By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Representatives of several city council and city committees took part in a question-and-answer session after consultants took a deep dive into the costs of growth at a work session Monday, Aug. 27. (See related story, Growth livability)
Garry Whalen, a member of the Keizer Planning Commission, asked about the quality of the jobs associated with three growth scenarios. All three projected some job growth, but Whalen asked whether it was full-time, benefitted positions or more part-time jobs.
Glen Bolen, a consultant with OTAK, Inc., said the market will decide what goes in where, but Keizer could stack the deck in favor of better jobs.
“In the city of Redmond, [on city-owned property,] the more family-wage jobs a business offered, the lower the rent or sale price was,” Bolen said.
Kathy Lincoln, a member of the Keizer Traffic Safety, Pedestrian and Bikeways (TPB) Committee, asked what the options might be for businesses already planning on leaving River Road North. Lincoln mentioned the announced closing of Keizer Nursery as one candidate.
“We could do some small-area design vignettes. We should take a look at that site – at how it could turn out – and that might get the ideas flowing,” Bolen said.
Matt Lawyer, a member of the Keizer Planning Commission and Parks Advisory Board, cautioned against overloading the three of the main intersections of River Road at Lockhaven, Chemawa and Mandrin. If people are suddenly priced out of living in that area, Lawyer said, you are going to need to add traffic controls and parking.
Bolen responded that transportation modelers would be tasked with calculating traffic impacts once Keizer narrows down the direction it hopes to head. He added that associated problems can even defy expectations and take care of themselves.
“Sometimes, as places intensify and become more walkable, the speed slows down,” Bolen said.
Another component of more intense development will be a need for greater public transit capacity and scheduling that doesn’t hinder livability, he added.
City Councilor Bruce Anderson asked how the city might link properties behind River Road frontages and reduce stress on or eliminate access directly from River Road.
Bolen said the opportunities for such linkages would most likely come as property redevelops, but with so many small parcels and different owners it could take a while.
Mike DeBlasi, a member of the TPB Committee and former member of the Planning Commission, asked about the possibilities for different parking types, like roof-level parking or parking decks.
Bolen said that the cost to create a parking spot on the ground is about $3,000 per space, but the cost skyrockets once it moves upward – to about $25,000 per space.
“Tuck-under parking is another option that is somewhere between the two,” Bolen said.
When the question regarding affordable living spaces arose, Mayor Cathy Clark rose to the defense of a manufactured home park on the corner of River Road and Lockhaven Drive. Clark said that space remained some of the most affordable in Keizer and needed to be preserved.
When Clark asked Bolen what Keizerites should be thinking about when planning for the next generation of residents, Bolen said public spaces would be key.
“Public spaces and parks were identified as goals, but there are opportunities for public spaces. The stream near Waremart should be a place for people to gather. When you intensify development, you need to look at ways to use the public spaces because the demand is higher,” Bolen said.