Reimbursement to a River Road business corridor improvement fund is a priority of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce.
Its board of directors approved a resolution which encourages the city of Keizer to repay the fund city councilors propose emptying to cover its bond debt at Keizer Station.
Should the city council ultimately choose to use $1 million in RRR-earmarked funds for said debt, it wouldn’t be the first time such funds were used outside the originally intended purpose. A few years back, councilors voted to spend $3.38 million of River Road improvement funds to build the Keizer Civic Center.
But some city leaders counter that there are no unfunded projects proposed for the money city councilors set aside years ago for the project, and say the business community hasn’t maximized the opportunities presented.
“A major component of the River Road Renaissance plan was marketing and non-construction efforts where River Road businesses and the chamber get involved with how to market, package, brand the Keizer business community,” said Councilor Cathy Clark. “I have yet to see any substantial efforts in that regard.”
Some with the chamber, including James Hauge, chair of its Economic Development and Government Affairs committee, said the city’s passive approach to projects – businesses were expected to come forward with proposals – wasn’t enough.
“I’m on the urban renewal board and I know there’s not been a direct approach,” Hauge said. “… With further efforts to get them to be a part of that program and outlining those grants to them, I think you wouldn’t find a single property owner who wouldn’t be on board.”
And given that many business operators don’t own their building, it makes outreach more complicated, Clark said.
“Businesses need to talk to their property owners and say, this is what I see happening,” Clark said.
Matt Williams, also an EDGA member, said the projects have not only increased property values, but have boosted what landlords can charge for a lease.
“We can’t abandon that completely,” Williams said at a city council meeting last month. “All I simply ask is that this council make prompt reimbursement of the River Road Renaissance funds the top priority and also identifies how that will happen moving forward.”
At that same meeting, Clark noted the difficulty of making everyone happy – at this point, the council is proposing full repayment to other taxing jurisdictions who would be giving up revenue.
“We can’t go to them and say we’re going to do as much as we can to make sure we return as many dollars as possible without saying we’re doing as much as we can as well,” Clark said.
McNary High School’s girls varsity basketball team didn’t reclaim its winning ways last week.
The Lady Celts chalked up losses to West Linn and Beaverton high schools, 56-51 and 73-38, respectively.
Of the two games, players and coach all thought West Linn represented the better Celtic basketball.
“We played a pretty good game, but they were hitting their threes, especially the unexpected ones,” said McNary’s Deven Hunter.
“We played great and we played together as a whole, but there was an emotional letdown going into overtime,” added Molly Gehley, McNary head coach.
The Lions hit a three-pointer in the final seconds to knot the game 47-47. Once the team got back to the bench, Celt Averi Wing could see the writing on the wall.
“It was like we were already beat. You could tell just by people’s attitudes. We need to focus on coming together and looking at the positives,” Wing said.
West Linn outscored McNary 9-4 in overtime for the win.
Hunter led the team with 20 points, Stacey Titchenal put up 10, Baili Keeton added nine, Teresa Peterson had six, Jessica Darras put in four, and Wing had two.
To recapture some of the unity the Celts experienced early on, the team is planning more team bonding events, Peterson said. However, it’s likely nothing would have prepared them for the onslaught Beaverton brought to McNary’s court Friday, Jan. 6.
The Beavers poured in 22 points in the first period and bottled up McNary’s offense preventing more than 11 Celtic points in any quarter.
“Beaverton is really, really good,” Wing said. “But we stayed strong through the frustration and we still played as a team.”
Hunter had 18 points in the game, Wing added seven, Darras put in five, Peterson had four, and Titchenal hit one from the foul line.
In their first game of league play, the Celts faced a reloaded West Salem High School team. The Titans were the only team to defeat the Celts in league last year, but McNary finally beat them in the seeding tournament at the end of the season.
Gehley hoped the tough teams McNary faced in the preseason had prepared them for the tougher Central Valley Conference opponents.
“I just hope that we come out and we’re mentally and physically tough,” Gehley said.
Peterson said it was a matter of fixing small things.
“We’re working on shooting and breaking the press, those have been our issues lately. Once we get those things fixed, we’ll be good,” she said.