Author: Jason Cox

Plan could save up to six figures

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes A plan to continue using underground injection control (UIC) systems to treat stormwater will save hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in the future, city officials hope. The City of Keizer entered into a sole-source contract with GSI Water Solutions Inc. to develop a plan that will let the city keep using the UICs in lieu of pricey upgrades. It will cost the city about $40,000 over the next two budget years. “We’re trying to be proactive about keeping our UICs which really are an efficient and safe way to manage storm water,” said Elizabeth Sagmiller, environmental program manager for the city. The UICs are prevalent throughout the city; Keizer has more than 100 of them. They perform similar functions to a storm drain system, with one big exception: Instead of collecting water to drain into creeks and rivers, they inject water into the ground onsite. From above ground they can only be identified by the red medallions placed on them. They’re sometimes referred to as dry wells or injection wells. Water is injected into the soil, then the dirt and various organisms within it clean much of the pollutants. The Meadows and the Vineyards in north Keizer both have large UIC systems for draining stormwater, while smaller systems exist throughout the city. Many were installed by Marion County before the...

Read More

Little League field agreement could boost city funding

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes The City of Keizer may take on additional maintenance at Keizer Little League Park as part of a proposed agreement between the city and two youth sports groups with a serious stake in the facility. Keizer Youth Sports Association and Keizer Little League would jointly operate the park, while City Manager Chris Eppley is proposing a $35,000 budget allocation that will cover the facility’s basics: electricity and other utilities, irrigation, once-a-week mowing and necessities such as portable toilets. Eppley said his proposal wouldn’t cut into funding for existing parks. “That will play out through the budget process (for 2013-14),” Eppley said. “The council is aware of that. I hope they will be supportive of that through the budget process … but the process is public.” In addition, the proposed new funding wouldn’t be used until at least July 1, 2013, when the new budget goes into effect. About $7,000 was allocated in the current budget for the park, which will go towards paying utilities. “We’ll be maintaining the park at a basic level like we do all of the other parks and they will be responsible for the baseball program in that park,” Eppley said. The dual leadership setup emerges as a compromise after an at-times acrimonious split resulting in the newly-named Keizer Youth Sports Association taking over the contract to operate the...

Read More

New florist fulfills lifelong dream

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Something fresh is in the air at Keizer Florist, and it’s not just the mums, the roses and the baby’s breath. Its on-site cafe now opens at 6 a.m. daily serving fresh coffee and lattes to go with fresh-baked cookies and brownies. And its showroom has been refreshed to show more gifts, including a wide variety of gourmet chocolates, to go alongside what was already an impressive selection of fresh-cut flowers. In the middle of it all is Julie Wallace. If you can’t find her, just look for the beaming smile. This is life, full circle. “My parents, in our living room, had French doors opening into a greenhouse. It was heated and watered, so we grew our own flowers,” Wallace said. “I’ve had my fingers in it all my life.” A love for plants would seemingly be part and parcel of the desire to open a floral shop, and the green thumb she picked up as a child has developed with Wallace as an adult. Her home has its own greenhouse and she’s been president of her local garden club. And when she decided to make a real, professional go at the floral dream she enrolled at Portland’s Floral Design Institute, including its entrepreneurship weekend. (Wallace knows her numbers, having a hand in managing the Oregon Department of Transportation’s bond portfolio when...

Read More

Fire strikes apartment in east Keizer

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes  A woman and her baby escaped a fire that officials believe started in a bedroom of a four-plex on Meadowbrook Court NE. Keizer Fire personnel arrived on the call after dispatch at about 2:30 p.m. Friday, October 26 to 4276 Meadowbrook Court NE. The resident, Brittany Johnson, was in the shower with her young child when she heard the fire alarm go off. “I got out and saw smoke coming out of the vents and out of my room, and got out as quick as I could,” she said. Keizer firefighters checked a common attic to see if the flames had spread. No one was believed to be remaining in any of the building’s units. More information will be posted later. Cause of the fire is not yet...

Read More

Christopher enjoys cash advantage in mayor’s race

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes At least on paper, Mayor Lore Christopher holds a significant cash advantage over opponent and city councilor David McKane in the city’s first contested mayoral election in a decade. According to state records, Christopher has raised $5,450 as of Tuesday and spent $3,135 in her bid for a seventh term as mayor. McKane is in the ballpark when it comes to spending – $2,663.23 – but lags in fundraising, reporting $2,886 as of Tuesday. His account balance is $222.27, while Christopher has $2,315 on hand as the campaign heads into the final stretch, although her campaign reports an outstanding loan of $1,030. Christopher’s largest single contribution was $2,000 from the Mid-Valley Affordable Housing Coalition, the political arm of the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties. Another four-figure contribution was $1,000 from the Keizer Professional Fire Fighters Union on October 15. Christopher backed Keizer Fire District in its proposed annexation of the Clear Lake neighborhood earlier this year, while McKane opposed the effort. A $1,000 in-kind contribution comes courtesy Select Impressions of Salem. Baxter Ridge LLC, a company owned by developers Lee Sjothun and Tim Smith, contributed $400. Brandon Smith’s re-election committee chipped in $200, while Cheryl Gribscov put in $200. Contributions totaling $650 came from those putting in $100 or less. The single largest contribution to McKane’s campaign comes from Rich...

Read More