17 Acres on Willamette River Protected for Park (OR)

KEIZER, OREGON, 9/30/05 – The first 17 acres of the planned 119-acre Keizer Rapids Park along the Willamette River Water Trail have been acquired by the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and conveyed to the permanent ownership of the City of Keizer today.

The land is half of the 34-acre property proposed to be combined with an adjacent 85-acre site owned by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) to create the new park. OPRD has played an instrumental role in the creation of this community park, by agreeing to a long-term renewable lease of the 85-acre parcel to the City at no cost, and providing grants for park funding. The city plans to acquire the remaining 17 acres prior to the end of the year. This park acquisition and development complements Oregon’s Governor Kulongonski’s Willamette River Legacy.

Keizer Mayor Lore Christopher said, “I am so grateful to our many partners who are working to make this dream a reality. We want to implement a plan on this legacy land that provides the community with access to this waterfront, parkland and river while maintaining the integrity and quality of life for the adjacent residents.”

Among the many partners making this park a reality were many agencies that provided staff time and funding via local, county, state, federal park funding sources as well as private non profit staff and funding sources.

“This property provides a key component and critical river access point for the city’s new riverfront park located along a beautiful section of the Willamette River,” said Richard Walsh, Keizer City Councilor. “We are extremely grateful to have completed this transaction with a willing landowner who shared our vision to create a park instead of selling it for development. The acquisition of this land helps make it possible to create a significant riverfront park that benefits Keizer residents as well as residents throughout the region.”

The new riverfront park will benefit residents of Keizer, Salem, and Marion County, offering recreation, economic, cultural, and health-related opportunities, as well as benefiting the ecological health of the Willamette River. Providing what was realized to be critical access to the Willamette River via this acquisition helps to fulfill needs identified in both Marion County’s Comprehensive Plan and the City of Keizer’s Comprehensive Park System Development Plan.

“The county is thrilled to have played a role in creating this beautiful park for the community of Keizer. It is an incredible gift for the community that will be greatly enjoyed,” said Janet Carlson, Marion County commissioner and a member of the Keizer RIVERR (Regional Intergovernmental Visions Enhancing River Resources) Task Force.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.5 million acres of land in 46 states. In Oregon and along the Columbia River Gorge, TPL has protected more than 78,000 acres. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission.

The City of Keizer is pleased to be the facilitator for this joint effort that protects the Willamette River, one of the gems and assets in our region of Oregon State. We have enjoyed coordinating the efforts of a multitude of different partners actively participating in this park project since its inception. We are excited about this park that will reconnect the community to the Willamette River.

Marion County is supporting acquisition and development of the park through contributions of $427,000 from the sale of county-owned timber land to the US Forest Service and $150,000 in revenue from federal Title III funds. The county will retain recreation and conservation easements to ensure continued use of the land as a public park.