The Keizer Rapids Park will benefit several species including the endangered Western pond turtle and the Red-legged frog within the Willamette riparian ecosystem, and has ecological significance for the Willamette Basin. This project will follow ecological guidelines for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) leased property and Marion County National Heritage Parks. The Park design will compliment the ecosystem and integrate opportunities for future restoration projects. This project will allow for regional low-impact and pedestrian access to the Willamette River while simultaneously preserving open space, riparian forests, and wetlands. Opportunities to secure riverfront property with intact functioning floodplain are increasingly limited as the Willamette Basin population grows; this acquisition is the best, and perhaps last, option for Keizer to preserve Willamette Greenway land and re-connect to the river.
To help with the implementation of the park, Keizer City Council convened the The Keizer City Council established the “RIVERR” (Regional Intergovernmental Visions Enhancing River Resources) Task Force in 2003 to explore community needs, potential uses, benefits, and partnerships with the Park. The role of the Task Force includes: gathering community input, identifying and securing funding, coordinating with other jurisdictions and organizations, developing an overall master plan for the park, and presenting these findings and recommendations to the Keizer City Council. The Task Force is working to secure funding for the implementation and maintenance of
Park through grants and monies contributed by the park's partners. To date, more than $1.93 million dollars have been secured to complete the land acquisitions.
Examples of Key Partners
This is a multiple partnership effort, and the RIVERR Task Force includes representatives from: Keizer City Council, Marion County Board of Commissioners, Salem City Council, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Keizer Bikeways Committee, Keizer Parks Advisory Board, Keizer Chamber of Commerce, Marion County Public Works, The Trust for Public Land, The Salem-Keizer-Independence Partnership, Mid-Willamette River Connections Workgroup, The Willamette Partnership, Willamette River Keepers, and the Mid- Willamette Council of Governments.
Results and Accomplishments
The Keizer Rapids Regional Community Park in Keizer, Oregon complements the Willamette River Water Trail and will soon be a prime public access point to enjoy the Water Trail. The city of Keizer and Marion County are working with multiple partners to establish a 119-acre park on the Willamette River, immediately adjacent to one of the largest urban areas in Oregon . The U.S Forest Service and The Bureau of Land Management through the American Heritage Rivers Initiative have been partners in this project since inception. Recently, the National Park Service’s Rivers & Trails program has joined the effort to provide technical assistance as the Park Master Planning process begins.
The park includes an 85-acre parcel along the
River that currently receives minimal use due to limited infrastructure and public access and is currently managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. OPRD recently committed to a 25-year lease on the parcel with the City of Keizer to develop the property into a park benefiting both local and regional communities. The existing 85-acre parcel will be expanded to 119 acres with acquisitions from willing landowners to provide for continuous public access alongside the Willamette River. Once the land acquisition is completed, there will be a comprehensive public outreach process to ensure the park plan and design process meet the needs of the community. The public will have numerous opportunities to participate in the park planning process.
The vision of this park is to explore and develop ways of reconnecting
Keizer and the region to the
River , thereby maximizing the tremendous potential of this unique riverfront location, while at the same time respecting private property rights. Completing the vision of
Park provides the public with a unique point of access to a natural treasure—the
River —and creates opportunities for recreation, education, preservation, and boosting the local economy with tourism-related revenue. To promote alternative modes of transportation,
Park will provide important links in bicycle, pedestrian, and water trails, both in the city and the regional transportation systems.
This project has brought together numerous partners to achieve a common goal that has numerous benefits. The Keizer Rapids park will serve the region, complement the Willamette Greenway Planing effort, and become a prime access point for the newly opened Willamette River Water Trail.