WKNA leader gives her site preference for The Big Toy

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0314-COM-Big-Toy-Rendering

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Her group hasn’t had a chance to do a survey, but Rhonda Rich knows her personal preference for the play structure siting.

Rich, president of the West Keizer Neighborhood Association (WKNA), had planned to have members fill out a survey about The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park play structure at last month’s WKNA meeting. In particular Rich wanted to know where members wanted to see the play structure go. Siting became an issue recently when Mayor Lore Christopher began lobbying for a space in the orchards on Chemawa Road, as opposed to the “Site 1” location between the amphitheater and the boat ramp.

However, there were several presentations made during the meeting. As a result, there wasn’t a chance to go over the survey. She expects the survey to be part of this month’s meeting, set for March 13 at 7 p.m. at Keizer Civic Center.

Rich has spoken at recent council meetings regarding her preference for the play structure’s siting and has stayed consistent.

“I think the location by the river (Site 1) is a more visible location where people are,” Rich said. “I just think it’s a better place than right along the road. Some of the other issues with the orchard site are the spraying and the dirt. I think it’s a better location by the amphitheater. With the future educational center (at the Charge house), that could tie things together.”

A key issue with the mayor’s preferred site is the orchards are in city limits, but are not part of the Urban Growth Boundary, something that would have to be rectified before a play structure could be built there.

“I can see where there is a big push to expand the UGB,” Rich said. “We don’t have any problem with the UGB expansion. But I don’t think that should be a driving force for siting the play structure.”

In other recent WKNA business:

• Eric Bandonis, the Keizer-area parole and probation officer for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, gave a presentation on behalf of the Keizer Police Department. Among other things, Bandonis emphasized the need for citizens to lock their cars and houses.

“Although Keizer is a safe community, we still need to take such precautions to keep down the crime level,” Bandonis said.

• Linda Baker gave a presentation about the Keizer Homegrown Theater (KHT), which is staging three productions this year.

The next play, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, will be performed March 20-22 and 27-29 at the Keizer Civic Center. All performances begin at 7 p.m.

Baker also noted a desire to attract more interest from Keizer residents, since most of the current KHT actors are from Salem.

• Several members of Keizer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) gave a presentation of the organization that has been helping neighbors in emergencies around Keizer since October 2002.

Jerry Wade noted Keizer is divided into 19 CERT zones, with a CERT leader for each zone. Wade said CERT members went door-to-door during last month’s winter storm, contacting and helping the elderly as needed.

Paul Pfinister, CERT president, said the organization acts as a backup resource for emergency services such as police and fire.

• Speaking of both fire services and last month’s storm, Keizer fire chief Jeff Cowan noted the Keizer Fire District responded to 63 calls in 93 hours during the storm, about twice the normal rate of calls.

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