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Mayor: No chance for growth ‘unacceptable’

Reporter’s Notebook is a new feature in the Keizertimes. Here our writers and editors will offer a glimpse behind the headlines to stories and issues bubbling just below the surface.

It’s too bad more people didn’t show up to an open-mic town hall with Keizer’s mayor and most city councilors last week. They were entertaining all manner of questions and giving candid answers. Here’s the highlights:

• Mayor Lore Christopher  said “no change” in the urban growth boundary situation is “untenable – no jobs, no chance to bring any industry to our city. That’s unacceptable.”

Keizer has little room to expand within the urban growth boundary it shares with Salem, and state land use laws require a UGB to have 20 years worth of land to expand into for housing and commercial uses. Since the two cities share a boundary, it’s a distinct possibility any land Keizer might want to annex at some point would come at Salem’s expense.

“I can’t imagine Salem saying, ‘We’ll go ahead and and give up 200 acres,” Christopher said.

Either Salem “joins us as partners… (or) we divorce them. We as a council have said we want local jobs for local folks.”

• The mayor also suggested a “zip-in” to protest Keizer’s shared zip code with north Salem.

That is, replacing the zip code with 97307 (that’s the one affixed to Keizer’s post office, and one you can get with a post office box) on mail.

It stemmed from an attendee thought his car insurance rates were higher because of the lump-in, but Councilor Joe Egli – who sells insurance for a living – said it’s usually based on your county.

“The post office has all the power and they have no interest in spinning it off,” Christopher added. She suggested those wanting Keizer’s own zip code should petition the U.S. Post Office.

But Councilor Jim Taylor urged caution saying, “You don’t want them to go postal on us.”

– Jason Cox

Good Vibrations fest seeking volunteers

Local organizers for a motorcycle festival coming to Keizer in July are seeking volunteers to help with a variety of tasks.

If you or your group is interested contact Clif Fodge at Salem Harley Davidson at 503-363-0634.

– Jason Cox