A new officer, towing ordinances and a reserve strip dedication 

Back (from left to right): Melissa Bisset, Christa Medrano, Laura Reid, Lisa Cjeka, Rhonda Rich, Tammy Saldivar, Soraida Cross and Peggy Moore 
Front (from left to right): Shaney Starr, Jaquelyn Green, Tammy Kunz, Mayor Cathy Clark, Marlene Parsons, Carol Homan, Carol Doerfler, and Mary Ann Sangster 

A full council bench greeted attendees for the Keizer City Council meeting on Mar. 4, and came together for a night of swear-ins, vehicle towing as well as celebrating the women leaders of the city. 

The night began with the swearing in of new Keizer Police officer Jesse White.

A Keizer-native, White became the newest member of the department describing himself as “needing the mental stimulation” that comes with being an officer. 

 Mayor Cathy Clark proclaimed the month of March, Women’s History Month noting the dedication and results women in leadership have delivered here in Keizer. 

Clark called up all the women leaders in attendance to receive the proclamation.

A public hearing was held to discuss a new towing policy introduced by Keizer Police. 

Council discussed the report and its possible implementation. 

Keizer Police Chief Andrew Copeland relayed a story about one Keizer resident who incurred $800 in charges from having their vehicle towed, one reason amongst several given for creating the ordinance. 

The purpose of this ordinance is to require that towing from private parking facilities be performed fairly, in accordance with defined standards and at reasonable rates, according to the staff report. 

If enabled, the ordinance would be an overall good for the city and make it more reputable, according to Copeland. 

Police liaison Lt. Trevor Wenning and City Attorney Joseph Lindsay, described how they reached out to around 35 different local towing companies to get an idea of their thoughts about this ordinance though only two companies have responded so far. 

One stipulation of the ordinance, noted by Lindsay, would be to allow owners the chance to pay their fee should they be present while their vehicle is being towed. 

Wenning described how towing services would be vetted via background checks with those who have employees guilty of crimes like theft being taken out of the running for a contract. 

Another stipulation of the ordinance would put the onus on property owners to ensure that valid signage is present in parking areas to ensure drivers are fully aware of parking guidelines. 

Wenning noted that no one educated or reached out to inform property owners before the ordinance was brought up and potentially passed. 

Council brought up the motion to adopt the towing ordinance and passed it unanimously. 

A one square foot reserve strip of land on the western end of Oppek St. NE., will receive a dedication. 

A reserved strip is utilized in municipal areas to help control access to an adjoining property until a time when that property has received the appropriate land-use approval. 

The reserve strip is a holdover from before Keizer was a city, when the county used reserve strips to control access in public rights of way. 

The reserved strip as the section of land has finally received the land use approval it required. 

Due to this, city staff recommended that the council dedicate the land though did not note exactly who or what the dedication would be for. 

A motion for the ordinance passed unanimously. 

A series of committee reports were given at the meeting from the Traffic Safety/Bikeway/ Pedestrian Committee (TSBPC) and the Planning Commission. 

Michael DeBlasi from the TSBPC described the committee going through the strategic plan to determine any needed changes. 

Changes the committee gave revolved around the city’s emergency preparedness and management as well as how listed goals were too broad and needed more actionable items. 

Mo Avisham from the Planning Commission described Commission efforts to review the strategic plan as well. 

One highlight was the renegotiation of the Willow Lake Settlement agreement. 

Avisham noted that the land owners, who attended a previous Planning Commission meeting with their lawyer, Mark Shipman of Salem, were on board with renegotiating the settlement. 

Avisham described how more development should occur in the city rather than making the city larger via expanding the UGB. 

He also stated that the goals and actions items in the strategic plan need to be reviewed again and made more specific on what they require and the necessary actions needed to complete them. 

There were no in-person public comments and three write-in comments. 

The first write-in was from Tammy Kunz and advocated for supporting a public process for fees of service. 

Following write-in comments were from West Keizer Neighborhood Association leader Rhonda Rich as well as members of the Greater Northeast Keizer Neighborhood Association. 

The council entered a lightning round of ordinances and actions, first discussing an ordinance in regards to Keizer’s neighborhood associations. 

The 1993 ordinance, which was so old there was no digital copy, according to Lindsay, has received a series of recommendations for improvements provided by the various associations themselves. 

Council went through the highlights of what each neighborhood association desired such as a space at city hall for meetings, more funding as well as not setting a minimum member stipulation which were just a few changes brought up. 

Pending more information from other associations, Clark set a work session date, April 8, for a more in-depth look at making the desired changes. 

The next discussion revolved around requests for a no parking zone on the south side of Bailey Rd. Public works director Bill Lawyer stated the reason for the no parking zone as due to cars parked on the road creating issues of access for emergency vehicles should they need to get into the area. 

Lawyer noted that three of the four property owners in the area spoke positively about the inclusion of a no parking zone. 

The overall financial impact of the project would be around $500 or less due to only needing signage to make the change. 

Council moved to adopt the order and approved it 6-0 with an abstention from Councilor Kyle Juran due to a stated conflict of interest. 

Following, the council dealt with contracting another hearings officer as the current contract is expiring and the previous officer has resigned. 

City staff sent out a request for proposals with only one resume being sent back in January, Theodore Naemura. 

Despite only one returned resume, Planning Commission director Shane Witham noted that Naemura was well-qualified. 

The contract would be hourly at $95 per hour, according to meeting documentation. 

A motion to adopt the contract was made and passed unanimously. 

The next discussion dealt with local judge, Carl A. Meyers. The current contract for a city judge ends June 30 and the process to renew the contract with the new judge would need to start soon, according to Lindsay. 

Alternatively, a resolution could be passed to retain the same judge. 

Council President Shaney Starr made a motion to post a notice for a public hearing for the exemption of solicitation for a municipal court judge contract and the motion passed unanimously. 

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-105

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