River Road apartment construction causes concern among neighbors

An excavator at a construction site on River Road (Courtesy Wayne Frey)

Some residents in Keizer have expressed concerns about new multifamily construction projects, particularly one currently under development at 5724 River Road N. The project is being managed by Randy Fultz Construction and is as-yet unnamed. It will include three buildings – two of them will be three-story units, and the project will offer housing for 66 families.

Wayne Frey, who lives right next door to the construction site, said the property had been vacant for many years, although it had been maintained by the previous owner. Last year, he said he noticed the grass was no longer being mowed and was becoming a fire hazard, so he called the city only to find the property had been sold.

“That was when we learned the property was zoned to be for multiple use, including apartments,” he said. “The old house on the property was demolished about five months ago, and construction began six weeks ago.”

Frey said he received no warning or notice from the city regarding the development, and was not aware of any public hearing about it in the last year. He said it’s already causing problems in the neighborhood.

Keizer Building Permit Coordinator Megan Hurley said this was because a hearing wasn’t required for residential units. She said the project received approval from the City of Keizer and is currently being reviewed by Marion County to ensure it meets uniform building codes.

Hurley said the project is not part of the middle-housing initiative the state announced earlier this year and that plans for the apartments were approved prior to the legislation or the city adopting the new initiative, which eases restrictions on multifamily project developers and encourages denser housing planning.

Frey said he hopes the contractor or the city will install a fence between the apartments and the surrounding homes due to the noise.

“The excavation process is very noisy with all the heavy equipment being used including bulldozers, excavators and dump trucks, as well as a dirt compactor,” he said. The dust was a major problem during the day, especially in the Summer, and he said was worried the vibration from the machinery was damaging his chimney.

Additionally, he has concerns about drainage.

“During the wet months, we get a lot of minor flooding in this area and this is likely to make that worse,” he said.

Frey said that nearly 100 trees were removed from the property prior to excavation and they are leveling the ground, both of which can present draining problems for nearby residents.