Council delays decision on Summer Concert Series management

(Photo courtesy of Keizer Rotary Ampitheater)

Marijuana, summer concerts, sushi and turf fields: The Keizer City Council had no shortage of interesting topics on the agenda for their second to last regular meeting of the year on Monday Dec. 6. 

The council’s vote on whether or not to sign a contract with the Keizer Chamber of Commerce to run the Summer Concert Series appeared to be of greatest public concern with seven community members signing up to discuss the topic during public comment. 

The Summer Concert Series at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater has been run by Clint Holland’s KRA organization for the past nine years. The city’s contract with him expired in October of this year and the city began accepting proposals in August for the management of the series starting in 2022.

Two proposals were submitted — one by Holland and one by the Chamber — which went through a grading process. Each proposal was scored based on categories such as applicant’s ability to work cooperatively with the city, their expertise in the music industry, their qualifications and the proposal’s “complete and clear responses.” The Chamber received 150.5 points out of 225, and Holland 129 out of 225. 

Holland’s objection, which he’s expressed at multiple council meetings, is that he wasn’t made aware of the proposal until a week after the Chamber and had to submit a rushed proposal. The City has confirmed that they initially sent the proposal to the wrong address and that Holland wasn’t made aware of the proposal until Aug. 19 — six days after the Chamber received it and 11 days until the deadline. 

“When we tell a group, ‘I know you built it, I know you put all this work into it, I know you did all these things you heard about but the procedure was that you lost out.’ That’s fine. But make sure the procedure was fair,” said Richard Walsh, a former Keizer City Councilor, at Monday’s meeting.

After more than 30 minutes of public comment on the matter, the council began discussing possible remedies for the situation. Councilors debated and in the end decided to re-open the entire call for proposal process. The Chamber, who is planning to partner with Valor Mentoring, and Holland will both have an opportunity to submit a new proposal as will any other new parties. All proposals will then be graded and come before the council once again in the future. 

The council did not provide a new timeline for the process with City Attorney Shannon Johnson saying that staff would work to see how fast they could send out the new requests for proposals during the holidays. 

After the lengthy discussion on the Summer Concert Series, the council began discussing a request from a local dispensary for the city to amend a city code that requires 1,000 feet of space between dispensaries. Hami Premises is currently located roughly 850 feet from another Keizer dispensary, which means they are unable to open their business under current law. 

“Do we really need more pot shops in town?” Councilor Dan Kohler asked during discussion.

“Rather than looking at the ‘do we need,’ because I remember that same question about fast food places, we set the table and business owners decided if they can operate under those conditions. And then they make a business decision,” said Mayor Cathy Clark. 

After minimal discussion, the council voted on whether to direct staff to “reopen the conversation about the distance between marijuana retailers in our development code.” 

Councilors Elizabeth Smith and Roland Herrera voted yes, while Kohler, Clark and Councilors Laura Reid and Kyle Juran voted no. 

While the first two agenda items of the night were rejected, council came to agreement on the third, voting anonymously to waive a $1,000 rental charge for the Keizer Community Center for Kohler and the Boy Scouts of America Cascade Pacific Council. Kohler and the Boy Scouts will use the center on Oct. 1, 2022 for the Ed Harris Auction Committee. 

Additionally, the council also voted to direct Finance Director Tim Wood to apply for American Rescue Plan funds to construct up to two all-weather turf soccer/football fields at Keizer Rapids Park. The fields are estimated to cost between $3.2 and $4.2 million. 

News tip? Contact reporter Joey Cappelletti at [email protected] or 616-610-3093.