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Day: August 4, 2010

Funding for Chemawa project approved

Of the Keizertimes

About $450,000 was approved from the city’s street fund to pay for part of an improvement project on Chemawa Road N.

While it’s not expected to break ground until 2012, surveys and plans will be taking place throughout the next 12 months.

Total project cost is about $2.30 million, with about $960,000 coming from the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and another $883,000 from the Transportation Enhancement Program.

From River Road west to the city limits – just west of 15th Avenue – separated sidewalks, bike lanes and rain gardens will be added, Public Works Director Rob Kissler said.

From the city limits west to Keizer Rapids Park, a multi-use paved path will be installed. Between the path, sidewalks and bike lanes it will allow pedestrians and bicyclists access all the way to Keizer Rapids Park without having to use the roadway or the shoulder.

What is up for debate is what the intersection where Chemawa, Windsor Island Road and Shoreline Drive meet will look like. Possibilities include a roundabout and adding turn lanes.

Kissler said surveys and determining exactly where the public right-of-way is – and how much will need to be acquired – will play a role in what happens there.

“Until we do that we won’t know what design elements will fit,” Kissler said.

He has requested that staff from the Oregon Department of Transportation take a look at how to improve the intersection.

Councilor Cathy Clark is intrigued by the roundabout idea, saying it could move traffic more efficiently and reduce drag racing incidents.

“If they can do the engineering and make it work that will solve a number of problems,” Clark said. “… I got a lot of positive feedback on the idea of a roundabout because it’s going to stop the drag racing. That hadn’t even occurred to me as one of the benefits.”

A stoplight and turn lanes will be added at McNary High School’s Celtic Way, Chemawa and Delight Street.

“We have a huge congestion problem at that intersection before and after school,” Clark said. “It’s a very heavily used road and especially when we have events at the high school and elementary school we can get people moving through that intersection more safely.”

Kissler noted that while a portion of the to-be-improved Chemawa Road is in the county, the city has an agreement with the county to maintain that section of road.

The rain gardens will be similar, but not exactly like, the separated sidewalks and bioswale installed on Dearborn Avene N.

“They worked very well on Dearborn,” Kissler said. “We had absolutely no localized flooding,”

Grassroots Government

Parks Advisory Board

When they met: Tuesday, July 13

What they did: Vickie Hilgemann, a former parks board chair, said conditions at the Keizer Rapids Dog Park have deteriorated to the point where she will no longer take her dog there. She said the dog has to wade through high weeds and smells strongly of urine after visiting, to the point where she has to bathe the dog when she gets home. She said it needs to be mowed and irrigated more regularly and suggested a public-private partnership. In addition, she reported Kim Steen of D&J Dog Grooming has been inquiring as to the status of a drinking fountain she donated funds for, and wants the money back if it is not completed within the next six months. She also shared a letter from Kim Girouard – whose Keizer Veterinary Clinic made a large donations to build the park – decrying the parks’ neglect. She did, however, have some good news: The Wild Wild Rec summer recreation program is growing every week and has gotten good reviews from attendees. Public Works Superintendent Bill Lawyer said the city plans to have water at the park in this fiscal year, but has been on hold due to pending property acquisitions. He hopes to have this done in August. Board members indicated they would work on installing the sprinkler system. Parks Supervisor Terry Witham said city-wide changes have added two days of mowing to the schedule, and parks staff is unable to keep up. He said the weeds would be gone shortly, but will be replaced with dust. The board voted unanimously to recommend getting water in as soon as possible. The board also discussed using community service volunteers for park maintenance. Rick Day indicated a project to convert the existing caretaker house into a support building for the amphitheatre has been postponed for the time being.

Who was there: Jeanne Bond-Esser, Garry Whalen, Clint Holland, Alex Pellico, Rick Day, David Philbrick and Jim Parent. Absent: A.J. Nash and Danny Boyd.

Next meeting: August 10, 2010.


Bikeways Committee

When they met: Wednesday, July 21

What they did: Public Works Superintendent Bill Lawyer indicated lighting on Wheatland Road is expected to be installed and operational by when daylight savings time ends. And Public Works Director Rob Kissler is seeking a grant to finish all unfinished curbs, gutters and sidewalks on Wheatland Road. The board was in favor. The board was also informed of pending plans to add bike lanes, separated sidewalks and a signal light along Chemawa Road N. The board also discussed liability issues on organized bike rides, and the board agreed to coordinate bike safety classes with the Boys and Girls Club. The group authorized up to $300 for class giveaways.

Who was there: Jerry Lelack, David Dempster, Jim Merrill and Rick Jorgensen. Absent: Robert Fox, Cheri Christenson, Jeremy Jensen and Jim Taylor.

Next meeting: August 18, 2010.


Planning Commission

When they met: Wednesday, July 14

What they did: The board held a public hearing on nuisance abatement. The changes to the city’s development standards and junk/junkyards mostly were for clarification and terminology purposes. In other business, Brown said a traffic impact analysis for Keizer Station’s Area B would be ready for review at the September meeting. It’s possible an Area C review could come in October. It will be the first time the commission reviews a master plan prior to submission to the Keizer City Council. The commission will also be asked to review a text amendment to the sign code regarding temporary signs.

Who was there: Greg Rands, Jim Jacks, Doug Schneider, Holly Graf, Jonathan Thompson, Albert Castaneda, John Rizzo and Mark Caillier.

Next meeting: August 11, 2010.