Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: March 3, 2015

KPIC’s flood of information

480x270-Welcome-to-Keizer-sign

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Soon, members of the Keizer Points of Interest Committee should be able to tell you all about historic floods in Keizer.

KPIC members have been working on a kiosk for Keizer Rapids Park detailing some of the biggest floods of the Willamette River in the Keizer area. Discussion continued at the Feb. 17 meeting for the group.

Bev Ecklund will be compiling details of the 1996 floods, when waters reached 35 feet, 1 inch.

Too easy or too recent? Kris Adams will be gathering details of the 1964 floods, when waters reached 37 feet.

Sherrie Gottfried and Charlotte Clark will work together to get information about the 1943 floods, when waters peaked at 38 feet, 6 inches.

Going further back, Erica Hedberg will be looking up the 1890 floods, when the river hit 45 feet, 3 inches.

Jill Bonney-Hill, chair of KPIC, is looking up the oldest and highest flood: the 1861 floods that hit 47 feet.

Debbie Lockhart, the Keizer deputy city recorder who takes minutes at KPIC meetings, said a kiosk like the Marie Dorion one at the Pfc. Ryan J. Hill Memorial Park is being envisioned.

“Maybe if you get key pictures, quotes and bring it together, then we can all decide,” Lockhart suggested to KPIC members.

Bonney-Hill noted she told Bill Lawyer, Keizer Public Works director, the group is still in the information gathering stage.

“We will be coming to the council in the future for funding,” she said. “I told the council I would be coming back at a later date to discuss the kiosk.”

At this point, there’s no timetable for when that date might be.

“We’ll come back each month with updates,” Bonney-Hill said. “There’s no rush.”

Lockhart noted the Japanese History Sign project wasn’t exactly an overnight job.

“It would be nice to have it by the early fall,” Lockhart said. “Gosh, we worked on the Japanese project for years. If it takes time, that’s okay.”

In other KPIC business:

• Lockhart noted the Japanese History Sign was printed recently by Sign Crafters of Oregon, but parks supervisor Robert Johnson noticed a problem.

“They put it on the wrong paper,” Lockhart said. “Robert told them it wasn’t the right way. They looked at the order and realized it. They are putting in another layer over it which will make it anti-graffiti.”

The fixed sign was installed on Monday.

• Hedberg and her family have been going around to the different geo-caching sites, making sure everything is in the right place.

“One wasn’t there, so I just created a new one,” Hedberg said, referring to the one by the Thomas D. Keizur statue in front of city hall. “I got a new container. The other ones I’ve found have all been dry. I am just making sure they are still there and dry.”

• Hedberg will be in contact with Dr. Wilbur Bluhm soon to do an interview with him for the Oral History Project. Kris Adams is hoping to make progress on an interview she’s trying to do about Terry Staats.

Adams was able to do an interview with Alice Jones.

“I did it just the other day,” Adams said. “She was a hoot and had a lot of information. She came across great. It went well.”

Parks Board talks budget

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The recent spring-like weather is a reminder things are picking up in Keizer’s parks department.

Another reminder about things picking up: it’s budget season at Keizer City Hall, meaning discussions of priorities for parks, as well as other departments.

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, reminded members of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, of the topic during the most recent meeting for the board. Lawyer has been going over the budget with Robert Johnson, Keizer’s Parks and Facilities supervisor.

“Based on the current year budget, it’s a status quo budget (for next year),” Lawyer said. “Robert and I looked through where we are expenditure wise. One top need we identified is a tennis court resurface at Willamette Manor Park, which will cost about $11,000. That was out of capital money, with about $4,200 left. That’s in addition to the matching grant program, which is staying at $14,000. So there would be another $4,200 available for capital improvements. If you go with no new tennis court, you will have about $15,000. We had some other needs this year. The No. 1 priority for next year at this point is the tennis court.”

Johnson said the current cracks – deemed “horrible” by Parks Board member Richard Walsh – would be cleaned out and filled, with the court then resurfaced. Walsh also asked if nets could be installed to make the basketball hoops useable again, to which Johnson replied affirmatively.

“For the board, are there any other improvements or replacements you’d like us to get a cost on for doing next year?” Lawyer asked.

Walsh asked if a sports court at Keizer Rapids Park is still in the plans for the year ahead.

“Undecided,” Lawyer said. “And here’s why: Big Toy. We won’t know for a while what our ultimate financial obligation (as a city) will be. That’s the real challenge right now. We know how much has been raised. If we assume the worst and not another dollar is raised, we know what it will be.”

Walsh would like to see a path from Chemawa Road to the Big Toy in the KRP orchards area, preferably connected to the existing path.

Lawyer noted a problem is the farmer with the orchard land.

“We want to be courteous to him,” Lawyer said. “They need to go over smooth, clean ground. The pathway is unworkable for them. It might have to be a dirt path at first.”

David Louden, chair of the Parks Board, asked what will happen with the remaining money left in the new-for-this-year matching grant program. Currently the fund has about $7,600 left in it.

“Typically it goes back into the general fund pot to redistribute next year,” Lawyer said. “If the board wishes to do something different, it can make a recommendation to the city council. Parks funding is unique. We have additional funding for the lease of the orchard and the cell tower (at Bair Park). By resolution, those revenue streams in excess of 2.5 percent in parks funding go in the general fund.”

For this year, the parks capital improvement fund had $15,000 in addition to $14,000 for the new matching grant program. As a result, Lawyer said funded projects have typically been smaller ones as opposed to large ones.

“For example, take the (proposed) indoor sports facility,” Lawyer said of the project added to the KRP master plan by the Keizer City Council last year. “If you want to build it next year with the parks funds, I will say timeout and there’s no chance to do it. With other projects, let me put the effort into costing things out and I’ll see how much we can get done.”

Councilor Marlene Quinn, liaison to the Parks Board, noted members of the board are assigned two or three parks. Quinn suggested Parks Board members going to their respective parks and coming up with a potential wish list.

“I would need a final list next month,” Lawyer said. “There’s another pot, system development charges. That money can only be used for building improvements and is growth driven.”

Parks Board member Dylan Juran noted he’s heard some grumblings from dog owners using the dog park at KRP that having lights would be nice.

“Parks close at sunset,” Lawyer said. “Our rules say no lights except for little league fields. I would say come to the Parks Board and make the case, then it would go to council. It would take a grassroots effort. My recommendation would be putting limits on the lighting.”

Louden seconded Quinn’s recommendation for Parks Board members to go to their parks and come up with possible projects.

“We need to have recommendations at the next meeting,” Louden emphasized.

Lawyer said any needs at the 18 parks in Keizer could be fair game.

“If you find something you think will be expensive, don’t be afraid to e-mail me so I can come up with cost estimates,” he said.