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Day: August 6, 2010

Love it or lose it

The dog park at Keizer Rapids Park is garnering as many complaints as kudos.  The dog park, a vision of Keizer leaders and others, was a smash hit when it opened several years ago.  Owners socialize with friends as their dogs run free in the dog park.

The park is fenced, one side built for large dogs and the other side for small dogs..

The city built the dog park with the help of volunteer labor and financial donations including a large contribution by Keizer Veterinary Clinic.  After only a few years the dog park’s glory has faded.  There is no source of running water for the dogs.  The grass, what there is of it, is not tended.  The odor of dog urine is strong due to the lack of consistent irrigation.  Some people have stopped going to the park and instead walk their dogs through Keizer Rapids Park.

Financial donors to the dog park are understandably dismayed by the condition of the park.  Some are wondering what has happened to the money that was given specifically for amenties at the dog park.

We can not continue to build things in Keizer and worry about its operation later.  There needs to be an operational plan.  If the city doesn’t have the budget to maintain the park, then it, the mayor and the city council, should rally the volunteers to achieve what the city can’t:  extend water to the park, maintain the grass, provide shade, benches and more.

The dog park has been a gem in the city’s park system.  Many days finds the park filled with dogs and their owners.  But how long will that be the case if it is not maintaned properly.

Users of the dog park can only look longingly at the manicured landscaping around the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre, only steps away.  The amphitheatre stage and seating is complemented by lush, green, watered grass.  That is the result of volunteers who built the venue and spend countless hours and labor to see their creation  remains a viable attraction.

If it is not taken care of, the city should consider closing it to the public until it has the money to maintain it; or, until volunteers step up to take care of it themselves.

It would be a shame if it came to pass that the park had to close.  Many residents depend on it.  It is a social gathering place.  It is a wonderful place for dogs to run free and play with other dogs.

The city needs to develop a plan for its future.  Park System Development fees should be used to install water for irrigation of the grass and to provide water for its clients—Keizer’s dogs.

—LAZ

A little Mozart?

The Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre at Keizer Rapids Park is fulfilling its vision of bringing concerts and other events to its stage.

So far the music has been rock and roll—both oldies and contemporary.  After this season’s schedule, which is already set, the city and schedulers of the amphitheatre should strive to mix up the shows.

Children’s theatre, Shakespeare in the park and classical music have often been mentioned as possible shows.  Rock and roll shows have brought the people to the park.  There are other entertainment seekers whose needs are not being met.

Next summer we would like to see a string quartet or a symphony present a show that people can enjoy while dining out of a picnic basket.  The amphitheatre is an asset that should expand its offerings so everyone feels welcome to come, sit and listen.

My plan to put Oregon to work

By JOHN KITZHABER

We have a common set of challenges that in one way or another affect all of us – challenges that can only be met if we meet them together. How we confront and overcome these challenges will define Oregon for many years to come.

As the only candidate in the race with direct experience creating jobs and working with the private sector to grow existing Oregon businesses and attracting new investment to the state, I know what it takes – and I have a plan – to put Oregon back to work. During my time as governor, wages rose by 49 percent and state economic productivity increase by 48 percent.

Over the past several months, I have traveled around the state, meeting with business and community leaders, refining a plan for getting our economy back on track. I will:

• Invest in Training.  Immediately put people back to work in high-demand jobs through training programs in our community colleges.

• Upgrade our Schools.  Create immediate, skilled jobs to upgrade schools across the state, putting people back to work and improving the learning environment.  Best yet, these upgrades can pay for themselves through energy cost savings.

• Use Oregon’s Money for Oregon, Not Wall Street.  Nearly all of Oregon’s investment funds are invested out of state by out of state money managers.  Instead, we should use in-state managers and support our community banks, allowing them to start lending again to Oregon’s small businesses.

• Strengthen our Oregon Networks.  Ensure that our public dollars are purchasing Oregon-produced goods and services through procurement standards.

• Focus on our own small- and medium-sized businesses.  These businesses often need specialized services and assistance with access to new markets and capital to grow.  Working with private networks and leveraging our own capital, we can create help these businesses thrive.

My jobs plan goes hand-in-hand with work that must be done to put Oregon’s fiscal house in order. As governor, I will bring our resources and expenditures back into balance in a way that provides a solid foundation from which to rebuild.

We need view our next budget not in terms of how we “cut” $2 billion but rather how we take the revenue we have and invest it in what matters most. By doing this, I will bring an end to the short-term thinking and budgeting that causes Oregon to stagger from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis – and deliver a new beginning by moving to a ten-year budget framework.

And over the long term, we must reinvest in our education system, from the youngest children to our post-secondary institutions, and drive down fixed costs such as energy and healthcare.

My campaign has been organized around offering these real solutions, and we need them now more than ever. Our problems certainly will not be solved through slogans or 30-second television commercials.

As an Oregonian, a doctor, a legislator and a governor, I have spent my life fighting for Oregon and for Oregonians. The challenges we face today require experience, leadership, the determination to never settle for the status quo, and an unbreakable commitment to put Oregon families first. That is exactly what I bring to this race – and will do as your governor.

John Kitzhaber served as Oregon’s governor from 1994 to 2002; he is the Democratic nominee for governor in November’s election.

Support makes Keizer a great place

To the Editor:

My son, Skyler Crenshaw, fell off a roof here in Keizer on July 11th this year.  He had broken ribs, fractured spine, broken collar bone, punctured both lungs, lacerated his spleen and kidney.  His spleen ruptured and they had to rush him into surgery to remove his spleen, he had internal bleeding and then a second surgery to fix his collar bone with plates and screws.

Words can not describe the support from everyone in the Keizer community.  I would love to list names, but am sure I would forget a few names, so I would like to take this time to say “thank you” to everyone in Keizer for the warm wishes, the thoughts and prayers, and everyone who has offered to help with anything they can.  It warms my heart to know that so many people are there for us in our time of need.

Skyler and I want to say “thank you”!

Trish Crenshaw
Keizer

The legacy of Councilor Walsh

To the Editor:

I have had the opportunity to work alongside Richard Walsh for three years, and consider myself fortunate to call him a colleague and a friend.

Rich has served admirably as a Keizer city councilor for the past 10 years.  His dedication and impact on the area are far-reaching and will be visible for years, most notably with the development of Keizer Rapids Park.

The citizens of Keizer owe a huge thank you to Rich for giving so much of himself for the benefit of the community.

Brandon Smith
Keizer

The writer is member of the Keizer City Council.

Do we know what we’ve got in Keizer?

To the Editor:

As you go in the main entrance to Keizer Station off to the right is an old house. The City of Keizer just acquired the property. Almost 30 years ago that house was moved there from site where the Faith Lutheran Church now sits.

I have yet to hear the city’s plan for it but based on the near past, my guess is either be burned or torn down. This would be another loss of Keizer’s past.

I would love to see it saved and moved to another location in Keizer but the question is where should it go? I have a couple of suggestions.

It could be moved to the 400 block of Marino Drive and be put in place of the house with the sod roof. This would would be a difficult move to a tight spot. Another spot is to the site of the old Keizer Dairy on Verda Lane between Chemawa and Dearborn. It could join the  Huber house.

After talking to some of my neighbors, we all thought a good place for the house would be in Keizer Station, by the creek, and make a show place out of it.

Perhaps we could get HGTV program Massive Move to film it for their show and get some free advertisement for the city.

Moving houses is nothing new to Keizer if you talk to some of the old timers, as it was done a lot.

It was a lesson taught me by Walter Knott, the founder of Knott’s Berry Farm. He thought it was important to keep old buildings so people could see the past, not just read about. I saw them move St. Mark’s Episcopal Church from Downey to Buena Park in California,  a journey of almost 25 miles.

As Joni Mitchell sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Peter DeBeck
Keizer

Being polite in a tricky situation

By ALLEN PRELL

When does political correctness become a fault? When others feel vindicated telling the “brutally honest truth.”

When I was younger, my father  told me to avoid the topics of sex, politics, and religion until you  know the person  well. The same philosophy was repeated by my current manager, when discussing business. Never discuss these sensitive issues unless the client brings them up. Then, avoid any incriminating comments.

During the Miracle of Christmas lighting season  here in Keizer, I was approached by a neighbor as I walked the  route and asked, “Do you people put up lights?” Referring to the fact I am of the Jewish faith.

“You know you are the chosen ones,” I am told. We never really discussed faith, and she stated “As a good Christian, I hold your people of high regard.” This neighbor was embarrassing herself, showing her complete lack of understanding of the Jewish faith. As well intended as she was, she had a lack of understanding of her own faith. But, I continued on my walk disregarding our conversation, when I believe others would have entered into a deep discussion.

I was with a client during a lunch meeting and the topic came up about politics.  My client is a history  buff,  has business sense, and well respected as a local physician.

He stated “We wouldn’t be in this mess if it were not for President Obama. My taxes are going up and those liberals are creating such a mess.” How do I approach this conversation? Do I tell him I voted for both President Bush and President Obama? Or simply listen quietly?  But, the best was yet to come. He stated: “I was informed by my staff, you’re of the Jewish faith. I would like to share a Jewish joke I heard.” After I hear the joke, do I laugh out of politeness or tell my client I am offended? Maybe I should share a Christian joke or perhaps a Chinese joke, respecting his background. In the end, I listen politely.

I visited a friend who has three children,  age ten and above. Money is tight and the discussion came up about  increasing debts.

“We are so proud of our church and community,” he said. “My job is going well, although  I have not had to pay raise in years.” Then he told me the exciting news.

“My wife is pregnant”, he said with a half smile. Wonderful? Friends and family are going to be congratulating the family. Well wishes from the church and neighbors. But, will my political honesty come through? Why have a child now, when money is already very tight? Raising a child is very expensive. This was not a planned pregnancy. Is the morning after pill an option? The church will help those in need I understand, but this family would not be in need if it was not for having children they could not afford to have.  Again, I keep my views to myself.

Some people would comment after reading this article, “Get a backbone”, others would say, “You’re too soft, stand up for your beliefs.” But, these issues have been dealt with in the past with a heavier hand from me, and the comments and backlash to my honest and forthright response was heard for years afterward.  Passion of ones beliefs leads to each individual’s commitment to stand up for what they believe and what they will fight for. Political correctness is an outreach of those standards.

Allen Prell lives in Keizer.

Egli to run as Walsh drops out

R. Walsh

Councilor cites work, family in decision

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes

Councilor Richard Walsh has said he won’t run for re-election to the Keizer City Council in a surprise announcement made just three weeks before the filing deadline.
He endorsed Joe Egli, who would be a first-term councilor, to run for his seat. (See related story.)

In a letter to Keizerites, Walsh cited a need to “devote more time to my family and law practice.” He is entering the last year of his second full term, but has actually been on the council for 10 years.

Walsh told the Keizertimes he would remain in Keizer – and that he’s still got goals set for the next few months.

“I’m looking forward to working on acquiring the additional acreage at Keizer Rapids Park, working toward medical facilities and employment opportunities in (Keizer Station’s) Area B, I’m looking forward to bringing employment opportunities to Area C and master planning both.”

Walsh, who owns a law firm in Keizer, was appointed in August 2000 to fill the remaining term of Councilor Craig Campbell, who had resigned.

In the intervening years Walsh played a large role in planning Keizer Station and was on council while the civic center was planned and ultimately built.

He served on more than a dozen boards, committees, task forces and commissions, and is a registered adult leader for the Boy Scouts of America’s Troop 121.

He’s also on St. Edward Catholic Church’s administrative council and volunteers there regularly, and is a former treasurer of Keizer Elementary’s Parent Teacher Club.

But it’s Keizer Rapids Park that he is most proud of, and what Mayor Lore Christopher will remember his time on the council for.

“We would not have that park without Richard Walsh,” Christopher said. “And he was tenacious. We all thought he was crazy.”

“We gave him $300,000 in parks systems development charges … and through his personal commitment and work along with city staff, he got $3 million,” Christopher added.

The mayor cited his “strength in bringing people together” as key to the project’s success.

“He got people together to commit to common interests,” Christopher said, including recently when he organized local sports groups to come together in supporting a facilities scheduling system. “Rich is wonderful at doing that.”

Councilor Cathy Clark said Walsh “has made a big difference to our city.

“He’s been a tremendous leader and visionary,” Clark said. “He works tirelessly, giving of himself – very above and beyond. His leadership has made such a huge difference for Keizer. He will be missed, but he won’t be gone.”

As an attorney, Christopher said, Walsh often offered a “second opinion” of sorts on legal matters.

“He’s 360 degrees of analysis,” Christopher said. “Sometimes you think, ‘Come on, let’s cut to the chase!’ But Richard has always been absolutely dogged about it … He’s able to look forward and say, yes there’s a small percentage of possibility X could happen in 20 years, but I want you to be aware.”

She said the community was “very fortunate Richard Walsh is not moving. He’s a committed father, a committed church member and committed Keizer citizen. He will stay engaged when his time allows him to do so.”

Recognizing his work on the Keizer Library Task Forces, including a four-year stint as chair, Walsh was recently appointed to the Keizer Community Library’s advisory board. In his remaining time on council, Walsh wants to find a way to provide stable funding to the volunteer-run library via donations and grants.

He said Keizer Station, as contentious as talks were at times, is a source of pride, as is the River Road Renaissance project.

“The most important thing about River Road Renaissance is we kept a promise,” Walsh said. “To me, I look at that as a piece of Keizer Station.

“When we started it in 2000, that was basically the time we were at a crossroads and had to decide which way to go … Did we want to just forget about what they called the Chemawa Activity Center, there was a lot of discussion about just discarding it altogether and letting individual land owners (go) every man for himself, or do we have a plan … It has been a major accomplishment for everyone on the Council.”

And he wouldn’t rule out future shots at elected office.

“I see that I need to refocus some of my energy on the short term, and then as I’m able I would like to become more involved again,” Walsh said. “Whether that’s in the form of working on a community sports program as a citizen, or as an elected official, that’s for the future to decide.

“I’ll miss being on Council. I’ll certainly miss it. But you have to keep your priorities straight,” he said. “It takes precious time with your family and work, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and law practice.”

He thanked his wife, children, city staff, fellow city councilors and staff, and “all the volunteers.

“There’s just so many people; I couldn’t possibly list them without leaving people out,” he said. “I just want everyone to know how grateful I am … I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to serve on Council, and I’m not going anywhere. I’m still going to be a proud citizen of Keizer. It’s really just a refocus of priorities rather than a wholesale change of anything.”

——————————————————————-

Says he’s ready for the job

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes

Joe Egli was likely to run for Keizer City Council at some point in the future.
He just didn’t realize, until recently, it would be so soon.

“I looked at who was running this year … they were all good candidates and I didn’t want to disrupt any flow that they had,” Egli said. “I was going to do it in a couple of years.”

Egli, who was elected by Keizer Chamber of Commerce members to be its president this year, said Councilor Richard Walsh informed him last week of his decision not to seek another four-year term in office.

He’s already garnered endorsements from Walsh and Mayor Lore Christopher.

He filed paperwork to seek the seat on Tuesday, Aug. 3. He has exactly three weeks from that date to turn in enough signatures to make the ballot.

“My goal is to just listen to our citizens and do what we feel is best for Keizer,” Egli said. “I want to represent my demographics as well as I can. I have two kids, I live and work in this community, I have friends in this community, and I want to continue to improve it without giving up the hometown feel that makes us who we are – the pride, spirit and volunteerism.”

He works for R. Bauer Insurance.

At Steam-Up, it’s in with the old

Tractors and other heavy-duty equipment, not too mention a few military vehicles, were a familiar site at last weekend’s Great Oregon Steam-Up at Antique Powerland in Brooks. This photo was taken during the parade. (KEIZERTIMES/Lance Masterson)

By JOCE DEWITT
For the Keizertimes

Preserving the past; enriching the future.

For 40 years Brooks historians have put this tradition to use and held to it during this summer’s Great Oregon Steam-Up in Brooks’ Antique Powerland the past two weekends.

The event is an opportunity to revel in the art of heritage machinery, which includes anything from antique cameras to caterpillar machinery.

“This is how they did things back then,” says Kevin Engel of his antique John Deere engine, a green and red apparatus with wheels, a cable and a spout. “These were for anything we use an electric motor for now.”

David Brown’s elevator governor, one of three on display, is a fascinating and complex piece designed to save the first elevators and their passengers from plummeting to their deaths.

“The brake and pinch cables stop the elevator from travelling a certain amount of feet per second. People were dying on elevators before this was invented,” says Brown, a Steam-Up participant of 13 years.

A walk through Antique Powerland gives spectators a very distinct sense of the period in which the machinery was originally constructed.

Just past the entrance are the flea market and exhibit area, a shared space where designers present their contraptions and educate the public.

East of the exhibit area lays the military antique display with old tanks boasting large guns designed to intimidate any World War I enemy.

North of the military display customers eat ice cream made by a steam engine as the steam sawmill nearby smell of freshly-cut cedar and furnace fire.

Noises of all sorts are heard throughout the day. Bursts of steam are often released from the mill and the deafening sound of an old locomotive frequently startles passersby.

The most exciting sound to be heard on Saturday, however, was a fire truck siren.

“The fire trucks went code three towards the other side of the bushes,” says Gene Arnold, who operates radio equipment and witnessed the trucks passing through. “It’s under control,” says Arnold. “But it was a fire.”

Though the likelihood of a fire occurring so close to the event again is slim, such incidents prove there is hardly a dull moment at the Steam-Up.

A five minute walk north of the great steam engine is the arena for lumberjack demonstrations that occur four times each day. The audience watches as two logging teams compete in ax-throwing, sawing, climbing and log-rolling.

Near the arena is a vast space for what is known as Collector’s Paradise, a swap meet that could be mistaken for the world’s largest yard sale. Antiques of every shape, size and age are gathered onto tables and sold at bargain prices.

In the heart of all the commotion lays the quaint Depot Museum, which is continuously maintained by the Brooks Historical Society.

Adele Egan of the historical society board claims, “We tell three stories: the history of transportation, the history of agriculture, which is why a train came through Brooks in the first place; and the history of community.”

Upon celebrating its 40th anniversary, this year’s Steam-Up boasted countless charming participants and machinery.

“This has been a very good year,” says Egan.

Construction company needs help for Extreme Makeover

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is coming to the Mid-Willamette Valley.

Full details had not yet been released as of press time, but a builder has been selected.

Rich Duncan Construction will lead the effort and needs volunteers to help complete the task. Needed are everyone from concrete finishers to electricians and painters.

To volunteer or learn more, visit www.richduncanconstruction.com.

Hosted by Ty Pennington, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” has aired on ABC since 2004.