County backs urban renewal extension

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Marion County and Keizer Fire District have agreed to back the city of Keizer’s proposal to extend the urban renewal district.

City officials have been meeting with entities like Keizer Fire District, Marion County and Salem-Keizer Schools to round up support for the extension. The plan from city staff calls for repaying the taxing entities which would be giving up revenue as a result of the urban renewal district’s continued existence.

The county’s support was important; however, the most critical vote is up to the Salem-Keizer School Board. Districts representing 75 percent of total tax revenue must concur; a no vote from SKSB would kill the deal.

The Keizer Fire board decision to concur with the city comes a couple of months after the same board voted not to support the plan.

The vote at the county level was 2-1, with Commissioner Patti Milne in opposition.

“This is a precedent that could really put us between a rock and a hard place with other cities,” Milne said.

The city is in the position due to its bond obligations backing Keizer Station. The City of Keizer is responsible for any debt developers or property owners are unable to pay. Chuck Sides, a Keizer Station co-developer, owns or controls five parcels and is behind more than $800,000 in payments.

- Jason Cox


Keizer Fire prevails in legal disputes, so far

A series of court rulings and other decisions in favor of the City of Keizer and Keizer Fire District mean the Clear Lake annexation will go forward to voters.

Whether the election will be valid or not is still in the hands of a judge and the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals.

Without getting into legal minutia, here’s a recap of where the issues stand right now.

Still pending:

• Marion County Fire District No. 1 filed a lawsuit in August asking the court to rule the decision to withdraw Clear Lake from MCFD invalid. The city of Keizer and Keizer Fire District have filed a motion to dismiss with Judge Vance Day.

• The Land Use Board of Appeals will not rule on the question asked of it – whether the annexation of Clear Lake into Keizer Fire, pending a vote of the people – until the circuit court makes its ruling.

Meanwhile, several other cases have gone in the city and KFD’s favor, meaning the election is all but certain to go forth on March 8. Those are:

• A ballot title challenge went in favor of the city and KFD before Judge Dennis Graves.

• A restraining order against the city to stop the election was denied by Judge Dale Penn.

• Two other LUBA appeals were dismissed voluntarily by MCFD.

• A public records denial appeal by MCFD towards KFD was turned down by Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau.

- Jason Cox

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