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Month: June 2011

Boat ramp gets funding



Of the Keizertimes

If all goes well, by late next summer Keizerites won’t have to leave town to put that boat in the river.

A $1.08 million boat ramp at Keizer Rapids Park is one step closer to reality, with the Oregon State Marine Board approving funding for three-fourths of the project.

The Marine Board met in Sisters Monday to dole out grants for waterway projects throughout the state. The city will be required to come up with some $250,000 in either cash or in-kind contributions.

“Any volunteering, donations or in-kind work people are willing to contribute will count against our match, so our desire is to reduce that level of $250,000 as much as we can,” said Community Development Director Nate Brown.

System development charges collected for parks will also be used, he said.

Installing a boat ramp is a requirement of grants the city has already received from the Marine Board for property acquisition, Brown said.

“This is a fulfillment of that obligation,” Brown said. “The Marine Board funded a portion of the property acquisition.”

Plans call for a single-lane boat ramp, a parking lot with room for 60 vehicles, an access road and restrooms. Should the grant be approved Brown said design drawings should be ready in spring 2012, with construction commencing that summer.

The city already has required permits from the Department of State Lands and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Currently the closest upstream boat ramp is at Wallace Marine Park, with downstream ramps at Wheatland Ferry and Willamette Mission State Park.

The letter sent June 16 from the Oregon Marine Board states upstream travel to Keizer Rapids is constrained by rapids, shallow water and gravel bars during summer, and developing this boat ramp “will open a stretch of the Willamette River that is currently inaccessible except to local waterfront residents with boats, or during higher flows in winter and spring.”

The letter adds the project “appears to pose little adverse impacts on adjacent land uses or the environment.”

Where to find fireworks shows all weekend long

File Photo

While the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are on the road on the Fourth of July, they’re setting off fireworks at all three games Friday-Sunday at Volcanoes Stadium.

Game time is 7:05 for all three contests; fireworks come after the game. Friday and Saturday’s games come against the Everett Aquasox, while the Volcanoes face the Vancouver Canadians on Sunday, July 3.

Looking elsewhere in the mid-valley and beyond:


The 88th Annual Molalla Buckaroo Rodeo brings the first of four days of fireworks. The rodeo is at 815 Shirley Street in Molalla.

In Woodburn, gunpowder launches at 9:30 p.m. at Woodburn Company Stores. Event is free, with special sales in various outlet stores kicking off at 8 p.m.


And the 88th Annual Molalla Buckaroo Rodeo brings the second of four days of fireworks.

On the coast, Pacific City gets in on the act.



In St. Paul, there’s a fireworks display on July 3 as part of the St. Paul Rodeo.

And in Independence, day one of two days of fireworks displays start at dusk as part of Independence Days, a four-day festival that includes a Fourth of July Hometown Parade, carnival, vendors, live music, games and art shows.

In Molalla, day three of the Buckaroo Rodeo brings more fireworks.

And The Oregon Garden is shooting off fireworks to celebrate 10 years in Silverton as part of an all-day event.

Oceanside, Waldport and Yachats are hosting displays.


In Salem, fireworks begin at dusk at Salem Riverfront Park, located at 101 Front Street. Festivities kick off at 2 p.m., including food and beverage booths, family-friendly entertainment, live music and antique cars.

In Independence, July 4 brings day two of fireworks as part of Independence Days.

And in Mill City, a dusk fireworks display on July 4 caps off a weekend of events that include a noon parade, family games, food vendors and more centered around Kimmel Park July 2-4.

McMinnville brings its display at dusk Monday, July 4, on the Amity High School football field.

Detroit Lake State Park hosts a fireworks display at dusk.

Stayton’s fireworks begin at dusk as the headliner for a day-long festival that includes a 4 p.m. parade.

Mt. Angel lights up the sky after a parade and a concert by the Marion County Citizens Band.

And in Molalla, the fourth and final day of fireworks brings the 88th Annual Molalla Buckaroo rodeo to a conclusion.

Our neighbors to the north are also hosting displays on July 4:

• Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, 10:05 p.m., Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito Parkway, Portland. Donation of $10.

• Fort Vancouver, 10:05 p.m., 1501 E. Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, Wash., $7 at the gate, $5 in advance.

• Oaks Park Pepsi Fireworks Spectacular, 9:55 p.m. (dusk), 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland. $5 for $16 and over, $2 for 15 and under, $3 for seniors.

• Corbett Oregon Fun Festival, dusk, in Corbett. It’s $7, kids 3 and under are free.

On the coast, Fourth of July fireworks displays in Port Orford, Gardiner, Florence, Lincoln City, Newport, Depoe Bay, Rockaway Beach, Seaside, Astoria and Coos Bay kick off at dusk.

Making a splash this summer

How to cool off in Keizer & Salem

Parks and pools in both Salem and Keizer offer plenty of ways to cool off this summer.

Salem have five splash fountains in its parks, and Keizer has one behind the civic center on Chemawa Road NE.

In Salem, fountains at River Road Park and Riverfront are open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily, while Fairmount, Northgate and Wes Bennett parks are operating noon – 8 p.m. Englewood Park opens June 30 and will operate noon – 8 p.m. All are open every day.

If you wanna splash around in Keizer, first check the forecasted temperature: If it’s 75 degrees or up, come on in!

The fountain will be open 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, then July 4th weekend, then every Wednesday-Sunday through Labor Day weekend. Updated information will be posted at

For a more immersive experience hit up two public swimming pools in the area:  The Salem Kroc Center (503-566-5762) at 1865 Bill Frey Drive NE, and the Olinger Pool (503-588-6332) at 1310 A Street NE.

Rates at the Kroc Center are $5 for a day pass. Starting July 1 that goes up to $7 for those aged 18-61, kids and those 62 and up remain at $5.

Summer hours are Monday-Thursday noon-6 p.m.,  reopening at 7 p.m. and going until 9 p.m. Fridays the pool is open noon – 9 p.m., Saturdays hours are 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sundays are 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

At Olinger Pool, rates are $2 for youth 2-12, $4 for teens 13-18, $5 for adults 19-64, $4 for seniors and $13 for a family pass. Visit, roll over the Salem Family YMCA link and click Programs, then Aquatics for current hours.

The wave pool at Evergreen Wings & Waves waterpark was hopping on its debut weekend. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Evergreen Wings & Waves splashes down in the Valley

Evergreen Aviation added a new building to their growing Evergreen Aviation Museum: Evergreen Wings & Waves water park in McMinnville.

The park has lots of cool features, including a wave pool and four water slides. Each of the color-coded slides begin in a hollowed out airplane nestled on the roof of the building. Once patrons make it up the stairs and through the lines, they can dash down on a free single or double inner tube (for the Sonic Boom, Nosedive, or Tailspin) and arrive at the bottom in a sort of “landing zone.” Another slide, the Mach 1, requires only your body and completes the ride by dumping you in a pool.

Televisions around the park allow less brave patrons to watch others as they speed down the slides.  There are also smaller kid slides and play areas, as well as a “vortex pool” and swimming pool.

The park has two predictable drawbacks: the cost and the crowds. Admission is $25 for those patrons under 42 inches tall, and $30 for those taller than 42 inches (the height requirement for the slides). Children under 3 are free. There is plenty of parking, but be prepared to spend some time in line if you want to ride the slides.

Keizer cop is ‘Toughest Competitor Alive’

Andrew Copeland with his Keizer Police vehicle (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Of the Keizertimes

Fair warning to Keizer’s bad guys: Don’t run from Sgt. Andrew Copeland. You won’t win.

You probably won’t be able to scale a rope faster than him.

And even though he considers it his Achilles’ heel, swimming might not be smart either.

Maybe it’s just not a good idea to mess with a man who just beat out dozens of physically-fit cops and firefighters to win the Toughest Competitor Alive competition – a grueling grind of eight events that include a 5K cross-country run, obstacle course, rope climb, bench press, pullups, shotput and 100 meters each on land and in water.

You won’t be surprised to learn Copeland, 33, has been a competitor since he was a kid. He’s not a big guy, standing only 5’10”, but earned his way onto the Western Oregon University football team after playing a variety of positions in his senior year at McNary High School.

The Celt alum played running back, receiver, and all the defensive backfield positions at one point or another during his final year before graduating in 1995. (If his surname sounds familiar it should: Cousin Stephen Copeland quarterbacked the 1997 championship squad.) He also competed in long jump, high jump and javelin.

Moving on to WOU, he spent four years on the team playing wide receiver, three of those in the starting lineup. After college he got the first police job he applied to, and has been at Keizer Police nine years now.

Obviously his athletic background comes in handy when a suspect takes off on foot, but it has other benefits, too.

“There’s a lot of stressors to police work,” Copeland said. “You deal with people you wish you didn’t have to, you see things you wish you didn’t see. You have a lot of different emotions.

“(And) what I find is a healthy workout routine actually reduces stress for me,” he continued. “It gives me some consistency in my life … the endorphins it releases makes me all-around better at home and at work. You have other releases and other contacts and other ways to communicate rather than just dealing with cops and bad guys.”

The stereotype of cops scarfing doughnuts all shift long doesn’t do a lot of Keizer’s officers justice. All police officers have to meet a fitness standard, and some take it further, entering marathons and triathlons.

“There’s guys who do crossfit and stuff like that,” Copeland said. “We’re always talking about the workout of the day. There’s one guy in particular, we compete a little bit to see who can do the most pushups and pullups.”

Yeah, but who wins?

“I do, so far.”

Eating right isn’t so simple when you work 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. nine months out of the year. Copeland says preparation is the key. Fruits and nuts replace potato chips and cookies in the pantry.

“I also try to make the snacks I bring to work a little healthier,” Copeland said. “Instead of eating Doritos you get a frozen bag of strawberries.”

It’s good everyday training, especially if you were to enter a contest called the Toughest Competitor Alive. Sgt. Jeff Goodman had competed in the past, Copeland said, and turned him on to the event.

It’s a one-day grind: “Each one in and of itself isn’t difficult,” Copeland said. “What made it hard was it started at 7 in the morning and it ended at 5 at night.”

Run a 5K, rest, then climb a rope. Catch your breath, then swim 100 meters.

“The swim. The swim,” Copeland answers when asked what his potential downfall was. “I didn’t have access to a swimming pool to train. I went to Courthouse (Athletic Club) and swam about a month before… And it’s not like you can just go hop in a lake or a river around here. … I don’t know if I finished dead last in my division, but I know I was pretty close.”

He won the 5K, and won a couple others that must have blurred together, because he can’t remember what they were.

But it’s kind of like what “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase used to say about winning: At the day’s end they don’t wanna know how, they just wanna know who won.

“I feel pretty fortunate to have won; I really do,” Copeland said.

Copeland lives in Keizer with his wife and four children.

Mayor looks to ease growth boundary tension with Salem

Keizer Mayor Lore Christopher
Mayor Lore Christopher


Of the Keizertimes

While some city councilors were still stinging over remarks made at a Salem City Council work session earlier this month, Mayor Lore Christopher said the two communities are “in counseling,” a nod to the matrimonial terminology that has been used to describe the Keizer-Salem relationship.

At that work session several councilors had advocated a regional approach to possible urban growth boundary (UGB) expansion, i.e. essentially treating Salem and Keizer as one community for planning purposes.

Christopher sought to strike a balance between that viewpoint while not conceding all major future development in the area to Salem.

“Employees don’t know boundaries, crime doesn’t know boundaries,” Christopher said. The mayor said a split of the boundary would only be palatable “if we have no other alternative.”

Other councilors, however, questioned how willing Salem’s leaders may be to listen to Keizer’s case.

“Some of the comments we heard from Salem’s meeting kind of made it sound like, well, Keizer made their bed 30 years ago and you’re going to have to lie in it,” said Councilor Brandon Smith. “That didn’t sit too well with me.”

“I don’t think we say, ‘we really absolutely don’t want to do this,’” said Councilor Jim Taylor.  “If you can’t work well with us we’re going for it.”

Christopher added she’d received two apologies from Salem city councilors over remarks that Keizerites chose limited options for expansion upon incorporation in 1982.

The relationship between the two communities is significant because four jurisdictions –  Salem, Keizer, Marion County and Polk County –  would all have to agree on a UGB amendment. Should the jurisdictions be unable to agree the next step could be going to the Salem Keizer Area Planning Advisory Committee (SKAPAC) for conflict resolution.

Meanwhile staff urged the council last week to seek paths of least resistance before proposing splitting the UGB.

This included adopting projected population numbers the city’s top planner said were less likely to cause legal headaches than higher numbers. The city council tentatively agreed on a projected population of 48,089 in 20 years. This number is used by planners to indicate how much land a city may need to accommodate expected future populations.

And speaking of marital terms, Community Development Director Nate Brown told councilors opting for a UGB split could “jeopardize the positive working relationship we’ve had with Salem in the recent past” and “would be a big cost in resources and time” with not-so-significant gains.

“The costs far outweigh the benefits at this time,” Brown said. “If we get to the point in the future that we find issues that are at an impasse and are unresolvable… we look at it.”

Next stop for McNary alum: Kenya

Trevor Bassett-Smith, with dad Ron and brother-in-law Daniel Unck, prepare to fire up a rebuilt engine during Trevor’s senior year in high school. Trevor, now 23, is headed to Kenya to work in the Peace Corps. (Submitted photo)

Of the Keizertimes

When Trevor Bassett-Smith got off the field during his final McNary High School football game, he wasn’t greeted, as he expected, by his mother. He was met by friends of the family.

“They told me that my mom had gone to the hospital to be with my dad,” Trevor said.

Trevor’s father, Ron Bassett-Smith, had been battling with cancer and a malformed kidney, both the result of exposure to the synthetic pesticide DDT while serving in Vietnam. Ron had recently undergone surgery to treat kidney issues and doctors knicked an artery that been displaced because of the malformation. He’d already undergone one surgery to repair the bleeding, but it ruptured again while Trevor was on the field.

Tom Smythe, McNary’s then-football coach, drove Trevor to the hospital to meet his parents.

“The first words out my dad’s mouth were, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, but how was your game,” Trevor, now 23, said. “Even then he still wanted to give me so much.”

Trevor’s relationship with his father weighed heavily in his decision to apply for the Peace Corps last year and he deployed on assignment to Kenya earlier this month.

“I started thinking that I had a lot of opportunities in my life that were handed to me, and I thought it would be a good choice to give to someone else who didn’t have those opportunities,” Trevor said.

Smythe and Soren Sorenson, Trevor’s track and field coach at Willamette University, were also a factor in his desire to give back some of the generosity he’s received.

“Coach Smythe was the was the first person who gave me respect when I worked hard in athletics, and no matter how hard I worked at Willamette, Soren was willing to work harder for me.”

He graduated from Willamette last year with a degree in economics and



minor in German, and planned on pursuing a career in track and field competition until a shoulder surgery last fall put the kibosh on those hopes. A friend Trevor played football with had mentioned he was checking out the Peace Corps and, with athletics sliding out of view, Trevor decided to join its ranks.

“The application process takes about a year and they make you write a number of essays. By the end, you’ve got a good idea of your potential and attached a lot of emotions to going by the time you get an assignment,” Trevor said.

His first stop was Philadelphia for staging and then he headed to Kenya for a 10-week pre-service training. He’ll live with a host family while directing his efforts to learning Swahili. After that, he’ll travel to Loitokitok, Kenya, on the border of Kenya and Tanzania at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In Loitokitok, he’ll be putting his economics degree to work for local Kenyan business owners.

“Basically, I’ll be working with small mom-and-pop business with low-level business skills and teaching them how to keep business ledgers, and do marketing and leadership training,” Trevor said.

Working with business people will be his 9-to-5 job, but in his spare time he’s been tapped to help at orphanages, promote HIV/AIDS awareness, teach introductions to sports like baseball and basketball and offer seminars on American culture and teach basic English language courses and life skills classes.

He spent the weeks leading up to the trip talking to classes at McNary about what the Peace Corps application process was like and his motivations for his trip, including his father’s story.  When he returns, Trevor is thinking about pursuing a master’s degree in international relations, but for the time being, he said, his primary focus is excitement for everything to come.

“It’s going to be rough, but it’s so exciting and bigger than me. It’s too great an opportunity to not be excited,” Trevor said. “I’ll really be able to broaden my view of the world, live in another culture, be away from a lot of the commercialism we have in the U.S., and be with people who have less, but are no less happy.”

Just Ask! Can urban renewal build bus turnouts?

Just Ask!

Ask us a question about just about anything and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find the people who can. Just Ask is a recurring Keizertimes feature.

“Can the money they get for the River Road Renaissance be used for more practical purposes, such as turn outs for the buses or even updating the traffic signal devices on River Road for better traffic flow?”

– Peter D., Keizer


Dear Peter,

Starting from the south end of town, the Urban Renewal District starts at the city limits and stretches east to take in Cherry Avenue. It also has Candlewood Drive.

Then the district boundaries narrow where River and Cherry meet, extending north to about Country Glen Avenue. It also goes down Lockhaven Drive and takes in Keizer Station.

All increment taxes collected by the district must be spent on “capital improvements and land within the boundaries of the district,” said City Attorney Shannon Johnson. Money can also be used to pay bonds used on bigger projects or for administrative costs (a portion of several city employees’ salary is paid by urban renewal income).

Program income is another type of revenue, in Keizer’s case proceeds from land sales at Keizer Station. That money is limited to similar uses, but under some circumstances can be spent outside the district boundaries, Johnson said. This money is being used to purchase property adjacent to Keizer Rapids Park.

To get to the heart of your question:  Yes. A bus turnout, in particular, would qualify, Johnson said. But the urban renewal district plan would have to be modified to do so. A traffic signal “may qualify” Johnson said.

And furthermore, the district may not be around much longer. Mayor Lore Christopher wants to sunset it in 2012.

Got a question? E-mail us ([email protected]), call us at 503-390-1051, post on our Facebook page or tweet us on Twitter.

Counselor helped kids map future

McNary High School students bid farewell to a beloved school counselor last week. Pictured, from left, are Alex Hitchcock, Criselda Manriquez, Damaris Escobar, Amy Martinez, Judy Peterson, Randy Varney, Lukas Austin Breen and Ashley Stickles. Peterson is retiring after nearly three decades, and her position is being eliminated due to budget cuts by the Salem-Keizer School District. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School loses nearly three decades of experience as their career counselor, Judy Peterson, retires and her position is eliminated, but her value to the students goes beyond the input she’s had in helping them plan their lives beyond high school.

“Without her, we wouldn’t be as sure about what we’re doing or even know what to do. She’s always there standing behind us in our decisions,” said Randy Varney, a recent graduate of McNary and one of Peterson’s student aides. “She’s made a big difference and I don’t know if people realize how hard her job is. Without her job, a lot of kids aren’t even going to know where to start for college.”

Peterson’s role at the school and as part of the Keizer community made her an indispensable resource for a generation of Celtic students as she helped them navigate the stormy waters of high school and chart a course for whatever came next. Career counselor positions are being eliminated at all Salem-Keizer High Schools in response to a $55 million budget crunch, but Peterson doesn’t plan on calling it quits completely.

“I’m already working on plans to go into middle schools and come back [to McNary] to talk to kids as a guest speaker,” Peterson said.

Eliminating the position of career counselor means that students will have to take classes and planning much more seriously, she said.

“They’re not going to be able to slough off and they’re going to have to be much more resourceful and in command of their lives,” she said.

While the landscape McNary sends its graduates out into is in a constant state of flux, and the students have changed with the times, her approach has been one of constant support.

“So many of our kids are told by their parents that they’ll never be successful and they come to believe,” Peterson said. “The best successes are taking a student who has had no support and making them feel comfortable in coming to me.”

Charting courses for so many students goes hand-in-hand with the realization that all paths are of equal value, as long as the students themselves recognize that there’s more they’ll need to know.

“There’s power in education and training no matter what you do. I don’t care if it’s a trade school, a community college or a four-year college,” she said. “You need to have a specialty that you’re good at.”

Peterson is well aware that there are aspects of the job she’ll miss, but those, too, come down to the students.

“I’ll miss the kids, and I know I will. I’ve been fortunate to have so many of the kids I’ve worked with come back and tell me about the things they’re doing now. It is a constant reminder that I made a difference,” she said.

Barbara June Woods

B. Woods

Barbara lost her battle with cancer and passed away peacefully in her home with her family by her side. Barbara lived in Keizer for the past 19 years and was an employee at Fred Myers in Keizer for many years.

She was born in Martinez, CA to Louis and Bessie Woods. She lived most of her life in California before making her home in Keizer, Oregon. She was very involved in giving to those in need, including donating her time at the Union Gospel Mission in Salem.

She is survived by her parents Louis and Bessie Woods (Modesto, CA); her daughter Elizabeth Mellor-Christian (Woodinville, WA); her son Michael Mellor (Reno, NV); one brother, Donald Woods (Sebastopol, CA); three sisters, Shirley Woods (Madera, CA), Suzanne Ortega (Stockton, CA), and Sharon Woods (Modesto, CA). Three grand-daughters; Andrea Christian, Morgan Christian, and Megan Mellor. Her aunt and uncle, Frank and Lennie Knight (Keizer, OR). And many nieces, nephews and cousins.

At her request, there were no services. The family would like to thank her many friends for their love and support of Barbara this past year; and Willamette Valley Hospice for their tender care during the last week of her life.

Anna Angela Nielsen

Ms. Nielsen, of Salem, died Thursday, June 16, 2011. She was 86.

She was born in Portland. Funeral services were held June 22 at Keizer Funeral Chapel. Interment was at City View Cemetery.