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Day: April 7, 2011

Council may let big box open before mixed use complete


Of the Keizertimes

A requirement that both a large discount grocer and two mixed use buildings in Area C must be ready to occupy simultaneously may be nixed by the Keizer City Council.

The stated goal of what has become known as a concurrency requirement is to ensure both two mixed use towers – slated to be used for retail, medical and office uses – actually get built along with the large format store, which is likely to be Walmart. Councilors felt a four-year window originally proposed by city staff was too lenient.

Now councilors have voted to loosen the same requirement they voted for less than a month ago.

At the Monday, April 4 Keizer City Council meeting the council unanimously chose to require the buildings be under construction at the same time – and that the developers must show “irrevocable” funding for the mixed use buildings.

“That means they have to have their permits, they have to be out of the ground,” said Community Development Director Nate Brown.

“We’re glad they did that,” said Alan Roodhouse, one of the Area C co-developers. “We explained to city staff (the previous requirement) didn’t work because we would not have been able to go forward with the project.”

The Keizer City Council has asked city staff to prepare an order approving the big box plan, but has yet to formally approve it. The concurrency requirement would be part of that order.

Councilor David McKane raised the issues, saying what the council decided on last month “was a little rigid… I want to make sure the mixed retail is built.”

“I don’t want people thinking this is an end-run,” said Councilor Jim Taylor. “The gist of what we’re trying to do, this still accomplishes.”

“Our intent is to comply with the condition,” Roodhouse said. “The devil is in the details of how you define concurrent.”

In other business:

• The council voted unanimously to apply for a boat ramp grant from the Oregon Marine Board.

The theoretical single-lane boat ramp at Keizer Rapids Park is expected to cost about $1 million, and Brown said previously-obtained permits to build said ramp expire in 2012.

What’s the catch? The city would have to come up with a $250,000 match, which could come from parks system development charges.

Richard Walsh, a former city councilor who strongly advocated for the park’s inception,  said the boat ramp was fundamental to getting state grants.

“In order for us to get the millions in grants we had to represent the boat ramp to make the regional significance of this very clear to our neighbors,” Walsh testified.

The council authorized Eppley to apply for the grant, but Councilor Mark Caillier – a retired Salem Police officer – said a boat ramp would likely put an additional burden on police, who already say they’re short-staffed, and would cause noise complaints.

“It’s not just 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. either, It’s 4 in the morning and 10 o clock at night,” Caillier said. He added that shallow waters just north of the proposed boat ramp site would prevent propeller-powered boats from going further north, creating a pool of boats on the Willamette River in Keizer.

Councilor Jim Taylor countered that the Boat Ramp Task Force considered these issues and recommended a small number of parking spaces at the ramp along with reducing the proposed ramp from two lanes to one.

• They’re moving money around at Keizer City Hall, but staff said it’s a result of a good thing.

About $60,900 in more-than-budgeted revenues from the Keizer Civic Center will be applied towards repaying the city’s Transportation fund along with paying additional costs for on-site personnel. To be precise $40,900 will go towards repaying the transportation fund while $10,000 will be put towards personnel services.

Cops, fire nip Nixle

Keizer’s police and fire agencies will no longer be using Nixle, a notification service that sends messages to subscribers about crime and other community advisories.

Service ends April 29. Keizer Police Sgt. Lance Inman said the company wanted $1,500 per year to keep using it. Prior to that it had been free of charge, Inman said.

“It was marketed as a free service when they invited us to join,” Inman said.

Likewise, Keizer Fire Chief Jeff Cowan said they’re dropping Nixle, and won’t budget for the cost in the coming budget cycle.

A release from Keizer Police indicates budgetary reasons along with recent survey results spurred the decision to stop using Nixle. The department indicated it may soon offer another, “cost-effective” community notification system.

Having a ball! (and the kids had fun too)

Elijah Letney with Snowball and Twilight, Camille Young with Big Cheeks, Rian Berriman with Ham and Sumo, and Logan Berriman with Ashley. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

The Hamster Ball Derby at Petco’s Keizer Station location brought out  plenty of folks’ four-legged friends. While the majority of racers were brought by kids, adults got in the fun too. See more photos at the Keizertimes photo gallery.

Olys rout Celts 8-0 in first CVC battle

Jill Jungwirth returns a volley during the Sprague match Thursday, March 31. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

If there was one lesson Celt Delaney Engle wants to remember from her defeat on the tennis court to Nicola Young of Sprague High School it’s this: stop being so nice.

“She’s really good at just picking a spot to put the ball and I had to sprint constantly to get the ball. On the other hand, I have a tendency to hit the ball right to he person and that’s too nice, apparently,” Engle said.

Young lost the match in straight sets of 6-1 and 6-1, but the Olympians swept the McNary High School Celtics 8-0 across the board.

Despite the loss, Mark Kohley, Celtic head coach, said there were aspects of the game that should give Engle reason to take heart.

“Delaney was playing really good points against her and she should feel really good about hitting some really good shots against one of the top players in the league,” Kohley said.

Other teams fared slightly better in the final scores, but Kohley said Sprague’s domination was, in part, a credit to the general strength of the school’s tennis program.

“They give us a chance to see how a college team plays,” he said.

Match scores didn’t range far from Engle’s battle in the No. 1 singles slot. Katrina Cabanlit lost in sets of 6-0 and 6-1; Robyn King lost in sets of 6-0 and 6-2; Megan Thompson lost in a pair of 6-0 sets; doubles Allie and Jenny Labrousse lost in 6-1 and 6-0; Brianna Griffin and Allison McGregor lost in 6-3 and 6-2.

McNary’s No. 3 and No. 4 doubles teams fared better than Kohley expected against the Olys, Jill Jungwirth and Kate Janssen fell 6-4 in their first set, but ran out the second one to 7-5. Mikyla Olsen and Megan Griffiths fell to Sprague in 6-1 and 6-3 sets.

Wet weather limited the team to a single preseason game before the Sprague match and likely contributed to the loss, but Kohley managed to locate a silver lining.

“We showed a lot of promise and we had a number of people play better tennis than I expected, but we’re still having to work on being more competitive,” he said.

Even if the points turn lopsided, there are still learning opportunities if the girls are playing for each and every point, he added.

McGregor said the Olympians helped them pinpoint their weaknesses, which will help them direct their energy better during practice.

“They just kept hitting the ball right where we weren’t,” McGregor said. “We haven’t had very much match experience at this point and having more matches is going to help us clean up the game.”

The girls host McKay High School Tuesday, April 12. Matches begin at 3:30 p.m.