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Month: September 2010

Two arrested in heroin investigation

Patrick Keerins and Kris Keerins
Patrick Keerins and Kris Keerins

Two Keizer men are in police custody due to an investigation of a heroin distribution ring.

Salem Police are leading the investigation into the heroin investigation, which culminated in search warrants served at three addresses in the Salem-Keizer area. One was in Keizer, at 1268 Greenwood Drive NE. Authorities also searched at 855 Norman Street NE and a storage facility in Salem. Two vehicles from the homes were also searched.

Between arrests and searches, police said they found heroin along with some $1,200 in cash, drug packaging materials and drug paraphernalia.
Police believe one of the suspects would sit in Salem-area fast food restaurants, selling heroin for hours at a time.

Arrested were Patrick Keerins, a 53-year-old Keizer resident, and his brother, 48-year-old Kris S. Keerins. Patrick was arrested for eight counts of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, along with nine counts of delivery of a controlled substance and parole violation. Kris Keerins was charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and parole violation.

Bowling champ in Keizer Saturday

Keizer bowlers interested in sharpening their skills will have the opportunity to do so alongside Professional Bowling Association bowler Wes Malott Saturday, Sept. 25, at Town and Country Lanes.

Malott will be providing tips to the alley’s youth bowlers, signing autographs and taking pictures throughout the morning. Beginning at 1 p.m., he will be bowling alongside local talent in a tournament open to the public.

Interested bowlers can register for the tournament in advance by calling 503-390-2221, but walk-ins will be welcomed. Cost is $10 for youth and $20 for adults with $10 of each adult entry going toward a prize fund.

Malott, from Pflugerville, Texas, has rolled 26 perfect games (300) during sanctioned play.

Think of effect of a big box ban

By CHRIS PEYTON

I am deeply concerned about the possibility of the big box ban passing in Keizer.

Like so many laws and restrictions that are foisted upon us, this is another “well intentioned” effort that would have unforeseen negative effects for Keizer that would far outweigh any benefits.  With the arbitrary value of 65,000 square feet chosen as the cut-off for the ban, does this mean that a 66,000 square foot store would damage our community, increase crime in our neighborhoods and snarl traffic but a 64,000 square foot store would fit in nicely and cause none of those?  Are we to believe that a store’s benefit to the community is inversely proportional to its size?  Of course, this is ridiculous.

The economic analysis of Keep Keizer Livable (KKL) and the unions is weak.  They argue that keeping out large stores would strengthen our local businesses and benefit all Keizer residents.  This proposal is nothing but protectionism on a small scale and would bring the negative impacts that always follow protectionist policies.  Added competition brings additional services, greater product variety and lower prices for all of us, all of which would be restricted by this ban.  Jeff Anderson of United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) 55 also claims that chain stores hurt communities by lowering wages.  It’s Mr. Anderson’s ideas that are damaging: forcing artificially high wages on companies, as he does, suppresses the number of employees they can hire.  Wages are no different than any other expense and the higher they are the more limited a company will be in hiring additional workers.  Some argue that the lower wage jobs that would come with a box store aren’t what we want.  With Oregon’s unemployment rate, are we really in a position to turn away jobs because “they aren’t good enough?”

Proponents of the ban also cite increased traffic as a reason to block new businesses from locating in Keizer.  This is a legitimate concern but the solution is to make the necessary improvements to our infrastructure to handle the traffic and alleviate potential problems.  Where would we be today if the possibility of increasing traffic had been common criteria used to keep businesses out of Keizer in the past?

If we approve this ban, we have to accept that it will impact an untold number of companies in the future who may want to locate here, not just the common villain Wal-Mart.  Would KKL feel the same about a Trader Joe’s or Costco coming if their proposed stores were larger than 65,000 square feet?  This ban will create an environment that tells large companies that we don’t want their jobs, their services or their products.

Banning legal companies from coming is against the very principles that are critical to American economic prosperity. The way to voice your concern is through your mayor, city councilors and other city officials and to vote with your pocketbook by supporting the businesses you prefer.  Saying “no” to this measure is not saying “yes” to Wal-Mart; saying “no” is standing against more harmful bureaucracy.

Chris Peyton lives in Keizer.

Freilinger wants your vote for county commissioner

J. Freilinger

Jason Freilinger, a Silverton-area Democrat is seeking the county commission seat currently held by Patti Milne, a two-term Republican from Woodburn.

The Keizertimes sat down with Freilinger to find out why he’s challenging Milne and what his vision for Marion County is.

Q: Why challenge Commissioner Milne? (Editor’s note: Commissioner Janet Carlson is also up for re-election this year. She is running unopposed.)

A: “There were a couple of different reasons. One was purely logistical with the charter that was on the ballot the last time a ound. It made things very confusing as to how to structure a campaign. … I was in the same district as she would have been if it would have passed.

“And I have to honestly say I have a good deal of respect for Janet Carlson and I feel she brings a lot to the county. She’s highy intelligent, very inquisitive. When I look at striking a balance, which is very important to me as far as what we need in the county, we need a more balanced approach to land use and finance, I think my addition to the board working with Janet Carlson would be much more conducive than running against Janet.”

Q: You say you want a more balanced approach, but what does that mean to a Marion County resident?

A: “I think we are really out of balance in is how we approach our land use issues. … The commissioners have a very build-at-any-cost, move forward (approach) without thinking of do you have the infrastructure in place, are we destroying prime farmland in the process? And I feel that’s why we’re out of balance.

“I’m not a person that says all growth is bad. I definitely believe we need to have economic development and growth, in the commercial, residential and industrial sectors. But I think we can be much more thoughtful in how we do that. Now we wait for a developer to come to us and say, that’s what we want to see, and the move forward instead of creating a vision of what we want to see.”

“An example is the Mill Creek project. We said this is going to be industrial land and we’ll have the infrastructure in place … It has to be living wage jobs. Now we’re seeing companies move in there – Sanyo came in, Home Depot came in – that’s structured, it’s where we want it, it’s not next to a residential community that’s going to be damaged by it.”

Q: What’s your position on a potential Keizer urban growth boundary expansion?

A: “Once again it has to be very detailed and very thoughtful. We have to look at the land around Keizer and population growth, and ask, what is not prime farmland or not part of the park system, and say that’s where we need to expand. We need to let developers know in advance. … Keizer’s kind of bursting at the seams, but I look at the flip side, in Silverton there’s 500 vacant lots approved and inside their UGB, and no one’s moving there. …”

“The French Prairie soils north of Keizer were the whole reason the Oregon Trail existed, to come to this prime farmland. I think we do have to draw a line on our growth as far as thinking we’re going to build on the top of prime farmland. Keizer is not 100 percent butted up against prime soils, and that’s where we should be looking at expanding the urban growth boundary.”

Q: How much of that debate is emotional versus economic?

A: “Agriculture is still the number one industry in Marion County. So it is very much tied, I think, to the economics and success of Marion County. I tell people when I make decisions I make them for the next 100 years. I think that land will be much more valuable as farmland in 100 years than a residential community … You can’t go backwards. You can’t take a residential community and turn it into farmland. Is there some emotion to it? Sure. I also want to have good quality of life.”

Q: What industries would the county be poised to attract?

“I think we could be better poised for supporting high-tech and green jobs. We have the Mill Creek project, which is the biggest shovel-ready portion of land along the I-5 corridor. That makes us very marketable to various industries.”

A south-of-the-border sweet treat

A sampling of treats made at Fortaleza Bakery. (KEIZERTIMES/Joce DeWitt)

By JOCE DeWITT
For the Keizertimes

“Paso a paso.”

Step by step.

It’s how Treso Olmos, owner of Fortaleza Bakery, counters the difficulties of running a business in a place far from his roots. His motto little by little keeps the bakery running and has steadily increased the flow of loyal customers. (Fortaleza translates to “fortress.”)

Located at 3852 North River Road [MAP: 5], the bakery is not one of Keizer’s pioneering businesses. It was not built along with the town decades ago, and it is not the quaint mom and pop restaurant that Keizer families have been eating at for generations.

It is, however, a fairly new bakery that has brought Keizer a little bit of culture in the form of sweet desserts, built on the dream of a man and his family.

Olmos is the man with that dream. Originally from Juacan, Mexico, Olmos and his family moved to Keizer three years ago in hopes of beginning the business.

Opening the bakery eight months ago in Keizer, where businesses are predominantly white, was certainly a large leap of faith for Olmos and his wife, Rosa Lopez as neither are able to communicate in English.

“We feel welcome here and the people are good,” says Olmos about the town. He has nothing bad to say about how his family and dream were received by the community.

It is no wonder why the bakery is doing well, with its convenient hours, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and location on River Road.

First impressions from walking into the bakery would have one assume there is nothing particularly extraordinary about the place.

However, all it takes is a one-minute chat with Olmos or wife, Rosa to discover the efforts they contribute for a comfortable atmosphere and delightful menu.

In the shop, cookies and pastries line shelves behind glass and beautifully-decorated cakes cool in refrigerators.

“The pastries,” says Olmos, are the best part of running this business. The menu also includes empanadas, which are popular Mexican pastries that contain anything from meat to fruit.

“Our plans are to open more bakeries,” says Olmos.

When asked what the Keizer community can expect from this blossoming business, Olmos speaks of his hopes for more locations, the possibility of building a chain, and perhaps even opening shops further out in the country where he says they would do very well.

Unemployment creeps up to 10.7 percent

The jobless rate for the Salem area increased to 10.7 percent in August, a slight bump from the July rate of 10.5 percent.
Some 20,652 Marion and Polk county residents are unemployed with a labor force of 204,635 for the month, according to Worksource Oregon. Total non-farm employment was 143,600 – a loss of 700 jobs since August 2009.
Statistics are for the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Keizer.
The rate is slightly higher than the July rate, and is 0.1 percentage points higher than the statewide seasonally adjusted rate of 10.6 percent. It’s also 0.1 percent lower than the unemployment rate one year prior.
Seasonally adjusted employment fell by 600 jobs between July and August, which Regional Economist Patrick O’Connor partially attributes to 2010 U.S. Census jobs ending.
In addition, he stated, many of Salem’s seasonal jobs are in food manufacturing. With crops growing slowly, it could be that hiring is moved back several weeks, he said.
In key sectors
• Consturction was flat for the month.
• Manufacturing gained 300 jobs in August.
• Professional and business services was flat, but is showing positive over-the-year growth of 400 jobs.
• Retail added 100 jobs in August, but has lost 600 in the past year.
• Federal government shed 100 jobs, with the state adding 200 jobs and local governments adding 100 ositions.
“In recent months the Salem MSA’s unemployment rate has crept back up and is back up to the levels experienced in 2009,” O’Connor said. “A bright spot is that in September and October employment should grow as food processors hit their seasonal peak and the new school year starts up.”

Reclassifying park fines on agenda

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Fines for park violations may soon go down – way down, technically.

The most common violations committed in city parks are failure to wear a helmet at Chalmers-Jones Skate Park, typically drawing fines and surcharges totaling about $122.

But it turns out the city technically should have been charging much more. All parks violations were classified as Class A violations. The base fine for a Class A violation, set by the state, has risen to $720.

Upon making the discovery city staff decided this was simply too high, said Shannon Johnson, Keizer’s city attorney.

“They’ve gone up tremendously in the past few years based on the legislature,” Johnson said. “They’ve increased assessments, surcharges, minimum fine amounts, and the dollar amount is just way more than staff thought was appropriate.”

The Keizer City Council is set to discuss next week reclassifying parks violations, which would have the legal effect of lowering every fine. But in practice, Johnson said, rule-skirting members of the public won’t see much of a difference.

Johnson said the discrepancy was discovered when a Keizer police officer, looking into a helmet violation, researched the city’s ordinance rather than an informal sheet used internally and found the city was actually undercharging the mandated fine amount for the offense.

“We realized the ordinance had all these other violations” as a Class A violation, Johnson said.

New base fines, plus assessments will be as follows:

Class D ($90): Helmet violation, entering or remaining in closed park; illegal parking or driving within a park; violating the leash law or setting out food for animals; operating model planes, cars or rockets; playing golf; solicitation; littering or unauthorized boat use.

Class C ($180): Exclusive use without a permit; placing a booth, structure or other equipment without an event permit or permit holder’s permission; tampering with signage or gates; entertainment without a permit; abandoning, removing or hunting animals; illegal fires; and smoking on trails, in bathrooms and in fire-prone areas.

Class B ($360): Water pollution; possessing or discharging fireworks; possessing firearms without proper permits.

JUST ASK! When good license stickers go bad

Ask us a question about just about anything and we’ll find the answer.

Jason Cox, managing editor of the Keizertimes, writes of his recent experience traveling with an Oregon-issued driver’s license and a well-worn change of address sticker:

“I had wondered whether the change-of-address sticker on my driver’s license – which has worn to the point where you can’t see the address or read my name clearly – would be an issue passing through security at a pair of out-of-state airports.

“The answer was yes and no. If you look closely the expiration date and driver’s name are printed on the hard copy near the top. But Transportation Security Administration officials at one airport called my ID ‘tampered’ and officials at another airport were skeptical before noticing it ‘lights up’ like any other ID. And the doorman at a bar we visited in Washington, D.C. took a long look before finally accepting it.”

“The questions I had were twofold: How can one get a new sticker or ID, and why does the Oregon Department of Transportation do it that way in the first place?”

First of all, getting a new sticker is simple and free. Simply visit www.oregon.gov/ODOT and click on “Driver and ID info.” Under the “Driver Licenses and Permits” tab is a form to replace a damaged sticker. We filled it out and a new one can be expected within five to seven business days of the request.

As for why the state does it that way: “To save time and money,” according to David House, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

State law requires driver’s license photos to be updated every eight years, House said – the same length of time a license is valid here. In addition, an address change must be reported to the state within 30 days of the move.

To get a replacement license drivers must report in person to a local DMV office, he said. Getting a sticker is as simple as filling out an online form.

The state’s been doing it that way for “probably decades – before my time,” House said.

If you need a new sticker, just fill out the form.

“For some people who use their ID more than others, it can wear out,” House said.

If you’re out of state or otherwise can’t get a replacement in time for your trip, Jason reminds that your name is also listed in small type directly under the driver’s license number, and the expiration date is to the right of the license number. This, along with the reflective background type, was enough to satisfy officials.

There are so many ways to ask us whatever you like. Write us at [email protected], “Tweet” us on Twitter or leave a message on our Facebook page, write us or call us.

Suspicious blaze razes barn

Submitted by Keizer Fire District

A 5,000-square-foot barn at 7196 River Road N. was destroyed by a fire Sunday, Sept. 12.

Witnesses at the scene said they spotted juveniles in the vicinity of the structure shortly before first reports of fire, but those accounts have not yet been confirmed, said Fire Marshal Joel Stein, of Keizer Fire District.

The fire was reported at 4:22 p.m. and KFD crew arrived at the scene within five minutes to find heavy black smoke coming from both ends of the building. Two minutes later, before hoses could be deployed, the building was entirely engulfed in flames.

Water supplies to the area were limited and had to be brought in by tanker trucks. The building was deemed a loss nearly from the outset and fire crews turned their attention to protecting a nearby structure.

“From that point very little water was used on the [barn],” Stein said.

The barn was mostly vacant limiting losses to the structure itself, which was valued at $5,000, he added. The barn was built around 1925 and the nearby structure had formerly been used to dry wheat.

There were no reported injuries to the approximately 35 firefighters on the scene. Keizer Fire District was assisted by units from Marion County Fire District #1 and Salem Fire Department. In all, nine units were on scene and stood watch over the smoldering barn to ensure it was fully extinguished.

Prescription drug take-back program this Saturday

Local police agencies are teaming up with county and federal agencies and groups for a prescription drug take-back.

Authorities will be accepting prescription medications at several locations throughout the mid-Willamette Valley from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. In Keizer, the event is in the parking lot at Roth’s Fresh Markets.

This one-day event encourages citizens to properly dispose of expired or unwanted medications at designated collection sites to keep drugs out of the wrong hands and out of the environment. The event educates the public to store prescription drugs safely and securely to prevent accidental poisonings, drug abuse and contamination of our rivers.

Medications improperly disposed of present a risk to health, security and the environment. Improperly disposed drugs can be scavenged from garbage and abused. When drugs are flushed, they are not removed by sewage treatment facilities and septic tank systems. Drugs can enter the soil, surface water and groundwater. Studies have shown that drugs found in waterways have a serious impact on fish and other aquatic life.

Medications from deceased family members, unknown tablets and capsules, unneeded prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, veterinary medication or other drugs no longer used may be taken to the sites listed at the top of the page for proper disposal.

Medications cannot be accepted from businesses such as nursing homes, doctors’ offices or any other institution or business. Medications should be in their original containers if possible. Thermometers, needles or medical waste cannot be accepted.

The event stems from a partnership with the Community Action Drug Prevention Network, US Drug Enforcement Administration, Marion County Health Department, Marion County Public Works, Marion County Commission on Children and Families, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and the Marion Polk Food Share and the Salem, Keizer, Stayton, Turner and Silverton police departments.