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Day: July 19, 2010

Explosion kills Keizer man

A Keizer man was killed in an explosion in Seal Rock over the weekend.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on S-Low Road in Seal Rock at about 7:59 p.m. Saturday, July 17, reporting multiple injuries from an explosion.
It appeared the victims were loading a black powder cannon owned by the property owner when it exploded. Fragments of metal were sent flying, striking four people and killing Eric Jason Rose, 38, of Keizer.
He was found unconscious at the scene, and members from the Seal rock and Central Oregon Coast Fire and Rescue departments were not able to revive him. Three others suffered injuries, and one was taken to a Newport hospital.
The Lincoln County District Attorney and medical examiner’s offices were notified of the incident.

Compost service starts in September

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Biweekly compost pickup service will begin Sept. 1, after the Keizer City Council opted last week not to make the service weekly and raise rates about $1.68 per month.

All councilors but Cathy Clark opposed the weekly service. Councilor Richard Walsh was not at the meeting held last week.

The rate increase implemented last month will cover the cost of bi-weekly compost pickup.

The change was made at the request of the Mid-Valley Garbage and Recyclers Association, who at the behest of Marion County is beginning to offer the service. Compostable items like bread, coffee filters and grounds, dairy products, egg shells, produce, meats, pizza boxes and seafood shells could be disposed of in the green yard debris can, instead of in with the trash. Plastic bags, animal waste, foil, grease, metals and personal hygiene products would continue to go in the garbage.

City Manager Chris Eppley stated as high as 24 percent of trash sent to the Marion County Waste-to-Energy facility is food waste. Removing that from the wastestream, proponents say, will extend the life of that plant as it is running near-capacity.

The haulers gave the option of weekly or bi-weekly pickup, with a solid waste consultant saying bi-weekly service would be adequate if the council so chooses.

“When it’s mixed with yard waste it does change the chemical properties of it and that’s why it could be every other week,” said consultant Estle Harlan.

Councilor David McKane asked whether seasonal weekly pickup was possible, but Harlan said it would be “almost prohibitive cost-wise” considering it would leave trucks simply sitting part of the year.

Mary Kanz, president of the association, said there are some 10,000 free composting bins available for Marion County residents. To receive one, call your garbage hauler. They’re available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The move to composting didn’t draw very many testifiers at Tuesday’s meeting, but councilors and Mayor Lore Christopher said the feedback they received was nearly all against weekly compost pickup.

“I’ve actually had the second-most calls on this as I have any issue in eight years,” said Councilor Jim Taylor. “It was unanimous they didn’t want to do the weekly.”

Clark voted for it, she said, because she felt many customers wouldn’t have room in their green bins during the summer months where lawns require the most maintenance, and that other jurisdictions started with bi-weekly and moved to weekly.

“Those who were at every other week very quickly said, ‘Oh, that was a mistake,’” Clark said.

Portable sign laws could be loosened

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

A pilot program relaxing temporary business signage may be coming forth, as the Keizer City Council agreed by consensus Monday, July 13, to consider the matter.

It would allow currently-prohibited A-frame signs no bigger than six feet to be placed outside businesses on private property. Business owners would only be allowed to have them out while the site is open, and must be taken inside daily.

The code would designate “feather” signs – a feather-shaped flag bearing a company’s name – as an allowed temporary sign.

The changes would also limit real estate signs to 16 square feet. Currently these can be up to 32 square feet.

FILE PHOTO

The decision came at a work session. It directs staff to prepare a text amendment to begin the sign code amendment process.

Some recommendations came from the Keizer Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development and Government Affairs committee, which met about the issue earlier this year.

Community Devleopment Director Nate Brown said the proposals from the committee and others were “helpful,” but cautioned councilors about “radically alter(ing)” the code

“We want to keep a lid on signage,” Brown said. “… As restrictive as the code is, it was a response to the conditions that use to be on River Road. It was things people wanted to get a grip on.”

The signs must be at least 30 feet away from other signs in the proposal, and Councilor Jim Taylor said a lack of space limits could negate the effectiveness of temporary signage.

“I’m afraid if you have a complex with eight businesses, and they all have signs, that it isn’t going to help them because people won’t pay attention,” he said.

Joe Egli, president of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, said local businesses “need some sort of stimulus.”

Mayor Lore Christopher liked the pilot aspect of the program.

“We’re in a really crappy economy and the whole reason was we had local businesses come to us saying, ‘Could you give us a break here? We’re dying on the vine. We employ local people and spend locally.’ … This would be nice to try for a year.”