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Month: July 2010

Big box ban petition filed

file photo illustration

Of the Keizertimes

A petition to ban big box stores larger than 65,000 square feet in Keizer was filed this week with the Keizer city recorder’s office.

Only the currently-developed portion of Keizer Station – where Lowe’s, Target and the like are – would be exempt.

Now supporters must gather more than 2,800 signatures – 15 percent of the city’s registered voters – in no more than 90 days past filing for the initial petition, which would leave a deadline of on or about October 19. If it passes muster, the issue would be put to voters in March 2011 unless the city council opted to adopt the ordinance itself.

Keep Keizer Livable, the sponsoring organization behind the initiative, is pushing the ban subsequent to a battle before the Keizer City Council regarding a possible big-box store in Area C of Keizer Station.

Mayor Lore Christopher, when informed of the impending filing, initially signaled she wouldn’t support the ban.

The four areas of Keizer Station – A, B, C and D – have caps on how much retail square footage is allowed in each. A council decision made in 2008 raised the maximum building size allowed in Area C  – and mixed use zones throughout the city – from 10,000 square feet to 135,000 square feet, and neighbors feared what they considered the worst: A Walmart or similar large store on the edge of their residential neighborhood.

A 2010 decision altered the process by which a developer would request further changes to the four caps, moving it from the text amendment process to a master plan process. Opponents of a big-box store in Area C – which is bordered by Lockhaven Drive to the north and Chemawa Road to the west – feared the move would accommodate an even larger store.

Kevin Hohnbaum, a co-founder of Keep Keizer Livable, said the citywide big box ban idea came in part because the council’s decision applied to all mixed use zoning throughout the city.

“We could be doing redeveloping behind St. Edward’s (Catholic Church), anything that’s zoned mixed use can now have big box in it,” Hohnbaum said. “It’s not appropriate in Area C and it’s not appropriate on River Road, either.”

Keep Keizer Livable plans two workshops, one at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 25, at the Keizer Civic Center and another at 7 p.m. Monday at Countryside Christian Church, to train potential signature gatherers. Hohnbaum said the group doesn’t plan to hire a professional signature gathering firm, and there’s no other organizations backing the petition alongside them – at least not yet.

“1,000 Friends of Oregon has expressed interest, some labor unions have expressed interest, but right now it’s a purely local group,” Hohnbaum said.

Christopher said the concept of a big-box ban “makes me nervous.

“In the worst economy in 40 years, we’re going to narrow down the businesses we’ll accept in the community,” Christopher said. “We’re going to make it tougher for businesses to locate here and tougher for people to find jobs here. That’s what it sounds like to me.”

That said, if such a ban were to pass, “we’ll do the best we can at getting the businesses that will provide services people want and jobs for the people who live here.”

IN THE RING: Do debates in a political campaign help voters decide who to vote for? Have they helped you? Have they changed your mind?

Each week the Keizertimes asks community leaders a question about current events.  To see more of this week’s answers or answers to past questions log onto and click on In the Ring.

This week’s question is: Do debates in a political campaign help voters decide who to vote for? Have they helped you? Have they changed your mind?

Jim Willhite and Pat Ehrlich, vice presidents, Gubser Neighborhood Assn.—
We believe debates are very helpful in defining what the candidates stand for, their value system and how well they think and act under pressure. Do they just parrot the party line or do they show a sense of responsibility to the people they will be representing.  In one sense you get to see the real person, not the one shown in cleverly scripted ads.  Debates provide an opportunity to hear all candidates’ response to a particular question so voters can compare the answers which can be helpful in determining who to vote for.  They have helped us decide on which candidate will most likely represent our views on issues before the community (and we don’t always agree on the same person).

Debates can be very beneficial or detrimental to a candidate, particularly because newspapers and television report responses made to questions in a debate many times.  You don’t have to be part of the audience to hear how a person responded to a particular issue.

Marlene Quinn, event planner—
They don’t help me decide. They have never helped me decide nor have I changed my mind after watching the debates. I base my opinion on the facts of the candidate and what he stands for and what he can do for Oregon and the future of its residents. The questions that are sometimes asked at debates are the same  questions that they continually ask and most of the candidates have already answered that question for me. I don’t need to hear them say it again. So this debate issue to me is not important.

Vic Backlund, former state representative—
I believe that debates do help voters decide who they will vote for.  However, virtually all debates are short on substance and long on trying to impress voters, whether it’s by the sound of their voices, their good appearances, their issue generalities, etc.  Thus, because few of the issues are discussed in the kind of detail that is significant, I also believe that debates influence too many voters.

I have watched a lot of debates and rarely have they influenced me.  Generally, what the debates have done is help me solidify my pre-debate convictions.

So, good or bad, I’ve never watched a political debate that caused me to change my mind.”

Dennis Koho, attorney, former Keizer mayor—
In recent years it has been the gaffe in a debate that led people to vote against one of the debaters rather than for his or her opponent. For a political newcomer to a particular stage, however, they can be vital.  For example, they solidified the presidential “timber” of John Kennedy in 1960 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 and helped them both get elected.

In much the same way, Mr. Dudley needed this debate.  Voters find him attractive, but they worry that he has no experience that would qualify him for the job.

Good performance in a debate could erase those concerns – not to mention that it’s just plain stupid politics to skip a traditional debate in front of newspaper publishers.  I have to presume his handlers believed he was not ready for the debate but will find debate opportunities for him in the near future.

I’ve taken part as a candidate in a few debates.  As I recall, nearly everyone in the room was associated with a campaign or the sponsoring organization.

Those voters are unlikely to be swayed.  But let’s not forget that perhaps only 10 percent or so of the voters are swing voters.  They are the true audience for a political debate, and I think debates can impact these voters.

The safety issue of CFL bulbs


The new compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) cannot be put in with the garbage and disposing of them is a real hassle. But that’s not the main problem—it’s the safety issues that bother me.

CFL bulbs contain mercury, a powerful neurotoxin which poses serious health risks, especially for children. Already, researchers have linked mercury toxicity to birth defects, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, depression, bipolar disorder and other conditions.

Studies by the Maine  Department of Environmental Protection and Brown University in 2008 found that the amount of mercury released by a single broken CFL bulb greatly exceeds EPA safety standards

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences website notes: “Today’s CFLs underscore mercury’s volatile vapor form, which is still a significant health concern — ventilation reduces but does not eliminate this toxicant. Mercury vapor inhalation can cause significant neural damage in developing fetuses and children.”

According to the EPA, if a bulb breaks in your home you need to quickly evacuate children and pets from the area. Then, ventilate the room for 15 minutes, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system to keep the fumes from circulating through the house, carefully scoop up the pieces with cardboard or duct tape, and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag! Whatever you do, don’t use a vacuum or broom!

And here’s what the EPA says to do if the broken glass of mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb comine in direct contact with clothing or bedding: “the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.”

Broken bulbs, in short, have to be treated as toxic waste and are so potentially harmful that we cannot throw them out with the trash. We have to bring them to a special recycling facility since the regular garbage/recycling companies refuse to handle the stuff (wise decision if you ask me!). The only “official” recycling center for our area is the Salem-Keizer Transfer Station east of Salem out on Deer Park Rd. and the Station will only accept 10 bulbs at a time. Home Depot has a CFL recycling program, but few people know about it.

Personally, I think the push to CFLs at this time was a big mistake, considering the risks. Back in 2001, some 8.4 million compact fluorescent light bulbs were distributed in the Northwest and Portland General Electric says those bulbs are reaching the end of their lifespan and burning out. Despite the warnings, most of them will end up in a landfill since it’s estimated that only 3% of all CFLs are properly disposed of.

CFLs were promoted by light bulb manufacturers and retail stores (particularly Walmart) and the transition to them will make these companies billions of dollars. In a few years, the dangers of mercury-filled landfills will be “discovered” and these same companies will push for a different type of bulb, such as LEDs. Again, they’ll make billions.

But it’s done now and I doubt if there’s any way to stop the use of CFLs. What we need to do, then, is to make recycling these bulbs easier and safer. Our city government should establish a convenient drop off point so Keizerites can dispose of the bulbs without trekking 20 miles away to the Transfer Station.

In the meantime, I’m stocking up on conventional bulbs and finding other ways to reduce my energy use and environmental footprint.

Barbara Bigham lives in Keizer.  She is a co-founder of Bard Enterprises.

Where city councilors come from


Serving as a Keizer  city councilor has been an extraordinary journey. I have met kind, creative, generous neighbors along the way, worked with a great team of similarly dedicated volunteers, and studied diligently to be prepared for the vast array of issues I am called on to handle.

Local government is a different animal than state and federal institutions. Here is where we as neighbors work together to identify and meet our needs, set goals, and partner with other jurisdictions and agencies to benefit our entire community and region. My work has not been defined by the narrow label of a political organization. And because we are not sorted by political affiliation, zones, or neighborhoods, we each represent the interests of all of Keizer.  By collaboration, conversation, and consensus to determine our direction, we get results: better streets and sidewalks, safer neighborhoods, vibrant parks, clean water, healthier environment, and more.

The decision to run for city council is not to be made lightly. I could not do this without the full support and understanding of my family. Unlike state and federal offices, this is a volunteer position and costs my family and me time, money and resources. I believe the personal costs are worth it because, rather than being a thankless drudgery, I find my service to be highly fulfilling. Meeting new challenges stretches me as a person and helps me grow in my service to Keizer. I encourage anyone who wants to take up the challenge of that experience to talk with me or any other present or former councilor as you make your decision.

Where do the future leaders come from? I believe our profound commitment to volunteerism has created a myriad of opportunities for every citizen to be a part of our local government. I always encourage people to come to meetings and events. You do not have to be on a committee to attend a meeting. We have many committees and commissions where highly motivated and skilled volunteers bring their expertise to issues such as planning, traffic, parks, and budget. Keizer has a statewide reputation for excellence in volunteerism. You will find that most councilors served with other volunteer groups or on city committees before running for council.

City council is a challenging way to serve our community. I encourage people who are considering this service to take time to learn about city government through committee service, work with experienced councilors, and consult with family. I hope that Keizer will continue our tradition of strong volunteerism through service on our city council.

Cathy Clark is serving her first term as a Keizer city councilor.

Youths gain added incentive when conservation efforts are close to home

OutDoor Oregon crew members Josiah Lozier and Haley Rogers help clear the trail at Keizer Rapids Park of English Ivy and other natural nuisances. The work took place earlier this month. A second crew is expected next month. (KEIZERTIMES/Lance Masterson)

Of the Keizertimes

Charles Goodenow won’t have to travel far to see the fruits of his physical labor.

The 19-year-old is an OutDoor Oregon crew member, and he helped clear the trail at Keizer Rapids Park of blackberries, English ivy, stinging nettle and other irritants, many of which also fall in the invasive species category.

Goodenow wasn’t alone in this effort. He was joined by nine other crew members and two crew leaders. But he was the only one from Keizer and he is very familiar with the layout of the park.

This sense of community provided him with added incentive.

“It’s really heart-warming,” he said of the effort. “My family comes here a lot with our animals, so it makes me feel good to be able to clean up the environment of the area where I’m living.”

OutDoor Oregon specializes in conservation. It is part of Northwest Youth Corps (NYC), the program that takes crews into the Pacific Northwest back country five months at a time to repair trails or do other projects.

Crew leader Rachel Lauriat came to OutDoor Oregon from NYC.

“This is a newer program; it’s more of an urban conversation program,” said Lauriat. “Most of my experience is leading crews in the back country of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and northern California … doing more back country living and more back country projects.”

She noticed working closer to home has its advantages.

“What has drawn me to OutDoor Oregon specifically is, for example, we have Charles Goodenow and he’s from Keizer. And he has just kind of taken a lead with this project because this is his park that he brings his dogs to. And what I’m really loving about this, as opposed to (Northwest) Youth Corps, is that these kids are from this community.”

A different mind-set exists when hometown pride factors into the equation.

“I’ve noticed that (crew members) are taking more time to get things done right. They’re really invested in it because it’s their backyard. I really like seeing that connection with them. It kind of touches them a little bit more,” said Lauriat.

On this particular project Goodenow was named youth crew leader for the day. He was raking up debris when approached for the interview.

“We’re cutting back the berry bushes from the trail to widen it up. While everyone clips, me and my co-worker, Whittaker (Lozier) are going around and cleaning up and brushing everything away from the trail to make it wider . And we’re removing invasive species,” he said.

Goodenow learned of Northwest Youth Corps while searching for a job online. He said the advertisement was eye-catching.

“Bam! It jumped out at me,” said Goodenow of the ad. “I read about it and I applied, and like about four months later they contacted me and told me they were doing another program and that it was five weeks. So I signed up.”

The program does more than rehabilitate. Statistics show Oregon has the third highest teen unemployment rate in the nation. But Goodenow didn’t sign up out of desperation. Instead he signed up to take advantage of what OutDoor Oregon offers.

He was intrigued by “everything they put down in the ad. Like, it said do you want to work in the environment? Do you want to learn great leadership skills? Work with others? Stuff like that,” said Goodenow. “It just jumped out and said ‘pick me.’”.

He added he hopes to parlay experience gained this year into a job with Northwest Youth Corps next year.

OutDoor Oregon hires youth crews for summer work in four different counties, including Marion.

Local projects are coordinated through the City of Keizer.

OutDoor Oregon crews performed conservation work at Claggett Creek Park earlier this summer and return to Keizer Rapids Park next month.

Youths hired are between the ages of 16 and 19. They work five days a week, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Waiting comes before confirmation


Of the Keizertimes

The only thing Col. Dan Hokanson can do now is wait … at least when it comes to his promotion to brigadier general.

Hokanson, the 47-year-old former Keizer resident who was nominated for brigadier general by Major Gen. Raymond Rees, needs presidential approval before any promotion is finalized.

But first Hokanson and the other nominees for promotion must gain Senate confirmation. A list of nominees from different branches of the military was submitted to a Senate subcommittee. Qualifications for each nominee are being reviewed and concerns resolved before the list is sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. At this point, the president’s signature is considered a formality.

“It could happen any day now, or it could take months. It’s hard to say,” said Hokanson of the process. “The process is lengthy and unpredictable, but generally it can take anywhere from seven months to more than two years.”

Rees’ nomination came as Hokanson ended his tenure as commander of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon National Guard. The brigade has a long history including the longest deployment of any division during World War II, and recently returned from a year-long deployment in Iraq.

Hokanson’s combat deployments include: Operation Just Cause, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to lead soldiers into combat, not everyone deserving of that honor gets that chance,” said Hokanson. “I also feel fortunate to have commanded great soldiers who did great things.”

Hokanson’s new orders have him headed to Colorado Springs, Colo. as the Deputy J5, Plans and Policy, for the U.S. Northern Command, which conducts Homeland Defense and Civil Support operations within its assigned Area of Responsibility (AOR).

The AOR includes the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and surrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles.

Hokanson graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1986 with a thought or two of rising to the rank of general. This was during the Cold War and the army was larger then. Even so, these thoughts were quickly put on the back burner.

“I quickly learned that the U.S. Army was comprised of fantastic people, and so I concentrated instead on being the best soldier I could be,” Hokanson said.

He also took advantages of opportunities as they presented themselves. Which is one reason why Hokanson and his wife Kelly have moved 18 times during their 20 years of marriage.

The couple has three children – Victoria, Danny and McKinnon – and have lived in Keizer eight of the last nine years. The year-long exception came when Hokanson attended the National Security Fellowship Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It was also during this time that Hokanson served two deployments to the Middle East. While deployed, the local community stepped forward and provided the Hokanson family with assistance when needed.

“More than any other city, Keizer is home to us,” said Dan Hokanson. “This is the hardest move for us. We feel a part of this town.”

But a move was necessary in order for Hokanson to further his military career. Full-time general officer positions are not available with the Oregon National Guard (ONG).

Though leaving the ONG, Hokanson’s contributions will be remembered. While serving as the Army Aviation Support Facility Commander in Oregon, he founded the first National Guard Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) and Military Air Rescue Team (MART) programs.

He also commanded 100 air rescues and fire fighting missions throughout the Pacific Northwest and northern California, including the 2002 Mount Hood Rescue.

New beauty school is family affair

Hope Stoltz, Prajedes Martinez and Melissa Mason are opening a hair academy in Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Of the Keizertimes

Three local ladies – two sisters and their mother – have teamed up to open a beauty academy here in Keizer.

Tangled Ends Hair Academy hosts a ribbon cutting at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 23, at its location at 136 Chemawa Road N. [MAP: 1]

The school will offer certifications in hair design and aesthetics, which includes facials and wraps.
Naturally, the ladies behind the school are no stranger to the salon industry. Melissa Mason started Salon 124 in 2001, and sold it to her sister, Hope Stoltz, and a business partner several years ago. Mason, Stoltz and their mother, Prajedes Martinez, own the school.

Registration starts now, and school for the first class starts in September.
The school’s main training floor has 13 double-sided salon station setups for a total of 26 stations; an area for mixing hair dyes, two classrooms and an Internet bar where students can access the Web along with an internal system that houses the school’s curriculum materials. Stoltz, who has 10 years in the hair business, says it all started when she had a dream about owning a school.

“I could see all of us as a family working there,” Stoltz said.

“She called me in the middle of the night,” Martinez said. “I said, ‘Go to sleep.’”

But it stuck with her, and Martinez said Stoltz “just would not let it go. She was so excited.

“She said, ‘Mom, it’s so real. I prayed about it.’ … and she asked if I wanted to go in with her. I said, if you prayed about it and thought about it, I believe in you,” Martinez said.

Stoltz consulted with the Baker family, which owns the complex where both the school and Stoltz’s Salon 124 are located, “and they were supportive from day one.”

Teachers will have at least five years’ experience, Stoltz said. The primary focus will be on hair design and obtaining a certificate in that field from the Oregon Department of Education. Starting in 2011 the school will offer advanced courses for men and women already in the industry.

The training floor has a modern, open and airy feel. Stoltz said it looks and feels that way for a reason.

“We wanted to produce a salon atmosphere,” Stoltz said. “… No one can work at the school and teach that’s not behind the chair working. We really think that makes us a cutting-edge school.”

“We are owned and operated by people who are still relevant in the industry,” Mason added.

The school won’t teach just the basics of how to do hair – Mason said there’s also plans to teach students how to succeed in the industry, such as the ins and outs of running a business, how to market and how to dress for success.

Another unique aspect, Stoltz said, will be the night classes the school will offer.

“We want to market to individuals who are career-oriented, or want to get in a career but they’re a mom and have to stay home until their husband gets home,” Stoltz said. “We want to see them succeed in our school.”

Some family dynamics are complex, but Martinez sees little difference in how she and her daughters interact in and out of the workplace.

“I raised them how my mother raised her family – that is, to love your children with open arms; you prepare them to leave you,” Martinez said. “When I watch them interact with me and each other, all I can think is God is so good.

“The three of us are real intent, you know?” she added. “We have strong faith, we’re emotional, and we’re passionate about what we do.”


To the Editor:

Unless I am mistaken there are federal laws against kidnapping, bank robbing, counterfeiting, and illegal immigration.

Now states have similar laws on their books that are enforced by local authorities except immigration. What am I missing? All of a sudden the Obama administration thinks it can selectively choose which laws the states should enforce. This is a dangerous precedent because the next administration may tell the states other laws to ignore. I believe when cities declare themselves a sanctuary for illegals, they are breaking federal laws and should be denied all federal resources and the officials arrested.

When elective officials and law enforcement officers take their oath of office they pledge to support the Constitution and the laws of the land.  I believe this means all of the laws of the federal, state and local governments. The Obama administration is worried about racial profiling. The Democrats want the Hispanic vote and the Republicans want the cheap labor. The present administration does not enforce the current federal laws and that is the major source of our national immigration problem.

Bill Quinn

Elks raise $2200

To the Editor:

The Keizer Elks Lodge held its annual garage sale on Saturday, June 26.  Donated items were sold in the parking lot of the lodge.  The proceeds of $2,205 will be donated to the Elks National Foundation, which supports our local charities such as scholarships, Hoop Shoot, drug awareness programs and veterans, to name a few.

Diane Norton
Keizer Elks Lodge

Jobless rate in June declines to 10.3%

Unemployment in the Salem area declined slightly in June  to 10.3 percent, down from the May revised rate of 10.8 percent.

It was slightly lower than the statewide June rate of 10.5 percent, and is lower than the June 2009 rate of 11 percent.

The statistics from Worksource Oregon are for  the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes Keizer.

An estimated 20,496 residents of Marion and Polk counties were unemployed in a workforce of 199,712 for the month. About 1,162 less people were unemployed than in June 2009. However, statistics also show a loss of 1,300 jobs in comparison to June 2009.

Private sector jobs fell by 100 for the month while government lost 500 positions.

“June’s employment decline was larger than is typical for the Salem MSA which normally adds about 600 jobs between May and June,” O’Connor stated.
However, he added some of the cognitive dissonance between the jobless rate – determined by a household survey – and job numbers coming from businesses has a lot to do with temporary employment created by the 2010 U.S. Census.

“Last month we added a bunch of them, which made the job picture look overly rosy,” he said.

In key sectors:

• Construction was up 200 jobs for the month. The sector has lost 500 jobs in the past year.

• Manufacturing added 200 jobs.

• Professional and business services added 100 jobs in June, and has grown by 100 positions in the past year.

• Retail trade dropped 200 positions in June, and has fallen by 800 jobs in the past year.

• Federal government lost 400 jobs, mostly attributed to the end of temporary assignments for the U.S. Census, while state government was unchanged and local government dropped 100 positions.