To the Editor:
Because of the loss of Roth’s Fresh Market in Keizer, some misguided folks are criticizing the city council for abandoning River Road.
River Road through Keizer is a highway and a strip mall and that is what it will always be. It is a hard fact but true. If Keizer were ever to have a downtown, I believe the city should rezone the area around city hall for commercial and let nature take its course. Hopefully a city center or a downtown would develop. I would like to hear specifics on what the city council could do to improve business on River Road. The city council created the River Road Renaissance Committee, comprised of business owners, to help promote commerce. I don’t believe they accomplished much. Putting in curved sidewalks, placing a few pieces of art, helping to reface a few buildings and hanging a few banners did not help business all that much in my opinion.
Losing Roth’s as a business will create a large hole in Schoolhouse Square and it is unfortunate. Some folks will lament because they will miss the great service but not enough people shopped there. In spite of losing money in the Keizer store, Roth’s has been a great supporter of many social programs in our community. Competition from Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyers caused the Keizer store to be unprofitable long before the mention of Walmart. Company CEO Michael Roth has stated they already lost money in Keizer.
A major question is “Was the development of Keizer Station good or bad for Keizer?” I believe the answer is it was good because it will generate needed property taxes to support city needs in addition to creating jobs. It gives Keizerites many more options for shopping. I don’t think it was planned properly but that is the developer’s problem. I personally did not want to see Walmart go into Area C but that is no reason for some to criticize the entire urban renewal project. After all, the city did get a new city hall complex that will be utilized well into the future.
Change in government is sometimes good but not always. Many times candidates promise something they cannot achieve and other times they accomplish the wrong thing. Selecting the right people to represent the entire community is sometimes difficult. One has to be watchful of special interest candidates and groups. Carefully analyze motives.