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Author: Eric Howald

Keizer’s own Speed Racer


Of No Adults Allowed

To say that 13-year-old Ryan Bese has a need for speed would be an understatement. Not only is Ryan a junior dragracer, but he also runs for cross country and track at Whiteaker Middle School. “I like to go fast,” he said.

For the past four years Ryan has been a jr. drag racer at the Woodburn Dragstrip. Ryan is in the eighth grade and currently the only jr. racer from Keizer.

He enjoys having his friends come watch him race, “it’s fun because they can experience what it’s like,” Ryan said.

Even though you have to be eight years old to be a junior racer, Ryan started way before that. “My husband worked on a professional race car team before, so that’s how he (Ryan) got started,” said Chris Bese, Ryan’s mom, “I would drag him out to the races. But he was a baby so he has no recollection of it whatsoever.”

That said, when the time came to start racing, Ryan was more than a little hesitant to start driving, “When he turned 8, we encouraged him and he said, ‘no.’ He wouldn’t even sit in the car,” Chris said.

With the help of some of his friends from the racetrack he eventually got into his first car, “They put him in the car and literally pushed him down the race track,” she said.

“I just didn’t want to do it because I was worried about crashing,” Ryan said. That fear has been pushed aside now because he’s been doing it for such a long time. In his four years of racing the closest he’s come to crashing was clipping a wall.

There are three categories at the Woodburn Dragstrip, Jr. Storm, Jr. Thunder and Jr. Lighting. The Jr. Storm category is for ages 6-10, Jr. Thunder is for ages 10-14 and Jr. Lighting is 13-17. Ryan is currently transitioning form Jr. Thunder to Jr. Lighting. 

In 2014 (his first year), he won the Rookie of the Year Award, and he’s been winning ever since. In 2015, he placed second in the World of Speed for Jr. Storm, the following year he placed second in the World of Speed for Jr. Thunder. He was the Fall ET Jr. Thunder Champion in 2016.

He won the 2018 NHRA ET finals Division 6 Jr. Thunder Champion award in the summer series. He then switched over to Jr. Lighting for the fall series and won the 2018 World of Speed Fall ET Jr. Lightening Champion. The final race became known as, “the Ryan show.” Ryan Dick, his competitor and best friend, was racing against him for the championship. Even though Dick lost, the boys are still close friends. “They’re good kids, they support each other, they cheer each other on. Sportsmanship is big,” Chris said.

That’s not all, Ryan was also voted the most improved racer this year by his peers at the Woodburn Dragstrip in 2018. Ryan has competed on the ET Finals Woodburn Team for four years in a row, first in Boise, then Canada, Woodburn and Boise again. Even though he’s been on the finals team four years in a row, this was his first year winning.

He said his reason he keeps going back is, “the sweet feeling of winning.” 

His biggest supporters have been his parents, which is no surprise considering they literally pushed him to do it. Although some parents would be concerned about safety, the Bese family has total faith in their safety gear. “I actually feel he’s safer in his car than in mine,” Chris said.

His sponsors are, Wayne Parker’s Auto Electric, Taylor Motorsports Products and Westfield Motorsports.

Chamber members preview 2019 legislative pipeline


Of the Keizertimes

Details are still hazy on potential legislation that could have a major impact on business during the 2019 Oregon legislative session, but Jenny Dresler, director of grassroots with Public Affairs Counsel, tried to read the tea leaves during a Keizer Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, Jan. 29. 

With a Democratic wave sweeping through the Legislature in November 2018, “legislators feel they’ve been given a mandate to push an agenda,” Dresler said. “One can look at the election results and understand that, but businesses will get steamrolled if they do not speak up.”

Dresler said Public Affairs Counsel, a lobbying firm, and Oregon State Chamber of Commerce are monitoring developments on several issues. 

Some of the legislative movements sparking heightened interest include:

• Tax proposals involving hospitals and insurance providers to cover the costs of Medicaid.

• Cap-and-trade discussions that revolve around how the state will manage harmful emissions.

• A proposed $2 billion revenue package to support reforms throughout public schools. 

• A paid family and medical leave tax that might affect businesses as small as one employee. 

• Proposals that could create increased liability concern for small business.

• Increases to the corporate minimum tax and excise taxes on goods like alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. 

• A subsidizing tax on businesses with more than 50 employees enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).

Dresler said the cap-and-trade discussions often appear to affect large manufacturing, but legislation could reach much further down the line. 

“The Oregon Farm Bureau is concerned about fuel prices, natural gas and electric. If you are an energy-intensive business, through something like refrigeration, it could be a significant policy,” Dresler said. 

Dresler said the state chamber of commerce is sending out newsletters every Monday with calls to action on specific proposals. Business owners can sign up for the newsletter at She also suggested using a new service called Voter Voice,, to track legislation as it moves through the Capitol. 

Regardless of how business owners choose to get involved, she said, messages should be crafted around personal stories. 

“Go [to a legislator] and tell a personal story. Tell the stories to your representatives and senators and they will talk to colleagues,” Dresler said. 

She urged constituents to personalize form letters whenever possible.

“You are all playing an out-sized role in your community. Testimony is incredibly effective, either in person or in a letter, but keep it personal,” she said. 

Salem hosting Golden Gloves Tournament this weekend


Of the Keizertimes

The 2019 Oregon Golden Gloves Championship Tournament will take place at the Salem Armory this weekend and will feature the best amateur boxers the state has to offer.

The tournament starts Friday, Feb.1 with the elimination round taking place at 6:30 p.m.  The championship round will begin the following day at 3 p.m.

General admission tickets for Friday’s elimination round will be $15 ($5 for kids under the age of 12) and $20 on Saturday ($10 for kids under 12). 

Keizer’s Apolinar Lopez will be competing in the 132-pound division at the 2019 Oregon Golden Gloves Tournamentat the Salem Armory on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2.

Ringside floor seating will be $35.

This is a non-profit event with the proceeds going towards travel expenses for the tournament winners that move on to the Regional Tournament in Las Vegas. 

Thirty-seven fighters are scheduled to be on the lineup card this weekend.

Keizer resident Dan Dunn, who has been the director of Oregon Golden Gloves since last year, believes that a lot of these athletes will be competing at the next level.

“These guys are the elite of the elite as far as Oregon amateurs are concerned,” Dunn said. 

“This is their last stop before turning pro. These guys are good.”

One of the main headliners for this tournament is Salem’s Omar Murrillo.

Murrillo, who is a 2020 Olympic hopeful, was the 2018 Oregon Golden Gloves Tournament winner in the 165-pound division and also received the Golden Warrior Award — which is given to the top overall athlete at the tournament. 

“Omar is one of those guys that you knew was going to be special,” Dunn said. “Everyone shows up expecting him to win. All the pros know he’s coming up.”

Apolinar Lopez, who is from Keizer, will also be one of the main contenders — he was the 132-pound winner in last year’s Golden Gloves tournament. 

“(Lopez) is pretty graceful when he moves around,” Dunn said. 

“He has great situational awareness in the ring.”

Salem resident Jon Pena (114 lbs) is the other local fighter that will be competing in this event. 

Along with spending the last four months organizing this event, Dunn also has been training Murrillo, Lopez and Pena. 

It may be a stressful task, but for Dunn, it really is all about the passion he has for the sport that he loves.

“What I love about amateur boxing is it’s like one big family,” Dunn said. “People are going to see excellent fighting, but you will also see excellent sportsmanship.” “

“These guys love each other….They also know how to compete at a high level. It’s going to be very exciting to watch.”

McNary upsets South Salem

McNary guard Nate Meithof goes up for a shot after driving into the lane in the Celtics 59-57 victory over South Salem on Thursday, Jan. 31. 


Of the Keizertimes

McNary boys basketball head coach Ryan Kirch has had a number of big victories throughout his eight years with the Celtics.

But the win he got on Thursday will stick in his mind for a long time.

Boston Smith led the Celtics with 19 points as McNary (12-5, 5-2 Mountain Valley Conference) went on the road and knocked second-ranked South Salem (13-4, 6-1), beating the Saxons 59-57 and keeping themselves in position for the MVC title.

“I’m just really proud of our guys. Each and every one of them gave of themselves for the betterment of the team,” Kirch said. “It’s one of the best wins I’ve ever had as a coach. To watch them be so happy and excited is a joy to watch.”

Nate Meithof was also in double-figures with 14 points and Alfredo Villareal added 13 pints in the victory.

“Honestly, for me, this is the best win I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Villareal said. “We all played so great together and I am just proud of this team.”

Villareal had been playing limited minutes coming into this game after suffering a foot injury in January. But in his first game back in the starting lineup, the senior point guard made his presence felt almost immediately.

After knocking down a mid-range jumper to start the game, Villareal hit an open 3-pointer right of the key on the next trip to give McNary the early momentum.

Meithof and Smith each added hoops to put the Celtics ahead 9-7 midway through the opening period, but a pair of offensive fouls by Smith sent the McNary big man to the bench.

However, Kirch entered Smith back into the contest later in the period and the senior post threw down a monster jam after the Celtics beat the overly-aggressive defensive press from the Saxons.

South Salem forced numerous McNary turnovers throughout the game with their aggressive double-teams on the ball and three-quarter-courts traps. However, the Celtics also got a large supply of easy hoops after taking advantage of the Saxons being a little too greedy defensively.

“We spent a lot of the last two days working on all the fundamentals of handling pressure,” Kirch said. “We don’t talk about it as a press-break, we refer to it as press-attack. I’m a big believer that, if you attack it, you got to make them pay. If they don’t pay, their just going to keep on doing it.”

“We did have some turnovers, but we got some easy buckets because of their pressure.”

Both teams went back and forth into the midway part of the second period. But with the Saxons up 23-22, South Salem was hit with their second technical foul of the game when Eric Lungu got in the face of a McNary player after the whistle.

After Meithof hit one of the two technical foul shots, McNary’s Devyn Schurr knocked down a straightaway triple to give the Celtics the lead back at 26-23. A lay-in from Noah Hudkins and a pair of free throws from Meithof helped the Celtics go on a 7-1 run to take a 30-24 lead late in the period.

“We knew it was going to be chippy. These two teams have been at the top of the league for the last five years,” Kirch said. “When (South Salem) started talking a little bit, our guys just maintained their composure throughout the entire thing.”

The Saxons cut the lead to three with under a minute remaining before halftime, but Villareal ended the second quarter with back-to-back buckets in a 20-second span, extending McNary’s advantage to 34-27 at the break.

“We had so much energy going into the locker room. I knew at that moment that we were going to win this game.”

A three-point play from Smith early in the third period gave McNary their largest lead of the game at 41-29. Smith picked up his third foul midway through the quarter, but that didn’t stop his aggressiveness on the offensive end.

Smith scored two more times before the end of the period, including a highlight-reel finish off a lob from Meithof.

“I just have to play my game,” Smith said. “I’m not going to change for the refs and I’m not going to change for the other team.”

“My teammates definitely got me open with being ultra-aggressive driving in from the three-point line.”

The Celtics entered the fourth quarter with a 49-41 advantage. Now, the only thing on their mind was to hang on.

One thing that allowed McNary to do that was their tenacious 2-1-2 zone, a defense that has become prominent for the Celtics over the last few weeks.

South Salem had to settle for long jumpers and were denied any second-chance opportunities thanks to the rebounding abilities of Hudkins and Smith.

McNary also held South Salem’s star guard Jaden Nielsen-Skinner in check all night as the Portland State commit made just two field goals for the game.

“It’s different than what a lot of people see, so it’s hard to prepare for a little bit,” Kirch said about the unique zone defense. “It certainly gave (South Salem) a lot of trouble tonight.”

What nearly killed McNary down the stretch was foul shooting. The Celtics held a 58-52 with 1:30 remaining in the contest and were looking to put the game on ice. However, they missed six out of seven free throws to close out the contest — including a pair of front end 1-and-1 misses.

After Nielsen-Skinner hit a couple of free throws to cut the Saxons deficit to 59-57 with 8.1 seconds left, Villareal was fouled on the inbounds and was sent to the line. But Villareal missed both shots, giving South Salem the opportunity to force overtime or win with a 3-pointer.

South Salem’s Trey Galbraith tried a step-back triple on the Saxons ensuing possession, but Meithof was able to extend every bit of his 6-foot-4 inch frame to partially block the shot.

Ryan Brown caught the carom for the Saxons and threw up a desperation shot in mid-air at the buzzer, but the ball spun around the rim and fell out of the cylinder.

Right as gravity brought the ball back down to the hardwood, the McNary student section rushed the floor, celebrating the monumental victory.

“The crowd definitely brought the energy for the whole game,” Smith said.

McGee memorial slated Saturday

A memorial for Jerry McGee, a longtime volunteer, former city councilor and man of many hats, will take place at the Keizer Civic Center Saturday, Feb. 2. 

McGee passed Jan. 11, at age 85, after a battle with cancer. The memorial is open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. Programming will begin at 2 p.m. and last about an hour. 

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations in McGee’s name to the Keizer Fire Foundation, P.O. Box 20183, Keizer, OR 97307.

The memorial will include bagpipe performances by Jennifer Campbell and remembrances by son Marty McGee, Bill Quinn, Cathy Monroe, Hank Tarter, grandson Ian Hunt, Marc Adams, grandson Wes Jordan, daughter Cathy Jordan, former Keizer mayor Lore Christopher and current Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark. 

Light refreshments will be provided by K’s Catering. 

Additionally, McGee is survived by son Marty McGee, daughters Tammy McGee, Cathy Jordan and  Wendy Hunt; grandchildren Wes Jordan, Brianna Hunt and Ian Hunt; longtime friend Diane Monroe; brother Dennis McGee; and sisters Doris Clark and Norma Benson. 

Big first half propels Celts to victory


Of the Keizertimes

McNary’s Boston Smith wasn’t sure if he was going to go in this one.

The senior post banged up his knee in the Celtics 73-63 overtime loss to Sprague on Thursday, Jan. 24 and was deemed a game-time decision for Saturday’s contest against Mountain View.

Despite not being at 100 percent, Smith decided that he needed to come through for his team.

“I knew that me playing would be a huge impact,” Smith said. 

Smith led the way with a game-high 23 points — 15 of which came in the second half — and propelled the McNary boys hoops team to a 74-60 victory over Mountain View.

“(Mountain View) was keying on me in the first half, but I was able to stay calm and let things come to me,” Smith said. 

Griffin Oliveira had 12 points for the Celtics and knocked down four shots from behind the arc. Noah Hudkins also scored 12 for McNary.

Hudkins was the one that got it going to start the game. After getting an easy hoop thanks to a beautifully set up pick-and-roll, Hudkins buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put McNary on top 12-6.

Hudkins and Smith would each convert lay-ups moments later to extend McNary’s advantage to 16-6.

“It felt good to go out there and just run and get it going,” Hudkins said. “I think I just came out with a different mindset and I played with an aggressive attitude.”

The Celtics kept their lead at 10 to end the quarter after Nate Meithof concluded the period with a left-handed flush off a steal.

A bucket in the paint from Junior Walling, plus a baseline triple from Oliveira gave McNary the 29-15 lead early in the second quarter. Mountain View came back with an 8-2 run to get the deficit down to single-digits, but the Celtics would respond with a run of their own.

Riley Flores, Alfredo Villareal and Oliveira all knocked treys during McNary’s 11-0 scurry, which extended the McNary lead to 42-23.

Whether it was hitting open shots from the perimeter or getting easy buckets down low, the McNary offense seemed to be firing on all cylinders in the first 16 minutes of the contest.

“We have a lot of guys that can make plays,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said. “We want to play an inside-out game and we trust our big guys to move the basketball around when they are doubled-teamed.”

The Celtics went into the break up 46-27, but late in the period, Smith had to be attended to on the sideline after appearing to re-aggravate the injury on his right knee. 

Smith came out to start the third quarter with a knee brace, but the pain he was in didn’t seem to effect his production as he scored three buckets in the paint and ended the period with nine points. 

“(Smith) was dominant inside,” Kirch said. “He is a really mature kid and his leadership has been great.”

The Celtics did a poor job of taking care of the basketball in the final period, which allowed Mountain View to make the score a little more respectable. 

Kirch hopes that his team will clean up on the turnovers as the Celtics head into the second half of their Greater Valley Conference schedule, but he was ultimately pleased with how his team performed overall. 

“Obviously, we need to get a little bit better closing out games, but I’m proud of the way they played,” Kirch said.

McNary hosts Summit at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

Celts find droids they’ve been looking for

Round robots unlock physics lessons


Of the Keizertimes

Jessica Graham has been teaching science at McNary since 2005 and takes pride in having engaging and fun activities in her curriculum.

But she may have hit the jackpot when she introduced Spheros to her science class earlier in December.

A Sphero, roughly the size of an orange and otherwise known as a spherical robot, is an electronically charged, mobile, ball-shaped robot that is wrapped in polycarbonate and can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet. It was originally released in 2013 and it was featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

While several smartphone apps and games have been created for the platform, Graham uses the Spheros to teach the velocity unit to McNary freshmen in her honors physics and chemical systems class.

“It’s definitely a unique way to learn,”  McNary student Vanessa Orlov said. “I’m a big science geek, but I never thought that I would be doing something like this in high school.”

“There’s a lot of trial-and-error, but it’s really fun.”

With the tap of a finger, you can command a Sphero to go up to five miles and even get in to move on water. It makes pinpoint turns and can even do several different flips and tricks.

The Sphero can be used as a fun and playful toy, but it also incorporates significant STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) capabilities in the device, which is why Graham wanted to bring them into her classroom.

Graham got the idea to bring Spheros to McNary after going to a conference for the Oregon Science Teachers Association (OSTA) in Newport earlier in the school year. 

After borrowing a set of Spheros from the Salem-Keizer School District TAG Department (Talented and Gifted), Graham introduced them to her kids.

“I wanted (my students) to get past just working with an equation,” Graham said. “I wanted them to construct the program to tell the Sphero what to do. The kids went from just learning about velocity, to actually programming a robot to do the velocity lab.”

After their first activity, Graham saw her students test scores improve drastically, which was all the convincing that she and the science department needed to buy a set of Spheros for the school. 

Even though the students in Graham’s class have been working with Spheros for only a short period of time, they already have done multiple unique group projects with the device  — with the most popular being the Martian-Man Challenge.

Graham gave her students the scenario of a martian miner who is stranded on Mars and needs to be rescued using the Spheros. 

By writing a computer program to test the velocity of the Sphero over a set distance and learning how to refine the computer program to increase accuracy of data collection, the students were able to “rescue” a stranded martian miner — which is just a small toy person — using the Sphero to get the miner back to its home-base following a set course that included several stops and sharp turns.

The students also had to construct straws and pipe cleaners together to carry their martian miner on the Sphero. 

“There was a lot of independent learning involved. I didn’t tell them to program anything beyond the first day. They had to figure it out,” Graham said. “It took a lot of problem solving and skill-building within the groups.”

Eventually, the project turned into a friendly class competition to determine which team could develop the most accurate and fastest computer program to safely transport the martian miner on the course.

“Learning about velocity and acceleration in the normal way, to me, would be more boring and less fun. But with the Spheros, I actually want to know how this stuff works,” McNary student Sage Allen said. 

“On the last day, of the Martian-Man Challenge, my group was able to take a couple seconds off our time by just changing some minor things. It was really cool to see how changing the speed of something just slightly could effect the way (the Sphero) goes around the course.”

The students have also used the Spheros to test the First Law of Thermodynamics — which looks at the transfer of kinetic energy through collisions. 

In the coming months, Graham plans to have her students design a computer program and engineer a corresponding roller coaster to demonstrate kinetic versus potential energy.

Along with the obvious science aspect, Graham has been pleased with how the Sphero projects have allowed the opportunity for her students to successfully work as a team.

“Not only were students working to work out how to program their Spheros with the correct coding and math, but they also taught each other how to problem solve their way through the math and code,” Graham said.

Lady Celts sprint past Royal Scots


Of the Keizertimes

With a win over Sprague in their previous contest, McKay’s girls basketball team broke their 37-game conference losing streak and came into their game with McNary beaming with confidence.

But last Friday night, the Lady Celts brought McKay back down to Earth. 

McNary got 15 points from Abigail Hawley and 12 points each by Sabella Alfaro and Mackenzie Proctor as the Celtics led from start-to-finish and defeated the Royal Scots by a score of 56-30 on Jan. 18.

“We came focused and ready to play. That was apparent in the first half,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “We played with a lot of confidence.”

With the Celtics leading 6-5 in the early minutes of the opening quarter, Hawley got loose for an easy layup after a beautiful feed from point guard Leah Doutt.

Hawley knocked down a pair of jumpers later in the period, which was then followed by a trio of baskets by Alfaro, helping the Celtics go on a 14-1 run and end the period with a 20-6 advantage.

“We did a good job of getting out in transition to get easy buckets,” Hawley said. “Our defense gave us a lot of opportunities to score.”

Even though they went through an offensive lull to begin the second period, McNary’s defense completely stifled any chance McKay had to get back into the game.

Playing a combination of man-to-man and 2-3 zone defenses throughout the game, plus the occasional full-court press, McNary kept the Royal Scots on their heels for all 32 minutes — 30 points is the least McNary has allowed an opponent to score so far this season.

“These girls just buy in on defense,” Doran said. “We all jump on board and play team defense.”

Midway through the second quarter, Proctor finished an easy layup after coming away with a steal. Moments later, the sophomore guard knocked down a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, giving the Celtics the 30-10 advantage at the break.

“Mackenzie hit some big shots,” Doran said. “It was good to see her step up.”

“I was just shooting with confidence,” Proctor added.

McKay got the lead down to 16 before the seven minute mark in the fourth quarter, but McNary made sure that they thwarted any type of comeback attempt. 

Four quick points from Hawley and a corner triple from Alfaro allowed McNary to open the period on an 8-0 run to go on top 49-25.

McNary returns to the hardwood on Saturday to host Mountain View at 6:30 p.m.

Legislators prep for two years in ‘superminority’


Of the Keizertimes

Sen. Kim Thatcher and Rep. Bill Post, the two Republicans representing Keizer, are expecting a trying 2019 session. 

Democrats hold a supermajority in the Oregon Legislature and the governor’s office which means that Republicans have little recourse when it comes to stopping the bills they oppose without getting Democrats to cross the aisle. What Thatcher and Post are hoping is that Sen. Peter Courtney can reign in his party to some degree. 

“He’s the last Oregon statesman and that’s what this session will be about,” Post said. 

“But he has a fractured caucus and I think it will be difficult to keep the more divisive stuff at bay,” said Thatcher. 

As far as their personal priorities, Thatcher is a chief sponsor of Senate Bill 321, which would modify the procedure by which a person convicted of a felony can request new DNA testing. 

“Oregon’s laws are such that they have to prove innocence before ordering a new DNA test. [SB 321] would allow retesting before proof of innocence,” Thatcher said. “We want to ensure that we have the right people locked up for rape and murder.” 

Thatcher’s office is also looking into potential solutions to the state’s housing crisis and alternatives to Democrat-endorsed cap-and-trade limits on carbon emissions. 

“I am working with my staff who know some people who have alternatives. If Democrats want to go this direction, I want to know what the alternatives are.” 

Post is again trying to free up allergy sufferers to purchase Sudafed-type medication without seeing a doctor for a prescription. Oregon’s restrictions on Sudafed are some of the strictest in the nation while other states keep the medication behind the counter and allow purchase of the medication as long as the consumer presents a photo ID. 

Post has new hope for the bill, which has failed previously, because it appears to have the support of House Speaker Tina Kotek. 

“All the legislators are tired of driving to Vancouver for Sudafed,” Post said.

Thatcher is also returning with another attempt to mandate that Oregon honor concealed carry licenses issued in other states. Rather than a blanket reciprocity for any license issued in another state, this time she’s focusing on states already offering reciprocity to Oregon concealed license holders. 

Post is pushing for a new $2 million allotment for recipients of SNAP and TANF benefits. He knows it isn’t going to be popular with some of his constituents, but he’s heard from many families who are running out of money for basic needs like diapers before the end of the month. 

Another bill that even Post admits is something of a surprise for him, is one that would give certain youth offenders a chance for a sentencing review before being transferred to adult facilities.  

“I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with the youth at McLaren as part of my church (Salem Evangelical), and I’ve met enough of these guys who can say they were being idiots or made a mistake. I have a young man in my mind who deserves a break, and this is coming from a hard-on-criminals guy,” Post said. 

While they are still waiting to see what other major issues rise to the surface, one issue they are united in standing against are gun control efforts including a proposed limit on ammunition sales and outlawing magazines with a capacity of more than five rounds. 

“Only allowing someone 20 rounds a month limits people’s ability to be proficient with their weapons. That’s a safety issue for me,” Post said. 

“There are the perennial bills that whittle away at people’s constitutional rights. Every right is abused and people get hurt over it. There will always be those people, it’s not the tool,” Thatcher said. 

All of the work will be taking place against a background of a major investigation at the Oregon Capitol. The Bureau of Labor and Industry is following up on reports of sexual harassment throughout the Capitol, some of which have mentioned Post by name. 

While Post said the investigation is an “act of revenge by [Democrat] Brad Avakian against his own party,” Thatcher is hoping some good can come out of it. 

“It’s also shedding some light on things and because of it I am hopeful that we make some good changes,” said Thatcher who is part of the Capitol Culture Committee working to improve the workplace environment. “We’ll be dealing with the rules and hope to make it better for people and without creating a space for politically-based allegations. I do want to make sure people don’t have to be subjected to creepy behavior.”

Regardless of the issue, both legislators hope to have more constructive talks than are happening at the federal level of government. Both expressed frustration with the partial government shutdown after attending a training on civil discourse last week that illuminated the problems that arise when parties become too entrenched in a particular position. 

“I think that demonstration will be in the back of peoples’ minds,” Thatcher said. “There are instances when you have to agree to disagree, but we have to keep talking.”

Church seeks eminent domain dismissal


Of the Keizertimes

St. Edward Catholic Church is asking that the courts dismiss an eminent domain compliant filed by the Salem-Keizer School District in regard to six acres of vacant land the district wants to expand McNary High School. 

In response to the district request for immediate condemnation and possession, the church contends, in documents submitted to Marion County Circuit Court, that the school district did not comply with proper eminent domain procedure and has “failed to justify its need for immediate possession of St. Edward’s property.”

The allegation of improper procedure hinges on the district not establishing a fund for the estimated just compensation and instead seeking condemnation for immediate possession. 

Additionally, the church argues that while the district wants immediate possession to stay within its construction schedule, it did not provide any detail regarding the timelines and other hurdles, like permitting, that it needs to clear. As a result, according to the church, the district has not detailed what economic hardship would be endured without the immediate possession “as opposed to three months from now, or a year from now.”

In a separate document seeking dismissal of the eminent domain claim, the church claims the request for ownership violates the Religious Land Use And Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). That act states that the government cannot impose or implement land use regulation of “substantial burden” on the religious exercise of a person … assembly, or institution.” RLUIPA also mandates that governmental agencies wishing to impose such regulation prove a compelling interest and use the “least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” 

According to the dismissal request, Oregon courts have yet to determine whether RLUIPA applies to eminent domain cases, which means the process – and any appeals that arise – might drag on for a while. 

In December, the church rejected an offer of $1.75 million for the six acres. The offer was about $200,000 more than the highest appraisal value.