On November 2, 1982 an unincorporated area of Marion County north of the city of Salem, 4,713 acres or 7.36 square miles, was incorporated at the general election. This seventh and final attempt resulted in a successful vote of 4,440 to 3,341. The city of Keizer became the 12th largest city in Oregon with a population of 19,650.
Presently, at a population of 37,505, Keizer is the 14th largest City in Oregon. It is nestled in the center of the Willamette Valley and is recognized as the “Iris Capital of the World.” The City is bordered on the western edge by the Willamette River, southern edge by the city of Salem, eastern edge by Interstate 5, and the northern edge by rural portions of Marion County. In the 1990’s, the City experienced a rapid amount of new residential building and growth, establishing Keizer as one of the fastest growing cities in Oregon. In spite of this growth, the community continues to preserve its small-town pride by supporting the largest volunteer little league organization in Oregon and community-wide events, such as the Keizer Iris Festival and the annual Miracle of Christmas lighting display. Opening for the first season in 1997, the Keizer Stadium is home to the Volcanoes, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the San Francisco Giants.
The City of Keizer has 18 community, neighborhood and natural area parks, including the Keizer Little League Park. In the summer of 1999 Carlson Skate Park opened, a facility constructed largely with volunteer labor and donated funding. The City's Comprehensive Parks Master Plan was updated in January of 2008 to include the addition of Keizer Rapids Park. This addition brings the Parks acreage to 200 plus acres and provides greater green space and recreational opportunities to the citizens of Keizer and the lower Willamette Valley. It includes a dog park, multiple trails, river frontage and an amphitheater.
The City of Keizer operates under a Council-Manager form of government. The City Council consists of a Mayor and six Councilors. The City Manager is the administrative head of city government and is appointed by the City Council. Presently there are 95 city employees working in 7 departments: Administration, Finance, Human Resources, Public Works, Community Development, Municipal Court and Police Services.
The water supply for the City of Keizer is provided by 15 underground wells. Keizer sits on one of the largest aquifer water supplies on the northwest coast. Since 1983, water service connections have grown from 5,200 to over 10,000 services and in 1998 the first water reservoir was constructed. In 2006 a second reservoir was added and a third one in 2007. On an average, the City uses approximately 4 million gallons of water per day. In 1997 the City of Keizer was given an award for the “Best Tasting Ground Water in Oregon” by the Oregon Association of Water Utilities. Fire and emergency services for the City are provided by the Keizer Fire District and Marion County Fire District #1.
One of the many successful volunteer projects was the development of Keizer Corner. This area, located at the intersection of River Road and Chemawa Road, was once the site of a gas station. In the late 1990’s the City of Keizer purchased this property using Urban Renewal funds. What was once a barren lot now features beautiful trees, a water display, flags and plaza. This $157,000 improvement project was the result of countless hours of volunteer time, cash, materials, and services from the community. The plaza area was named Newton-McGee Plaza in honor of two long-time volunteers for their dedicated service to the Keizer City government. The water feature includes the City’s motto. It is truly a portrait of community pride, spirit and volunteerism.
A new project undertaken by the volunteer group, Keizer Public Arts Foundation, has been the development of an Art Walk along the River Road corridor. This project now boasts 4 sculptures on River Road and one at Keizer Station with more anticipated in the future. Another volunteer group, The Keizer Parks Foundation, has provided shelters at the new dog park.
The citizens of Keizer can be proud of the progress of this great community. Pride, Spirit and Volunteerism are alive and well in the city of Keizer.