A 20-year-old Salem man who drove away from two police officers Tuesday was arrested after hitting a fence at Keizer Little League Park, where games were taking place.
The incident started around 5 p.m. May 10 when officer Jeremie Fletcher with the Keizer Police Department saw a 1992 Honda Civic hatchback with no plates or temporary registration going east on Lockhaven Drive NE, driven by a man later identified as Colton Shane McElroy.
Fletcher attempted to stop the Honda near the intersection of Lockhaven and McLeod Lane NE for the traffic violations, but McElroy eluded him by turning southbound onto Chemawa Road NE at high speed. Fletcher terminated the pursuit but continued to travel in the same direction.
Moments later, officer Eric Jefferson was near Chemawa and Brian Court NE when he saw the Honda go by him at high speed. Jefferson then saw the car travel off the road and go through a field near the intersection of Chemawa and Verda Lane NE. Jefferson saw McElroy driving east on Keizer Road NE toward KLL Park. Both Jefferson and Fletcher drove in that direction, without their emergency lights on.
As the officers reached KLL Park, a citizen told them the Honda had gone past the fields northbound on Ridge Drive NE. Officers went in that direction and spotted the Honda parked adjacent to a dwelling just north of the park. When McElroy saw the cops, he drove through the parking lot of Keizer Church of Christ and down a steep embankment towards fields where players were warming up for a game.
McElroy continued driving west on a gravel access road bordering the fields where a number of other players and family members were. He continued until crashing his Honda into a chain link fence bordering the west side of the park. McElroy then fled on foot.
Additional officers from the Salem Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to set up a perimeter. Two K-9 teams, one each from KPD and MCSO, also responded.
After about 90 minutes of searching, KPD officer Scott Keniston and his K-9 partner Bruno located McElroy hiding in a chicken coop behind a residence on the 1900 block of Chemawa Road NE. He was taken into custody without further incident.
McElroy was charged with one count each of felony attempting to elude a police officer, misdemeanor attempting to elude a police officer, reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person. He was taken to the Marion County Correctional Facility.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact officer Fletcher at 503-390-3713 ext. 3467.
If Keizer allows eight dwellings per acre, why should one area have a limitation of six dwellings per acre?
That question came up during Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting.
The proposed revision to the Keizer Development Code, previously approved by the Keizer Planning Commission, deals with a limit on parcels located north of Barnick Road. While other Residential Single zones in the city have a limit of eight dwellings per acre, the area north of Barnick has a limit of six dwellings.
Nate Brown, Community Development director for the city, said there is a simple reason the restriction was put into place.
“When this restriction was created, the northern part of the city lacked both sanitary sewer and public water to adequately accommodate a level of density found in other areas of the city,” Brown said. “With the public improvements that now serve this area, combined with the number of parcels that been have re-divided, this density restriction is no longer appropriate.”
Mayor Cathy Clark noted a key reason for the change.
“We are looking for areas to allow for more housing,” Clark said.
Brown acknowledged that is an “important part” of the reason for the change, since the city is facing a projected housing shortfall for future growth.
“To have an artificial cap in this one area is inconsistent with the long-term goals of both the city and the state,” Brown said.
In response to a question from councilor Roland Herrera, Brown noted things looked different when the cap was put into place many years ago.
“It was a more rural, lesser developed part of town originally,” Brown said. “There was less water and sewer infrastructure in this part of the city, so there was a concern this could overwhelm the fabric of the infrastructure. Again, this goes back decades.”
City Attorney Shannon Johnson also referenced how different things were at the time.
“My recollection, and this is probably 20 years ago, this area of Clear Lake was totally undeveloped,” Johnson said. “A lot of people out there were on acreage farms and were concerned about development to their rural areas. The reality is that most of the development in the city is closer to six units per acre. I don’t think the change to eight units per acre will make a difference out there, this just makes it more consistent with the rest of the city.”
Brown said the minimum lot size by city code is 5,000 square feet.
“The reality is, with the current development practice, once you add in the road you’re only seeing six units per acre currently,” he said. “Cottage clusters could be more dense. This doesn’t get us much difference than what we currently have.”
Councilors unanimously approved the change on a 6-0 vote, with Dennis Koho absent.