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The people will be heard

The people behind an initative to limit big box retailers to Area A of Keizer Station say they have attained the necessary signatures.  Once the requisite number of signatures have been verified the issue will be placed before Keizer voters in March.

The organizers withstood criticism from the mayor and some city councilors who say that if the initiative passed it would pull the welcome mat for some of the retailers or developers who might want to locate here.

The organizers really were targeting a proposed big box store in Area C of Keizer Station.  Keep Keizer Livable, a citizens group, was started by residents who live in the shadow of that parcel of land and fear for the, well, livability of their neighborhood.  Some might think their solution is like taking a sledgehammer to a fly, but they feel they had no other choice, saying they didn’t feel their views were being taken into account when planning for Area C.  They want the people’s voices to be heard, thus the petition.

Once the petition’s signatures are verified and the initiative heads for the ballot, the real fight will begin.  As it has been pointed out, a ban on big box retailers outside Area A means that no Keizer Village-type developments would be allowed outside that area.  That will be a big argument against the initiative that the folks at Keep Keizer Livable will have to address.

It is easier to get people to sign a petition than to attain a victory in an off-year spring election.  City councilors can campaign against the initiative citing how the big box ban will adversely affect economic development and growth for a city that needs it.  The supporters will have to hone their own argument on why the big box retailer ban is good for not only the people who live near Area C but also those who live in north Keizer, west Keizer and other neighborhoods.

Keep Keizer Livable and its supporters have reached the first step of their goal.  Now they have only to convince a majority of voters in March that their proposed big box ban is better for all Keizerites.