By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Chick-fil-A, another fan favorite restaurant, is giving Keizer Station a hard look.
For the first time since rumors of a Keizer location more than a year ago, the restaurant’s interest was formally acknowledged in a meeting of the Keizer Planning Commission.
“The Area D master plan amendment has been applied for and it is going through the comment process. Chick-fil-A is the applicant on that,” said Shane Witham, Keizer interim planning director, at the meeting Jan. 13.
A Keizer location would be the next logical step for the restaurant that sent food trucks to Keizer late last year, a move that many suspected was something like a market test.
The restaurant would be placed alongside other new development in the “jug handle” that moves shopping center traffic out of Keizer Station and back to Interstate 5.
While the application for a master plan amendment is a new milestone for bringing the chicken chain to Keizer, it is by no means a certainty. A few years ago, Safeway requested a master plan amendment to install fuel pumps at its River Road location and the development never materialized.
The jug handle area is being developed by the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians with RPS Development. The last time Alan Roodhouse, president of RPS, spoke at a public meeting on the potential development, plans for the jug handle included a gas station, quick service restaurant and an automotive services/accessory store.
Building plans for a 7-Eleven in the southeast corner were included in the amendment and variance package approved by the council in August 2020. On the same day that the council approved the master plan changes, 7-Eleven announced it was acquiring Speedway gas station for $21 billion. The fueling station is expected to include 12 pumps.
The jug handle center is expected to generate about 410 trips per day, an increase of about 40 trips over the original plans for the site. “Trips” are the estimated totals of entrance/exits during the course of a day.
A new traffic light would be installed at the entrance and exit point of the new development. A 2,200-square-foot, interactive water feature is also among the plans, and located in the southwest corner of the jug handle.
With Chick-fil-A and 7-Eleven claiming spots, the only tenant left to be determined is the quick lube location.
The Chick-fil-A would be the first location in the Salem-Keizer area and the seventh in Oregon. The nearest current locations are in Beaverton and Clackamas.