SINCE 1979 • VOLUME 40, NO. 3 SECTION A OCTOBER 19, 2018 $1.00 A big deal on the internet Keizer convenience store turns social media humor into real world customers By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Keizer Mart’s journey to viral success on social me- dia started with a snorkel, a fi shing pole, a shark costume borrowed from Kay’s World of Wigs, a beer island and a dead fi sh. “I found a Corona palm tree in storage when I took over the store and I had been complaining about the sea of empty space in front of the coolers. I thought it’d be fun- ny to put a desert island in the middle of that sea,” said own- er Ryan Alonzo, who pur- KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald building on the initial idea of an island, Alonzo enlisted a friend, Ronan Baker, and his daughter, Ashley, to help him create spoofs of Castaway, a Katy Perry Superbowl appear- ance and Discovery Channel’s Report details high costs for Keizer growth By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Anyone with an interest in how Keizer grows – and what it will cost in terms of dollars and livability – should mark their calendars for a city council work session slated Monday, Oct. 22. From 6 to 8 p.m., the council and members of the audience will have the op- portunity to discuss with consultants the fi ndings of a report on what the city’s resi- dents want out of growth and what they should expect in terms of costs. The fi nal draft of the report, which is avail- able online at www.keizer. org, presents a daunting pic- ture of what it would take for Keizer to grow and the reper- cussions if it does. Through the study and re- port, city offi cials and staff are wrestling with the challenges presented in a 2013 Housing Needs Analysis adopted by the city. That analysis con- cluded that Keizer would fall short of the land needed to accommodate expected growth for the next 20 years – to the tune of 1,674 resi- dential units or 197 acres. To annex additional land, Keizer would either have to Please see GROW, Page A10 PAGE A4 New b-ball court in the works Ryan Alonzo, the new owner of Keizer Mart on River Road North, is turning a convenience store into a destination spot using social media. chased the business in June. “From there it came to mind that it’d be even funnier to make a prop replica of Wilson from the fi lm Castaway for the island.” By the time he was fi nished KHT on The Quality of Life Shark Week along with some other spur-of-the-moment silliness. The resulting video has been viewed more than 27,000 times on Facebook. “When I was playing back the video clips I thought it was pretty entertaining. Once I started editing and putting in some audio, I felt like I was onto something. But still, at that point I would have been happy if it just made my friends laugh,” Alonzo said. “It’ll be fun to see how high that number goes.” Many businesses struggle to navigate marketing in the social media sphere, before Alonzo took over, Keizer Mart was no different. When he purchased the store, the Keizer Mart Facebook page only had 177 followers and its history shows mostly deal- of-the-day type content. He switched tactics trying to fi nd more humorous ways to pres- ent the Keizer Mart’s wares and the page has quadrupled its number of fans in fi ve months. “I run the store from the perspective of a customer more than that of a business owner. I think convenience stores are usually something you pull over at because you happen to be driving by, but we’ve even had a few people contact us online from al- most an hour away wanting to bring their kids to come see the store. I really want this store to be a destination that’s worth taking a detour for,” he said. That approach is evident in how Keizer Mart stocks its shelves and decorates. In addi- tion to beverages of all types and other convenience store fare, visitors can pick up bon- nets for their cats, miniature hands to put on fi ngers, a pair of overalls for liquor bottles and banana-fl avored Sigmund Freud candies (don’t read too much into it). PAGE A2 Gridders roar back vs. Bend PAGE B1 Please see MART, Page A10 Residents grill local candidates The Keizer Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for Keizer City Council candidates Thursday, Oct. 11. Oregon state Rep. Bill Post was the guest moderator for the evening and all questions came from the audience in attendance. Mayoral candidate Cathy Clark, council position #5 candidates Shawn Lapof and Elizabeth Smith and council position #6 candidate Dan Kohler all took part in the forum. Candidate Mike De Blasi, vying for the same council position as Kohler, was unable to make it to the event and City Councilor Roland Herrera, who is seeking re-election, was taking part in another activity but stopped by for the fi nal 20 minutes. Keizertimes pulled some of the best or most revealing questions from the night to give readers a feel for the candidates. Readers can view video of the entire forum on the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Kickin’ cousins PAGE B1 CATHY CLARK DAN KOHLER SHAWN LAPOF ELIZABETH SMITH MAYORAL CANDIDATE COUNCIL CANDIDATE (POS. 6) COUNCIL CANDIDATE (POS. 5) COUNCIL CANDIDATE (POS. 5) Keizer is designated as a rent-burdened city, what is the cause and what could the city do to help? The school district is doing part of the work in getting high school graduates into living wage jobs without debt, but the other part of the equation is the availability of land. We can inﬁ ll all we want and we still don’t have enough land to put in affordable housing. Maybe what we need to do is ﬁ gure out how to help people get better jobs. There are companies that would like ofﬁ ce space here and we could look at zoning and attracting the spaces for living wage jobs. The availability of a roof and cost of that roof has directly affected my family and friends. The rent burden issue is directly attributed to supply and demand. I would hope to increase supply and reduce the regulations on building itself. We have been seeing it a lot in the last two years because we have seen a massive inﬂ ux of people. We’ve had a massive uptick in values and that is a direct reﬂ ection of people buying homes. It’s going to take talking to residents and developers to have enough housing. Should the Keizer Urban Growth Boundary be expanded? We don’t have 20 seconds of land much less 20 years because of the shared UGB. We are sitting down to ﬁ gure it out through studies being done on the cost of growth. It has to be for housing as well as employment Absolutely, I think it has to be expanded. We can inﬁ ll all we want but it’s not going to solve the real problems. For us to grow we have to expand, but we have to be careful and thoughtful about what we are doing in a way that beneﬁ ts Keizer. It should be expanded. I hope it is something I can have an impact on as a city councilor. There’s always been people who have wanted to expand but we are married to Salem and it’s something that involves people beyond these council seats Just this last summer I had to move our ofﬁ ce because we didn’t have that speciﬁ c level of space – required by by my parent company – in Keizer. I think expanding the UGB is required to stabilize Keizer for future generations. How would you encourage more people to volunteer in our community? Outreach is important, but so is having worthwhile projects. Even if it’s digging up bark chips you have to enjoy the time together for it to keep you coming back. We also need to show appreciation and thank volunteers for the time they give. The more people who volunteer and see how much fun it is, the more people get involved. Some of the projects I have been involved in were joy to do and sitting back and realizing what’s been accomplished can motivate them. You help them see the direct value of doing something vs. not doing it. I saw quickly through volunteering that it has led to my business success. I think that can be easily shown to them. We need to utilize the Chamber of Commerce and neighborhood associations. Form welcoming committees again. A lot of people want to get involved and they don’t know where to start. If you received a $1 million grant to use in any way you wanted for Keizer, what would you do with it? Helping expand our efforts to prepare students for the jobs that are already here or ﬁ nishing off the street lights throughout Keizer for safety. We’ve had to do it neighborhood-by- neighborhood and I would ﬁ nish the whole thing. Revitalizing River Road. I would extend Chemawa Road across the river. I would love to see a grant of that nature go into a housing down payment assistance program. To have that earmarked speciﬁ cally for Keizer would be awesome. It would help people start to get into homes and ﬁ nd some stability.