Grassroots Government

Community Diversity Engagement Committee 

Meeting Held: Nov. 2, 2023 

In attendance: Laura Reid, Tammy Kunz, Shaney Starr, Stephanie Cross, Thais Rodick, Nevaeh Music, Carrie Brown 

Asst. City Manager Tim Wood, Deputy Recorder Dawn Wilson 

Absent: Benita Picazo 

What happened: No comments were made by the public. The committee discussed an upcoming observance for Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. A further review of the Strategic Action Plan for Keizer revealed that internal city staff have met and are putting together a draft action plan which should be ready for review in the next few weeks. Once the rough draft has been completed it will be presented to the community for feedback as well as the committee. The committee also inquired whether a professional consultant would be available to provide expert opinions as to the efficacy of the plan as well as how the plan is worded. 

Planning Commission 

Meeting Held: Nov. 8, 2023 

In attendance: Fernando Lopez, Mo Avishan, Matt Lawyer, Ron Bersin, Jeremy Grenz, Kyle Juran, Angelica Sarmiento Avendano, Shane Witham, Shannon Johnson, Dina Horner, Dawn Wilson 

Absent: Robert Witters 

What happened: No comments were made by the public. A public hearing occurred to determine whether a major variance for a partition of the 525 Dearborn Ave. residence would be accepted. The applicant, Micheal Le, put forth his initial claim to have the residence, currently zoned as a single family residence, divided into two lots for another residence building to be placed. The variance would decrease the residence’s setback (the distance a house must be from the property line) from 5 feet to 2 feet where 5 feet is the city standard. 

Three appellants came forward with comments against the variance stating issues with noise, space usage, damage to trees and potential parking issues. The major variance was approved and passed unanimously. 

Volunteer Coordinating Committee 

Meeting held: Nov. 9, 2023 

In attendance: Emerson Carella, Dawn Bailon, Shaney Starr, Jane Herb, Daisy Hickman, Leslie Risewick, Corri Falardeau, Larry Jackson, Melissa Bisset, Dawn Wilson 

What happened: No comments were made by the public. The committee handled interviewing and motioning for more members of the traffic safety committee. The three positions currently open 3, 5 and 7, have terms ending Dec. 2026. The applicants were Micheal DeBlasi and Matt Myers. 

Nominations closed and VCC made a motion for Myers nomination to be moved until the next meeting. For DeBlasi, a motion to nominate for position 3 for Traffic Safety/Bikeways/ Pedestrians Committee was approved unanimously. 

Committee then discussed nominations and voting for the VCC chair. The vote was tabled until January. 

A presentation on proposed changes and discussion on revisions was conducted for the voting and interview guideline processes done by the VCC. Eight amendments to the process for appointments have been made since 2004. 

The need for review came from confusion with the voting process which spurred action to help clarify it. VCC chair Daisy Hickman, Mayor Cathy Clark, as well as City Recorder Melissa Bisset and Deputy City Recorder Dawn Wilson all worked together to edit the interview guidelines for clarity. 

A new set of interview questions and a reference tool for interview panel members were created as well. These were created to address the various biases and issues related to questioning applicants and avoid those pitfalls. 

City Council Work Session 

Meeting held: Nov. 13, 2023 

In attendance: Mayor Cathy Clark, Laura Reid, Shaney Starr, Soraida Cross, Kyle Juran 

City Recorder Melissa Bisset, Asst. City Manager Tim Wood, City manager Adam Brown, City attorney Shannon Johnson, Dan Kohler, Robert Husseman 

What happened: The Keizer City Council met for a work session to discuss the policies and use rate standards for those who use the Keizer Community Center rooms for events. 

The changes revolved around a potential increase in price for certain organizations, like private vendors, when they rent out a medium or large room due to an increase in interest in the community center. During the 2022- 2023 season the center hosted 485 events in total with 134 city events, 55 government agency events, 87 nonprofits events and 209 private entity events. 

Rates will differ depending in who is requesting access to a room within the center as well as the size of the room being requested with a small room (30-60 people) at $25, a medium room (72-100 people) at $100 and a larger room (up to 400 people) for $250. 

The changes would involve a percentage increase for rental rates of 40% for small rooms ($10 increase), a 25% increase for medium rooms ($25 increase) as well as a 30% increase for large rooms ($75 increase). 

During discussion, Council asked numerous questions of Tim Wood and Event Center Coordinator Lily Von in regards to personnel expenditures— around $233,900 for the 2.7 FTE workers there—in addition to the structuring of how damage is accessed and if the refundable deposits are used to address those damages. 

Council members approved a majority of the proposed changes with small stipulations regarding the small room fees (no price increase), a decreased discount for government partners wanting to use the space as well as adding more employees to the center’s roster. 

A motion to hear the resolution came up in the city council meeting on Nov. 20. 

Parks Advisory Board 

Meeting held: Nov. 14, 2023 

In attendance: Bob Shackleford, Clay Rushton, Mike Pantalone, Tanya Hamilton, Lisa Cejka, Gwen Carr, Katie Brady, David Louden 

Councilor Dan Kohler, Parks staff liaison Robert Johnson Deputy Recorder Dawn Wilson 

What happened: One public comment came from Rhonda Rich, president of the WKNA, about a grant given for a clean-up and replanting in Willamette House park. Rich thanked committee members and discussed how the land beautification really improved the area. The committee discussed the proposal to install a space for legal graffiti and other artwork although there was news on if it was approved yet. 

Committee members gave an overview of several of the main parks in Keizer noting the condition of each as “fantastic” as committee member Cejka noted. No issues were reported about the parks save a missing sign that needs replacing in Keizer Rapids park. 

The committee discussed erecting a fence around Ben Miller park. This idea was ultimately decided against as the park acts as a walking path for students, a secondary location for parents picking up kids from school and, as noted by Public staff liaison Robert Johnson, chain link fences often receive substantial damage in high traffic areas and do not last long. 

It was also stated that residents in the area seem to be against installing a fence as well. 

Johnson noted that public works, Keizer Police and the code enforcement section removed a large homeless camp on Nov. 14. 

Traffic Safety/Bikeways/ Pedestrian Committee 

Meeting held: Nov. 15, 2023 

In attendance: David Dempster, Hersch Sangster, Micheal DeBlasi, Jamie Davis, Tammy Saldivar, Brenda Lamb, Rick Kuehn, Mayor Cathy Clark, Deputy Recorder Dawn Wilson, Public Works Liaison Mike Griffin, Police Liaison Lt. Trevor Wenning. 

What happened: Three citizens spoke for public comments. The first comment dealt with the issue of speeding on Meadowlark Street. Committee Chair Davis deferred to Lt. Wenning who suggested having more patrols in the area monitor and collect data about speeding on that street to make the best choice possible moving forward. 

The next public comment was in regards to lowering the threshold for affected resident petitions from 75%. The last public comment was a request for information about the city’s flag project. Committee member Lamb, who was following the project, stated they would continue to perform research into what intersections could possess a flag. 

The Committee went over the city’s project list to determine what was still being monitored, had been completed or was no longer considered being fixed. 

The committee discussed the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan (NTMP) as well as the Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study (SKATS). 

For the NTMP, committee discussion revolved around a section to include a request for speed signs as well as the adoption of a comment box for Keizer residents. 

The SKATS discussion involved an update about the Transportation System Plan (TSP) and that the City of Turner received their grant, meaning Keizer will be next to have the ODOT aid with construction happening near Verda Lane. 

A meeting was held at the Keizer Civic Center on Dec. 7 from 4 – 7 p.m. to discuss the issue. 

Committee member Sangster suggested the council pick two or three items from the project list as well and bring those to committee and the council so a budget can be created for the projects. What projects will be worked on first will be discussed at a future meeting. 

Clark commented on the installation of a fiber-optic line to connect the city’s traffic lights, making them more responsive and resistant to environmental extremes. 

The next meeting will be held Jan. 18, 2024. 

Public Art Commission 

Meeting Held: Nov. 21, 2023 

In attendance: Kim Steen, Lore Christopher, Kat Thoreson, Laura Reid, 

Deputy City Recorder Dawn Wilson, City Manager Adam Brown 

Absent: Derek Bish, Marilyn Wood, Felicia Squires, Katie Klein 

What happened: The Commission approved the holiday quilt display for December and January and determined that they must ensure the artwork and artist are notified that they were chosen and have their work shown at the next city council meeting, Dec. 4. 

A motion was made by Christoper to accept all artwork as submitted and to close entry to the contest. Thoreson seconded and the motion passed. 

The next meeting will be Dec. 19.