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Future of cows uncertain

Cows graze on property at Herber Farms at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane on Monday. The future of the cows is uncertain. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Cows graze on property at Herber Farms at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane on Monday. The future of the cows is uncertain. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The surprise decision last week by the Keizer City Council to reject plans for new apartments at the “cow pasture” along Verda Lane seemed to, on the surface, be a good thing for the cows.

Still to be determined: what will happen to the 20 or so cows that graze on the grass and when that will happen.

“I want to stress the property is going to change,” Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, said during the Sept. 2 meeting. “It is private property under private ownership. It was be developed and the cows will eventually go away.”

Brown acknowledged this week if nothing is done with the land, the cows could stay. The odds would seem to be against that, since members of the Herber Farm LLC met with Multi-Tech Engineering’s Mark Grenz and asked Grenz what the best use of the land would be. Grenz, in turn, submitted a plan for approximately 120 apartments into the city.

Grenz, who took issue with how he was characterized at last week’s meeting and emphasized he is simply the applicant and not the developer, noted the Herbers haven’t decided what to do yet.

If councilors indeed approve a formal ordinance rejecting the submitted proposal, one option for the family would be to appeal to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), while another option could be selling the land as is. City councilor Dennis Koho said during last week’s meeting he would be willing to lead an effort to have the city purchase the land.