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Day: November 21, 2012

Task force looks at future land use

KEIZERTIMES/File Photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

If plans for a hospital arrived at city hall, would Keizer have the policy to move forward?

And is there the room for such a project?

Those questions and more were discussed recently during the third Economic Opportunities Analysis task force meeting at Keizer Civic Center. The next meeting is Jan. 10.

Jerry Johnson, principal at Johnson Reid, said medical facilities and sporting events are two key industries moving into the future for Keizer.

“Medical facilities and sporting events jumped out,” Johnson said. “Those are the two we’re focusing specific attention to at this time, to see if there’s something in the inventory to meet those needs.”

Johnson cautioned against focusing on trying to attract warehouse businesses. He feels available land would be better suited for a medical facility.

“If you want to see medical, you have a more defensible piece,” Johnson told a group including city staff, mayor Lore Christopher and city councilors. “Our recommendation is to take the baseline analysis and modify it for medical.”

There was plenty of discussion about the accuracy of long-range projections.

Christopher feels recent job growth in Keizer will continue.

“We can feel reasonably sure we will add a significant job piece with what’s going to be happening,” she said. “Just imagine if we had the land.”

City councilor David McKane noted how much land a hospital would take.

“It will fill up the land we have,” McKane said.

Johnson acknowledged that.

“We will hit the wall,” Johnson said. “You will have to take action to accommodate it.”

Christopher pointed to employment growth in Keizer the last 10 years at 4.9 percent, largely due to Keizer Station.

Nate Brown, Community Development director for Keizer, cautioned what is involved.

“The numbers for Keizer go up and above the baseline,” Brown said. “The number carries with it a price tag. We might want lots of stuff, but it comes with the responsibility to serve it and the infrastructure.”

Christopher was among those wondering just how accurate the baseline numbers are.

“We’re not filled out in Section A (of Keizer Station),” Christopher said. “There’s more to come. I expect to see more things happen in A…I don’t think the baseline is accurate. What we’re looking for is accuracy.”

Johnson pointed out things could change quickly if an organization like Legacy Health Systems showed interest.

“If Legacy comes in and says we’re doing a regional hospital, that’s a game changer,” Johnson said. “Section A was a big whale in the retail sector…If you don’t have the land and Legacy wants to come in, you’ve lost that whale.”

Keizer man provides leadership for angler/conservation org.

Jim Zalenka with a recent catch. (Submitted)

By G.I. Wilson
For the Keizertimes

To refer to Jim Zelenka as just another volunteer, is like calling Superstorm Sandy just another weather disturbance.

Zelenka is currently serving his third term as president of the Capitol Chapter of the Northwest Steelheaders Association. Prior to becoming president, he served on the board of directors, as vice-president and treasurer. In 2011, he served on the association board–in Portland–as membership director. In August, he became secretary for the association.

As president of the Capitol Chapter, he has three major goals:

General education: On fishing opportunities, how to fish and issues involved in fishing, including more fishing opportunities.

Social events: Involving steelheaders and families. A picnic is planned each summer. A Christmas potluck for families has become popular. The chapter has become one of the sponsors for an annual Steelheaders summer rendezvous for all chapters at Foster Reservoir.

Project: To improve fishing opportunities. The chapter has adopted Minto County Park on the North Santiam River. There is an annual spring clean-up and enhancement of trails. New benches have been constructed. New picnic tables will be installed in the spring. Another clean-up takes place at North Santiam State Park, site of the club’s summer picnic.

A new project for the association this year was the River Ambassador Program.

Steelheaders provided a three-day fishing retreat for the Wounded Warriors program. Wounded warriors from Ft. Lewis/McCord were brought to a ranch in Central Oregon for three days of fishing experiences.

A long-term project is working with the city of Salem and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to mitigate mortality of steelhead and salmon smolts coming over Upper Bennett Dam on the North Santiam.

The Capitol Chapter engineered plans for a new disabled platform at popular Cascade Park on Walter Wirth Lake in Salem.

All of these projects could not take place without the various fund raisers held by local chapters. Great prizes are offered through raffles and other fund raisers.

Providing leadership for a wide range of volunteers is most certainly a challenge. A challenge that Jim Zelenka has embraced, and is obviously good at.

The Capitol Chapter Steelheaders meets the third Thursday of the month (except July and August) at Keizer Community Center, 7 p.m..  They have excellent programs and visitors are welcome. For more information call: 503-580-0688.