McNary High School has a refurbished gymnaisum floor thanks to the McNary Athletic Booster Club.

Keizer’s second mural will be dedicated next month. The 140-foot long mural depicts our community’s favorite event: the Iris Festival Parade. We are scratching our heads over the inclusion of Albert Einstein holding an apple (apples were Isaac Newton’s thing)—it must be a art thing we regular people don’t understand.

Regarding dedications, the round-about at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane will officially open to traffic on Sept. 2. We suspect the round-about will be a major topic of discussion in Keizer for the first few weeks as opinions of support and derision are expressed.

It is good to see these improvements and additions to the city.  Bonaventure’s retirement facility will add new jobs in-city that are desperately needed.

Jobs will also be added when tenants are found for the former Roth’s Fresh Market site at Schoolhouse Square and the empty spaces at Creekside Center at River Road and Lockhaven Drive.

Keizer can take an giant employment leap forward if it can navigate an expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary north of the city.  The focus of any UGB expansion should be on commercial development that would attract the types of businesses that will create good paying jobs. Expansion of the urban growth bounday will, undoubtedly, be the major issue the city council tackles over the next four to five years. The issues of growth and urban growth boundary expansion should be a major topic duirng this fall’s city council campaigns.

It should be the never-ending effort of the city and its leaders to position Keizer as a desirable place to do business. New buildings, new traffic control and pretty murals will only go so far.

Until, or unless, the UGB can be expanded we need to work with what we have. That includes assuring that our main thoroughfares are clean and inviting. A good example is the recent upgrade of Martinez Tires at River Rd. and Manbrin Dr. It’s not easy to make that kind of business look pleasing, but they’ve done it. The effort to revitalize and beautify River Road has been a hit-or-miss proposition. There are too many examples of unkempt landscaping or buildings in need of maintenance. A recent example

A city is more than just the people who live there. It is also the totality of its infrastructure and the ambiance of the community. Leaders—both public and private—should take a critical look at our main streets and try to see it through the eyes of a potential business and job creator.

Keizer is perking up with all the changes and improvements but let us be sure we are perking up what we have now. Keizerites love their community. How can we get stakeholders to love the community in which they do business enough to beautify and maintain the public face of Keizer—its commercial core.

  —LAZ