Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: July 2, 2010

Splash fountain set to debut

Above, the splash fountain behind the Keizer Civic Center at Chalmers Jones Park is tested in anticipation of its summer use. The fountain will be open to the public July 4 weekend, along with Wednesdays and weekends throughout the summer. All operations are contingent on a forecasted temperature of 75 degrees or above for the day. KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox

The brand-new splash fountain at Chalmers Jones Park will be open to the public for the first time this weekend, weather permitting.

Behind Keizer Civic Center on Chemawa Road NE, the fountain will be open 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. July 3, 4, and 5, and will be open every Wednesday July 31 through Sept. 1, and every Saturday and Sunday beginning July 24 through Labor Day weekend. [MAP: 2]

Hours are the same over all open dates, but are dependent on a forecasted temperature of 75 degrees or higher.

Updates and closures will be posted at

Trash service may include composting

Of the Keizertimes

City-wide composting service will be up for debate at a Keizer City Council meeting Tuesday, July 6.

The group will be asked whether compost – mostly meaning food waste – should be picked up along with yard debris, piled in the green can Keizer garbage service customers are familiar with. The council will have to decide whether said service would be weekly or bi-weekly.

It would add $1.68 per month to households using the green can.

“We are a proponent of every-week service due to smells, bees and such,” said John Sullivan, general manager of Loren’s Sanitation. “But we’ll do whatever the city asks of us.”

With the program virtually any organic food waste would be mixed in with yard debris. Things like bread, coffee filters and grounds, dairy products, egg shells, produce, meats, pizza boxes and seafood shells could be disposed of in the green can, instead of in with the trash. Plastic bags, animal waste, foil, grease, metals and personal hygiene products would continue to go in the garbage.

The goal is to get “anything we can divert from the waste stream, or better yet, find another use for it,” according to Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano, a retired president of United Disposal Service. “Everything we get out adds more capacity at our waste energy facility. … You’d much rather find uses for other materials than just waste it, even if it generates electricity like it does in Marion County.”

compost keizer green can

Garbage collected in Keizer is sent to the Marion County Waste-to-Energy facility, which burns the trash to generate electricity. Capacity for more waste is quickly running out there, officials say, and sending some of what would go there to a composting facility could put off the need to expand it.

“The burner plant is at near-capacity,” City Manager Chris Eppley said. “Making modifications to the burner plant, which we all pay for as part of our rate and county taxes, would be extremely costly. Anything we can do to postpone or minimize improvements on that plant benefits all of us.”

Whether the service is weekly or bi-weekly “depends on whether the council thinks it will benefit the community,” Eppley said.

And while the cost of adding the service means a slightly higher garbage bill, Eppley said some customers may find they don’t need such a big garbage bin now that food waste can be composted.

“People are going to have an opportunity, at least those who aren’t on the smallest can … to actually reduce the size of the garbage can, in essence reducing the cost, every month,” Eppley said.

Sanitation officials don’t expect critters, insects or odors to be much of a problem – so long as pickup is weekly.

“We did a lot of research with jurisdictions in Olympia, Seattle and in California that have had the program up and running for some time,” said Mary Kanz, executive director of the Mid-Valley Garbage and Recycling Association. “The only negative we could find were the programs that started with bi-weekly service in the hot areas.

“As far as flies, critters and smells, no problems – grass mitigates the odors,” she said.

Customers would be encouraged to layer food waste with grass – and never put food on the bottom of the can. Options to avoid this could be freezing the food – removing any container before putting it in the can – or used shredded paper to absorb any dripping, Kanz said.

Big bang weekend

Freshman Cortney Nixon, sophomore Tatiana Rieben, senior Nathan Rieben and senior Megan Chaney show off some product from the McNary High Band Boosters fireworks tent.

For the Keizertimes

As fireworks are a staple for any celebration on or around the Fourth of July, it is no wonder why even a small, volunteer-based sale thrives year after year.

“We are pretty successful every year,” says Annie Pearson of the annual McNary Band fireworks fundraiser in the Roth’s parking lot.

“We have really grown over the years. We’re now way over the $10,000 mark,” says Judy Stumpf of the McNary Band parent volunteers.

If yours is like most Keizer families, fireworks are on the schedule sometime within the next week.

Along with age restrictions, the state of Oregon adheres to a few more laws, according to Public Information Officer Rich Hoover of the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

“If you’re going to use fireworks in Oregon, purchase from a permitted stand,” says Hoover. “In general, Oregon law bans possession of fireworks that fly or explode six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air.”

Every year, fireworks keep local fire departments busy.

“Last year, there were a reported 199 fireworks that set off fires,” says Hoover. “No injuries were reported but there was approximately half a million in damages.”

Concerning use of fireworks in parks or beaches of the area, Hoover encourages families to go elsewhere. “Fireworks are not allowed in all state parks, federal parks or beaches.”

Fireworks are also not allowed in Keizer city parks per ordinance.

The most important thing when viewing or shooting fireworks is, according to Hoover, “keep common sense in mind and follow the 4 be’s: be prepared, be safe, be responsible and be aware.”

Fireworks safety tips

The most dangerous time of the year for injuries and fires caused by fireworks is here.

While incidents related to fireworks occur anytime of year, most occur between June 1 and July 31 as Independence Day is celebrated.

However, if you and your family choose to use fireworks at home, obey the law and think safety.

In Oregon, legal fireworks can only be sold through July 6 at licensed retail stands. State law also requires a person be at least 18 years of age to purchase any fireworks.

Jozlynne Shaw, 16, with Joey Chastain, 3, enjoy fireworks from a safe distance.

Oregon law prohibits the sale or use of fireworks that do the following: A) explode; B) fly through the air; C) move more than 12 feet on smooth ground; and, D) act in an uncontrolled manner.

Examples of illegal fireworks include firecrackers, bottle or skyrockets, Roman candles and chasers.

Under Oregon law officials may seize illegal fireworks and fine offenders up to $500 per violation.

These costs may include assessed fines as well as costs of suppressing the fire by the fire department.

When using fireworks, the following safety procedures should be followed:

• Have a hose or a bucket of water handy for emergencies and to douse misfires or spent fireworks;

• Always have an adult present when children are using fireworks;

• Read and follow label directions carefully;

• Only use fireworks outdoors and away from buildings, shrubbery and dry grass;

• Light one at a time and move away quickly;

• Never point or throw fireworks at people, pets, cars or buildings;

• Keep fireworks away from small children; and,

• Do not alter fireworks or attempt to make your own.

Sparklers, often given to young children, can burn at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and can cause serious burn injuries instantly with scars that will last a lifetime.

Firecrackers, bottle rockets, sparklers, and Roman candles cause most injuries. More than one-half of fire-works related injuries were eye injuries.

Czar, retired K9 officer, put down due to illness


A retired Keizer Police police dog was euthanized last week.

Czar, who retired last year, was a service patrol dog handled by Officer Eric Jefferson. According to Keizer Police, the pair located and apprehended nearly 200 criminals in Keizer, throughout Marion County and as far as Lincoln County.

A press release from the department said Czar was put down due to health concerns on Friday, June 25.

“We thank Officer Jefferson and K9 Czar for their years of dedicated service to the Keizer Police Department and their community,” the release stated.

The department has two active K9 units – Axel with Officer Stephen Richardson and Bas with Officer Scott Keniston.

Czar, like most of Keizer’s police dogs through the years, was purchased with donations. He came from Adlerhorst International Inc. and arrived here Oct. 21, 2003.

Mary E. Ballek

Mrs. Ballek, of Keizer, died Sunday, June 27, 2010. She was 92 years old.
Born July 20, 1917, she was preceded in death by her husband, Anton (Tony) Ballek and daughter, Elizabeth (Betty) Shipman.

Survivors include: her son, A. Paul Ballek; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and sister, Helen Connors.

A viewing and rosary service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 2, at St. Edward Catholic Church with memorial mass following at 1:30 p.m., Graveside services are at 3:30 p.m. Claggett Creek Cemetery in Keizer.

Arrangements by Keizer Funeral Chapel.

Vernon Bradshaw

Mr. Bradshaw, of Keizer, died Saturday, June 26, 2010. He was 89 years old.

He was born March 29, 1921.

A Masonic and Religious Science memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 10, at Woodland Chapel First Church of Religious Science, in Salem. Memorial donations may be made in memory of Mr. Bradshaw to the Oregon Masonic Charitable Foundation, 2150 Masonic Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116.

Arrangements by Keizer Funeral Chapel.

Learning something

Warmer weather is finally here in our area, school is out and everyone is in vacation mode.  The last thing anyone wants to do is learn anything.  Learning’s for school.

The 4th of July holiday weekend in Keizer offers a fun way for kids and adults alike to learn something without it seeming like school.

The Northwest Civil War Council is staging its annual reenactment at Willamette Mission State Park just north of Keizer through Monday, July 5.

For the past 20 years the Council has erected Union and Confederate camps complete with actors portraying military and civilian personnel including women and children.  Each is eager to answer questions about the Civil War era and each is knowledgeable about the part they play.

The Civil War reenactment is like an amusement park for history buffs.  Kids enjoy it because it is like the ultimate game of army; when the army comes onto the field with drums and bugles and a battle ensues, it’s an action movie come to life.  Kids will learn something about one of America’s important events and never once realize they are actually learning something—in summer.

It’s not just the young ones who can thrill at the camps, the battles and the scene.  The reenactment is the perfect summer diversion for grown-ups, too.

The reenactment is one of the few large events that Keizerites can enjoy without traveling.  It is a wonderful resource whether one goes every year and goes the first time.


Get ready for visitors

In two weeks hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts will descend on Keizer.

Good Vibrations Motorcycle Rally’s event headquarters will be at Keizer Renaissance Inn while most of the rally events will be held at Salem’s Riverfront Park.

The cyclists are expected to take in the sights of our area including rides throughout the region.

The attendees will fill local hotel rooms and campgrounds and eat at local restaurants.  Initially there were plans for some of the rally events to take place at Keizer Station; though that is no longer the case, our city will still be filled with cyclists.

For those in Keizer who extol the value of tourism and visitors, this will be the test of their confidence that our city can grab its share of the travel dollar.

The economic development of visitors doesn’t begin and end with the Good Vibrations rally.  Those cyclists who do spend time in Keizer should be met with smiles, good service and a welcoming attitude—we want them to spend money in our town and tell others about the good experience they had here in the heart of beautiful Oregon.

The Chamber of Commerce is encouraging River Road businesses to use their reader boards for welcoming messages.  Whether one loves or hates cyclists, every business  should support their ability to pump money into our economy.  And they should do all they can to send cyclists away with a positive feeling about the Iris Capital of the World.


Reset state spending priorities


As the new fiscal year gets underway this week, so do $577 million in cuts in the state budget ordered by Governor Kulongoski. The Governor is getting help from his recently appointed Reset Cabinet, which he charged with re-thinking the way state government is run. After 10 months of deliberations, the Reset Cabinet released their report last week and it’s already collecting dust on shelves all over the Capitol.

I have to wonder why it took so long for this Cabinet and the Governor to figure out the obvious: that our state has been and will continue to be on an unsustainable path of spending unless major changes are made. Some of us have been saying that for years.

It doesn’t take much to figure out that we should prioritize spending on the most important services and cut off funding to the rest. If there is a program that isn’t working or is just not a high priority to the state overall, then we should make do without it.

Perhaps it takes a recessionary budget crisis to get some leaders to realize the state has been living beyond the taxpayers’ means. It’s time for new leadership in the Governor’s office and the legislative branch.

The feedback I get from my constituents is that more and more they see state agencies as being “for the government” and not “for the people.” As a private and public contractor, I see lots of ridiculous agency rulemaking and red tape. As a legislator I see state departments creating more workload to justify their existence rather than looking for ways to downsize or maybe even privatize projects to generate jobs outside of government.

The Reset Cabinet came up with $1.5 billion in savings and yet didn’t propose eliminating any services, only trimming back a few and changing the delivery of others. Keep in mind we’re facing at least a $2.5 billion dollar shortfall in the next budget cycle. Something’s got to give.

While I’m skeptical that few, if any, of the Reset Cabinet’s recommendations will be followed by agencies or the legislature, the report did point out one good thing: priority based budgeting is a must. It only makes sense. That is why I introduced legislation last session to establish the core functions of government and then budget our limited state dollars based on that list. Of course I will introduce it again and hopefully more of my colleagues will listen this time.

Over the past few months I’ve received many good suggestions on which services are most important to Oregonians and which areas should be cut. Some of these ideas have come from hard working state employees who are fed up with what they see in their own agencies. I encourage anyone who has ideas about how we can deal with this budget mess to send your thoughts to [email protected] or call me at 503-986-1425.

Kim Thatcher (R) represents Keizer in the state house from the 25th district.