Keizertimes. (Salem, Or.) 1979-current, April 21, 2017, Page PAGE A9, Image 9

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While the city’s street fund
is one of the more solvent
funds in the city’s budget,
Lawyer said previous commit-
ments have a priority in the
immediate future. This sum-
mer, the city is replacing the
bridge on Dearborn Avenue
Northeast. After that, the city
is on the hook for a portion
of the funding to install a new
traffi c signal at the transit cen-
ter in Keizer station.
“Realistically, the soonest
we can get to it would be dur-
ing the 2018-19 fi scal year,”
Lawyer said.
He’s hoping to have a
clearer picture in the next
six months as the plans at the
transit center are fl eshed out.
In the interim, Mangan
has asked the Salem-Keizer
School District to help allevi-
ate the situation. Mangan said
the school district plans to
have a gravel path installed in-
side the fence around the fi eld
to the north of the school.
She hopes it will keep stu-
dents within the fence and not
walking around cars that park
outside of it.
“At least with that, students
can be safe until they reach
Evans (Street North),” Man-
gan said.
Cummings has about 440
students and only 50 take a bus
to and from school. Mangan
said she encourages families
that live within a mile of the
campus to walk, but there are
a signifi cant number that are
brought to and from school in
personal cars. If parents drive
their students, the school en-
courages them to pick-up and
drop-off behind the school
building, but compliance is
not mandatory.
Acknowledging that the
project has been long-con-
sidered at the city level, Kathy
Lincoln, a member of the traf-
fi c safety committee, said the
involvement of the school dis-
trict could be benefi cial.
“If we can get some coop-
eration and investment from
the school district, it might
help the process along,” Lin-
coln said.
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Whalen said that even if the
recommendation moved for-
ward, fi re district concerns
would still be aired and ad-
dressed during the permitting
Keizer Fire Chief Jeff
Cowan said he tried to line
up a meeting between Safe-
way reps and the Keizer
Fire Board, but the plans fell
“Once we open the door,
it seems like Pandora’s box.
We want to collaborate, but
without the additional infor-
mation, we can’t support it,”
Cowan said.
Cowan took issue with the
traffi c study associated with
Safeway’s proposal in particu-
“It’s silent to the fact that
the fi re district is across the
street. It doesn’t address emer-
gency response with regard to
increased traffi c and stacking
at the entrance,” he said.
Sangster said the planning
commission’s role at that
point was to move the rec-
ommendation forward or let
it die.
“If it moves ahead, the
city engineers will look at it
and determine what will and
won’t work,” Sangster said.
Commissioner Jerry Crane
seemed to settle the issue by
comparing the discussion to
a dance.
“We are not the danc-
ers, we are just allowing the
dance to start. It would be in
Safeway’s best interest to fi nd
a way to accommodate the
fi re district. We’re not mak-
ing a decision on design or
determining whether it will
happen,” Crane said.
Conversations about the
convenience store were set-
tled more quickly.
Most of the commission-
ers sided with the city staff
against allowing the conve-
nience store even though
Safeway reps said it was an
integral piece of the plan at a
meeting in March.
“(Associated) sales don’t
do much for us overall, but if
we don’t offer it, we lose the
fuel sale,” said Chris Miles, a
construction project manager
for Albertsons, the compa-
ny that acquired Safeway in
“We are not
the dancers,
we are just
allowing the
dance to start.”
— Jerry Crane
Planning Commissioner
In the end, the recom-
mendation was approved
with a 4-2 vote. Commis-
sioners Jim Jacks and Michael
DeBlasi were the dissenters.
Jacks would have preferred
to continue the public hear-
ing to allow the fi re district
to gather more information.
DeBlasi was more concerned
about what the change meant
for the future development,
“I appreciate what staff
has done trying to mitigate
the effects, but good design
doesn’t mitigate the prob-
lems. It’s like going into a
gator pond, walking slowly
or fast doesn’t make a differ-
ence,” DeBlasi said. “By al-
lowing this use, we are lock-
ing it in for decades. It’s not
like there are no gas stations
in Keizer.”
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Students cross Cummings Lane North after school. Cummings principal implored members of
the Keizer Traffi c Safety Committee to prioritize pedestrian upgrades around the school.
Schneider also runs a youth volleyball program
on the courts during the summer.
“When we ran our sand volleyball program
last summer, we needed a place for the kids to
place their things or cool down or if we get
some rain,” Schneider said.
While the parks board approved the grant re-
quest, it was not without dissent.
“The current state of Keizer parks is not
great, I would be more inclined to support cur-
rent projects than new ones because of the status
quo budget,” said Matt Lawyer, a member of the
parks board.
Lawyer cited the results of the recent parks
survey as one reason for his eventual “no” vote.
The survey results showed residents heavily fa-
vored maintaining and upgrading existing facili-
ties and services over building new ones.
Even as Lawyer took a stand against approv-
ing the grant, he apologized to Schneider for
doing so.
“We know we can trust you, but at some
point the city would have to be responsible for
the maintenance of the picnic structure,” said
Donna Bradley, parks board member. “I think it’s
important that we look at that even though you
are an exemplary volunteer.”
Keizer Parks Supervisor Robert Johnson did
not voice an opinion on the project, but said that
a concrete and steel structure, like the one pro-
posed, is one of the easiest amenities to maintain.
“It basically lasts forever and it’s hard to van-
dalize. Even if Hans did go away, we wouldn’t be
putting in hundreds of additional hours,” John-
son said.
Schneider said he and his family would pledge
to take care of the structure for however long the
city requested the service.
The board also discussed offsetting some of
the money requested in the grant with system
development charges, but Schneider already
hoped to pursue those funds separately. System
development charges are levied against new resi-
dential construction to pay for improvements in
parks, but can only pay for 13.6 percent of any
new project.
The two most vocal supporters of the proj-
ect were board members Dylan Juran and Clint
“Our budget and the city says that if we don’t
spend this (matching grant) money we lose it.
And we have a project that Hans is saying he
will give us almost three times the value of the
matching funds. It’s not spending it to spend it,
it’s getting a return on investment,” Juran said.
Holland called to mind recent discussions
about improving a large fi eld at Keizer Rapids
park this summer. Despite having donated ma-
terials and labor lined up, the board nixed the
project because it would have resulted in sub-
stantial time and resources to maintain once it
was complete.
“When we turn things down when someone
who is helping out, I can’t even comprehend it.
If we don’t have the staff, go get some volunteers
to do it,” Holland said. “I would hate to see him
not come back to here. Take the $8,300 total out
of the grant fund for this because we are going
to get a lot in return,” Holland said.
Lawyer, Bradley and Cat Gaynor voted against
the grant approval.
Schneider hopes to have the pad for the
shelter poured in early June and the installation
completed by the end of June.
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