Taxes, boxes and bikes were among Keizer’s top 10 stories of 2010.
Two political controversies will be making headlines in 2011, and an honest mistake – or at least that’s the party line – was one of the hottest stories of the year.
Here are, in no particular order, the top 10 stories of 2010 as voted on by Keizertimes staff:
• Trader Nope: For aficionados of specialty grocer Trader Joe’s, it was a dream come true.
But their hopes vanished along with the sign that was up at Keizer Station for less than 24 hours.
A sunny June day saw a new sign at Keizer Station, along with what appeared to be three brand-new tenants: Marshalls, Old Navy and Trader Joe’s.
It was an unusual way to announce a new store, and ultimately it was not to be: By the end of the day, the company installing the sign said it was a mistake, and Trader Joe’s said Keizer was not on their radar.
A few months later, the grocer announced a new location in south Salem.
Was it an odd mistake? Some of our readers didn’t buy it. Old Navy and Marshalls have both since inked deals at Keizer Station, after the city’s top planner said no deals were done for any of the newly-listed destinations.
Does that mean a Trader Joe’s in our future? Only time will tell.
• Lost and found at McNary: A gun: McNary High School’s lost and found bin is generally home to wayward backpacks, lonely jackets and the like.
What a gym teacher found there in early November was a chilling surprise: A 9-millimeter handgun and ammunition.
School authorities insisted in a letter sent to students there was no evidence anyone planned to use the gun. Keizer Police are still silent on who the gun belonged to, and why the gun was there in the first place.
• Big box petition: Neighbors of a proposed big-box store at Lockhaven Drive and Chemawa Road didn’t take the news lying down.
Keep Keizer Livable, the group founded to fight the big-box, took their neighborhood battle a step further by proposing no one could build a store bigger than 65,000 square feet outside the currently-developed part of Keizer Station.
It represented the first city ballot measure in more than a decade. Keizer voters will decide the matter in March.
• Good Vibrations: Did you hear the roar?
Keizer Renaissance Inn hosted hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts who rolled into town for the first-ever Good Vibrations rally, a cousin of the wildly popular Street Vibrations festival in Reno, Nev.
Salem played host to headliners like motorcycle stuntman Monte Perlin, but Keizer had its fair share of events, including a Saturday night concert at Keizer Rapids Park. A parade with hundreds of bikes on a Sunday morning provided an impressive visual.
• Extreme Makeover: Salem-Keizer Edition:When producers for the popular ABC TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” said they had big plans for us, they weren’t kidding.
Just across Keizer’s southern border is the Oregon School for the Deaf. The show’s staff lassoed Keizer’s own Rich Duncan Construction to lead their ambitious project: Build a deaf-friendly, top-notch dormitory for the school’s boys, and make their annual haunted house fundraiser one for the ages.
Noted horror director and rock star Rob Zombie put his touch on the Nighmare Factory, bringing Hollywood special effects. Plenty of folks from all over had a hand in making Extreme Makeover’s visit to Salem one that won’t soon be forgotten.
• Cell phone fee: After months of preparation, the Keizer City Council went forward with a 3 percent registration fee for telecom companies in Keizer, primarily targeting cell phone users.
The stated reason was rising costs of 911 service, along with static franchise fees from landline providers.
The council passed the fee 6-1. It appears opponents were equally prepared, as a petition drive to fight it started immediately.
• Councilor Walsh vs. Fluoride: Walsh’s skepticism toward fluoridating Keizer’s water drew fierce opinions on both sides of the issue.
The councilor cited budgetary concerns about the practice. Both opponents and proponents packed council chambers before there was even a solid proposal on the table.
In the end, Walsh proposed a more moderate stance: Don’t spend any more money to upgrade the fluoridation system. That, too, went down amid a sea of pleas from local dentists to keep fluoride in the water.
• Death at Wheatland & Brooklake roads spurs traffic improvements: The intersection north of Keizer has seen more than its fair share of tragedy.
Four deaths in the past 10 years are attributed to crashes there, at least two directly from cars careening into a ravine on the intersection’s west side.
Following the death of Jeff Weathers in September, county officials added rumble strips and signage at the intersection in hopes of alerting drivers to the perilous possibilities.
• Thomas Dove Keizur returns: We don’t have the historic downtown that many Oregon communities have, but we have history.
Keizur was one of the valley’s first settlers, staking his claim right here along the Willamette River. As part of the city’s civic center project they commissioned a statue of our community’s namesake from sculptor Gareth Curtiss. It arrived to much fanfare as the city invited Keizur’s descendants to see its debut.
Now in front of the Keizer Civic Center, the statue will hopefully become a conversation-starter for generations to come.
• “A Season of Love” transfixes a town: We’ve always known what McNary High kids are capable of, and Salem-Keizer Schools are renowned for their music programs.
Now we have the CD to prove it. The choir released its very first CD as a fundraiser, and it became a popular stocking stuffer during the holiday season.