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Day: January 20, 2012

Willamette may cause minor flooding, but will likely crest below major flood levels


Of the Keizertimes 

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The Willamette River is expected to reach about 29 feet when it crests Friday evening, which means what the National Weather Service calls minor flooding.

It’s a few feet below the major flood stage of 32 feet, said Liana Ramirez, a NWS meteorologist out of Portland. But low-lying areas along the river, along with island access roads, may still flood if they haven’t already. Forecast levels are well below the river wall and ordinary high bank elevations, city officials report.

A break in the rain this morning will be followed by steady precipitation throughout the weekend, with about three-quarters of an inch of rain predicted for the Salem area.

That’s down significantly from reported levels of 2.13 inches Thursday, 2.47 inches Wednesday and 2.18 inches on Tuesday.

“It’s just going to be steady rainfall,” Ramirez said. “It’s not going to be as heavy as this previous system.”

Strong wind gusts are expected Friday afternoon and evening, reaching 45 to 50 miles per hour before settling down Saturday morning.

The city has sand and bags available near the skate park on Rickman Road NE. Please bring your own shovel.

The 1600 block of Greenwood Drive NE is now open, as is the pedestrian bridge across Labish Creek between the Country Glen and Gubser areas.

Claggett and Labish creeks receded overnight, and public works officials continue to monitor them, said Public Works Superintendent Bill Lawyer.

For more photos of the high water, visit our photo gallery.

Lady Celts begin league play 1-1

Celt Aerial Rice looks for an open teammate during McNary’s game with North Salem High School. The Celtics doled out a 60-8 drubbing to the Vikings. (Photo by Jim Sweigart)

Of the Keizertimes

The Lady Celts of the McNary High School girls varsity basketball team knew winning against West Salem High School would likely be their biggest challenge of the season. Unfortunately, knowing that and preparing for it didn’t change the results.

The Titans squeaked by the Celts in their first meeting of the season, 52-47.

“I feel like we did pretty good, but we let them rush us with their press,” said Celt Stacey Titchenal. “The frustrating part was we knew how to break it. For me, it was like I wasn’t focusing as hard as I needed to.”

For the first three quarters of the game, mistakes piled on each other, said Celt Caitlin Tartak, “we had one mistake and it kind of snowballed on us.”

After one single-digit quarter and two when McNary barely managed double digits, the Lady Celts rebounded for a 20-point fourth period to close out the game.

“When we finally started making a comeback and getting the energy that we needed it was a little too late,” Titchenal said.

Deven Hunter led the team in scoring with 18 points, Teresa Peterson added eight, Averi Wing put up eight, including two three-point goals, Jessica Darras had three points and Titchenal had a three-pointer.

Despite the loss, the team stuck together through some cold moments on the court, said Molly Gehley, McNary head coach.

“Our girls kept fighting,” she said. “Ashlee Koenig, Caitlin Tartak and Aerial Rice all went in and gave us a spark off the bench. That was nice to see as part of a good team effort.”

In the wake of their first Central Valley conference loss, the Lady Celts scored their first win in a 60-8 rout of the North Salem High School Vikings.

“We started out strong, and we kept focus despite it not being the toughest game of the year,” Tartak said.

Hunter led scoring with 21 points and rebounds, seven, Tartak put in nine points, Titchenal and Peterson added eight points apiece, Averi Wing had six points, and Jasmine Ernest, Koenig, Rice and Darras had two points each.

McNary faces two of the lesser CVC teams this week in McKay and Sprague high schools, but Titchenal didn’t want to look past any opponent.

“We can’t go into any game thinking we’ve already won,” she said. “We will be working on our press and switching up our defense to make it harder for other teams to get a bead on us.”

Tartak wanted to see the team get better at on-the-court communication.

After a rough series of games against tough opponents in the preseason and then the opening loss to West Salem, Gehley is eager for the team to get back on a roll.

“Our focus is on us in that we have to stay focused and intense, we can’t let ourselves slide,” Gehley said.

Celtic wrestlers repel Vikings in 69-9 dual

McNary’s Joel Hunter settles in with his opponent in a headlock during the North Salem dual, Wednesday, Jan. 11. (Photo by Jim Sweigart)

Of the Keizertimes

The Celts pinned the Vikings on the wrestling mat in a 69-9 win last week, then took fourth place finish in the Oregon Classic.

In the dual meet with North Salem High School, two matches took center stage for Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach.

The first was a return bout between Celt Mike Mata and Viking Raymond Smith, Smith took the win in a 5-2 decision.

“These two young men have been wrestling each other for years and the battle continues. So far, Mike has lost to Raymond twice this year in close matches, but it was very competitive,” Ebbs said.

The other highlight was Celt Edgar Jimenez’s match with Justin Waldrop.

“With a tie score, 4-4, in the third round, a technical violation for fleeing the mat awarded Jimenez a go-ahead point and the win,” Ebbs said.

Other Celtic winners in the North Salem match were: Mike Phelps by pin in 3:00; Louis Palos by pin in 3:50; Andy Downer by pin in 1:59; Ajay Urban by pin in 1:25; and Joel Hunter by pin in 3:09. Devin Reynolds, Zach Hammerschmith, Grant Gerstner, Cody Ratliff, Tyler Brown and Anthony Flores all won by forfeit.

At the Oregon Classic, the Celts had their mettle tested as a team as much as individuals. The Classic draws the top teams from every region to compete in a dual-style competition rather than as individuals like they will in February at the state tournament.

“We wrestled six phenomenally tough matches, but when you have that kind of schedule, even your studs end up losing a match somewhere along the way,” Ebbs said.

The only McNary wrestler to emerge unscathed from the fray was Reynolds, who went undefeated.

McNary beat Centennial, Thurston, and Oregon City High Schools in their pool to make it to the top eight on the second day of the tournament.

The Celts took down Hillsboro High School 44-22 to earn a berth in the quarterfinals where they suffered through a 57-15 loss to Roseburg High School.

“That was a little humbling,” Ebbs said. “We had a legitimate shot at winning seven matches against that program. If we make some changes, we could make that a competitive dual.”

Still, the Celts earned the right to wrestle for third place with David Douglas High School, the No.2-ranked team in the state.

Things looked good with McNary’s Andy Downer pinning Jeremiah Baker, the No. 1-ranked 120-pounder in the state.

“Andy wrestled a phenomenal match and beat him handily,” Ebbs said.

Justin Lowe took down another high-ranked opponent in Douglas’ Gabe Peak, but then the Scots turned the tables, scoring two upsets of their own. Jeremy Lowe was outlasted in a double-overtime match and then Louis Palos got caught in a pinning predicament.

“It was just on of those things where Louis found himself on his back and pinned when he had been winning the match,” Ebbs said.

David Douglas took the dual 40-29, and McNary took fourth place.

GNC heads to Station


Of the Keizertimes

Nutrition supplement store GNC is coming to Keizer Station.

There’s no set date for its opening,. The 1,097 square foot store is going near Kay Jewelers and Massage Envy, said Jack Steinhauer, director of acquisitions and development for Keizer Station parent firm Donahue Schriber.

“I use them; they’ve got great supplements,” Steinhauer said. “They do a really good job. We’re excited to have them.”

GNC once had a Keizer store at Schoolhouse Square. It currently operates two stores in the Salem area. Founded in Pittsburgh, the chain has grown to some 6,000 U.S. locations, including more than 1,000 stores-within-a-store at Rite Aid locations.

Builder gets a partial refund on fees

M. Caillier, J. Egli, B. Smith

Of the Keizertimes

A senior housing developer will get some $13,680 in parks systems development charges refunded after a Keizer City Council vote Monday night.

The 4-2 decision was somewhat of a reversal from the call the same body made in September 2011 – a 3-3 vote that failed to deliver the disputed funds to developer Jeff Hawkins.

Councilors Mark Caillier and Joe Egli were among the yes votes; they voted no the first time. Councilor Brandon Smith, who voted in support the first time, decided to vote no this time around.

As an example, Smith said he wouldn’t be entitled to a refund on a speeding ticket he received on a street if the city council subsequently chose to raise the speed limit.

“My perspective is you’re subject to the rules at the time,” Smith said. “I don’t know any other situation… where we refunded money after the fact.”

Hawkins paid some $115,000 in parks SDCs when Emerald Pointe Retirement Community was under construction. All developments, be they single-family homes or a large facility, pay fees for the anticipated impact they will have on everything from parks to sewers and streets. Prior to revisions in 2010 the city had rates for single family and multi-family developments. Keizer didn’t have a senior housing rate at the time but many other communities did.

Hawkins argued the kind of senior housing units he built would have a lower population density – an average of one – versus traditional apartments, which were between two and three per unit.

He said at the time that lower density meant less impact to the parks system, which to him meant he should pay less than the multi-family rate of $800 per unit at the time. He also contended seniors use parks less than the general public. Hawkins was assessed $115,200 in parks systems development charges for 144 units in the development.

Caillier felt city staff had made a commitment to Hawkins to grant at least a partial refund should the city council choose to reconsider its SDC rate. City Manager Chris Eppley had pledged to bring the matter before council and make a positive recommendation, although Eppley noted during the meeting that it’s ultimately the council’s decision to make.

“To me that’s a commitment,” Caillier said.

Egli said Hawkins had identified an inequity in the SDC system.

“We never promised to give him the lower rate but because of him … we fixed it,” Egli said.

Hawkins had sought a much larger refund: Some $64,143. He asked for the larger figure because the new senior housing fee is 56 percent less than the new multi-family fee. The vote was ultimately whether the difference between the new senior housing fee – $705 per unit – and the $800 Hawkins paid should be refunded.

Cops catch theft suspect using prints

M. Padrta

Keizer Police solved a months-old theft from an automobile thanks to fingerprint evidence.

On Sept. 15, 2011, a resident in the 4800 block of Pender Court N. reported someone opened her unlocked car and stole her purse and wallet. Someone had made several unauthorized purchases using the victim’s stolen credit cards at various locations in Salem.

Several fingerprints lifted by Community Service Officer Lynn Halladey were later matched to a man currently incarcerated on unrelated charges in the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville. Halladey used the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, a computer network dedicated to maintaining, searching and retrieving fingerprints.

Keizer Police Det. Tim Lathrop traveled to the prison where the suspect is in custody. Police said the suspect was unable to say why his fingerprints were on the victim’s vehicle. The stolen property has not yet been recovered.

Charged was Michael John Padrta, 37, with third-degree theft and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.

Unselfish play highlights Celt loss at North Salem

Celt Johnathan Doutt cuts for the hoop during McNary’s game with North Salem High School Friday, Jan. 13. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

It was an down-and-up week for the McNary High School boys varsity basketball team despite chalking up a pair of losses.

The Celts started the week facing off against West Salem High School and the team scattered under Titan pressure ending 73-48 loss.

Team members fell back on old habits en route to the loss, said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach, “We gotta realize that it’s five guys responsibility to get the ball across half court. No matter if you’re a point guard, a post, or a wing, we’ve got to come back and help get the ball across center court.”

The Titans poured in 23 points in the first period and never felt pressure from McNary after that.

“We got to the point where we played as individuals and not as a team,” said junior Jon Kiser. “We were taking shots that we shouldn’t have taken.”

A rushed pace led to more turnovers, said Isaiah Montano.

Johnathan Doutt led the McNary charge with 14 points in the game, Justin Burgess put in eight, Brandon Lao and Kiser had six points each, Nick McDonald had five, Montano and Grant Fletchall had three each, Dylan McHugh drained a bucket and Connor Goff hit one from the free throw line.

On Friday, Jan. 13, McNary traveled to meet North Salem High School where the team found surer footing, if not a win. The Vikings won 64-48.

“From the start to the finish, it was our best game the whole year. We didn’t settle in the second half like we have in the past,” said Doutt, who led the team in scoring with 15 points. Doutt credited Kiser, in his first game as a starter, with providing a spark off the bench.

“Everything was more in sync,” Montano added, “It was the first time we played a full game as a team rather than falling into one-on-one.”

McNary closed the gap to single digits in the final two minutes, but North Salem sprinted ahead for the final score.

“We handled the press as a team, broke it, attacked and just missed some shots that could have fallen,” Kirch said. “North beat us, but we played hard and played unselfishly, and we proved we can hang with teams in this league.”

Montano had 10 points, four assists and two steals in the outing. Garren Robinett had seven points, Goff, McHugh and Fletchall had four apiece, Kiser had two points, and Burgess added two while running the Vikings off the boards with a game-leading 11 rebounds.

Kirch said he was most impressed with the leadership supplied by Burgess, McHugh and Robinett during the week. “It gave the younger guys confidence,” he added.

County backs urban renewal extension

Marion County and Keizer Fire District have agreed to back the city of Keizer’s proposal to extend the urban renewal district.

City officials have been meeting with entities like Keizer Fire District, Marion County and Salem-Keizer Schools to round up support for the extension. The plan from city staff calls for repaying the taxing entities which would be giving up revenue as a result of the urban renewal district’s continued existence.

The county’s support was important; however, the most critical vote is up to the Salem-Keizer School Board. Districts representing 75 percent of total tax revenue must concur; a no vote from SKSB would kill the deal.

The Keizer Fire board decision to concur with the city comes a couple of months after the same board voted not to support the plan.

The vote at the county level was 2-1, with Commissioner Patti Milne in opposition.

“This is a precedent that could really put us between a rock and a hard place with other cities,” Milne said.

The city is in the position due to its bond obligations backing Keizer Station. The City of Keizer is responsible for any debt developers or property owners are unable to pay. Chuck Sides, a Keizer Station co-developer, owns or controls five parcels and is behind more than $800,000 in payments.

– Jason Cox

Keizer Fire prevails in legal disputes, so far

A series of court rulings and other decisions in favor of the City of Keizer and Keizer Fire District mean the Clear Lake annexation will go forward to voters.

Whether the election will be valid or not is still in the hands of a judge and the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals.

Without getting into legal minutia, here’s a recap of where the issues stand right now.

Still pending:

• Marion County Fire District No. 1 filed a lawsuit in August asking the court to rule the decision to withdraw Clear Lake from MCFD invalid. The city of Keizer and Keizer Fire District have filed a motion to dismiss with Judge Vance Day.

• The Land Use Board of Appeals will not rule on the question asked of it – whether the annexation of Clear Lake into Keizer Fire, pending a vote of the people – until the circuit court makes its ruling.

Meanwhile, several other cases have gone in the city and KFD’s favor, meaning the election is all but certain to go forth on March 8. Those are:

• A ballot title challenge went in favor of the city and KFD before Judge Dennis Graves.

• A restraining order against the city to stop the election was denied by Judge Dale Penn.

• Two other LUBA appeals were dismissed voluntarily by MCFD.

• A public records denial appeal by MCFD towards KFD was turned down by Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau.

– Jason Cox


The current debate about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is heating up and even led to several web sites, including Wikipedia, to go black for one day earlier this week in protest.

SOPA has powerful backers in the U.S. House and supporters in the business community, especially the motion picture and recording industries. In theory, the subject of SOPA is something most people can get behind: combating online piracy, especially from foreign sites. The proposed act would authorize the Justice Department to  obtain court orders that would compel Internet service providers and search engines to deter users and require payment processors and ad networks to stop servicing them. The act would also allow owners of copyrights and trademarks to seek similar court orders. That could in in effect, cause the shut down of some of the most popular web sites.

Supporters of SOPA say it will protect intellectual property as well as save jobs and revenue. The act would help enforce copyright laws mainly against foreign web sites.

Opponents of SOPA are up in arms calling it an attack on First Amendment free speech rights, that it promotes Internet censorship and it will cripple if not threaten the very existence of many web sites based in the United States.

We do not downplay the threat that online piracy does to those doing business in cyberspace. Illegal downloads, violation of copyrights, and the selling of counterfiet goods all plague the Internet, its users and web sites. The web drives billions of dollars in business and is still in growth  mode.

Fighting against online piracy and copyright infringement requires big tools and big determination. SOPA, as it is written now, is not the best answer. Any legislation that purposely harms business or limits free speech needs to be rejected and rewritten. As with any legislation look to see who supports or opposes it to get a sense of what it is all about.

That’s why Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, is a good alternative. Co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the OPEN Act fights unauthorized sales of digital goods and protects Internet security, commerce and speech. It would build on the International Trade Commission’s existing Internet privacy expertise and authority which will make it possible to go after legitimate cases of IP abuse without doing harm to the Internet.

Wyden  said, “the Internet has become such an important part of our economy and our our way of life that it is essesntial for us to get the policies that shape its future right.” Amen.

We don’t need to destroy the world wide web to save it. SOPA, and its Senate-sponsored counterpart, the Protect Internet Privacy Act (PIPA) go too far. Supporters of both SOPA and PIPA need to take a good look at Wyden’s OPEN Act proposal and see it will be address the same problem without the potential harm.


About the dog


There is a famous story (it may be apocryphal, of course) about Richard Nixon and his dog. No, I don’t mean the Checkers speech, the one where Nixon saved his integrity by invoking his little dog, Checkers, and his wife’s cloth coat. This one came later, after he lost, during the famous Bel Air fire. The story is that as he was fleeing his house, Nixon left his dog.

When it comes to friends, it’s hard to beat a dog. Harry Truman, it is said, once was told that if you want a real friend in Washington, get a dog. But friendship —really, love—should be a two-way street.

I am the mother of three loving dogs: Judy Jarvis Estrich, Molly Isabel Estrich and Irving A. Estrich. Sometimes, being the worrywart that I am, I actually spend time thinking about how I would round up my dogs in the car in case there was a tsunami or a fire. It goes without saying that I would never leave without them.

A few years ago, Rosie, who helped me raise my children and now helps me raise my dogs, found a hungry and bedraggled dog at the local dog park. He was wearing a tag, so she called the number. It turned out the family had been away during the Malibu fire, and when they finally got home, the dog was gone. He walked all the way to our neighborhood. It is one of my favorite stories.

This brings me to the subject of today’s column: the Romney dog. If, as it appears likely, Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee for president, we’re all going to be getting an education on venture capital firms and whether they create jobs or destroy them. We’ll all be watching the numbers to see whether, in these tough times, the 99 percent who used to aspire to be part of the 1 percent have now turned on the Romneys of the world.

All that is important, but it’s also complicated—unlike a man and his dog.

Presidential elections are, in a very fundamental way, tests of character. You can’t predict all the issues or crises that will face the person you elect president, which means that character, ultimately, counts for more than position papers and platforms.

And in my book, as a dog lover, nothing tells you as much about a person’s character as how they treat their dog.

So what are we to make of that infamous family vacation during which Romney put the dog in a crate on top of the car, for 12 hours? Or the more recent revelations that the dog and the crate had to be hosed down a few hours into the trip when his bowels gave way?

Respected New York Times columnist Gail Collins finds a way to get the dog into every column she writes about Romney. It’s become a popular sort of puzzle: How will she get the dog in?

I’ve met Romney’s family. They seem like very nice people. I’m sure they all loved their dog. Some people leave their dogs at home when they take vacations. The Romneys brought theirs. And with a car full of kids, there was apparently no room for the dog in the car.

I didn’t have a dog growing up (my mother was afraid of them), so I don’t really know whether it was common in those days for people to put their dog on the roof of their car. I’m sure I’ll hear from plenty of people who claim they’ve done it and the dog was just fine.

Still, it’s hard for me to imagine putting one of the Estrich dogs anywhere other than the back seat. Judy does like to ride in the front, but really, the back is safer.

Someone once said to me that heaven is where you meet all the dogs you’ve loved and lost. Maybe Hershey Estrich Kaplan is there waiting for me. I don’t know whether Checkers was waiting for Nixon, or whether the Romney dog ended up having a fine vacation and a good life after that tough 12-hour trip and will welcome his family when that day comes.

I’m not a Romney voter, so maybe it doesn’t matter. But I don’t think I’m alone in this. Before I decide what I think about this man’s character, I need to know more about that trip-—and that dog.

Creators Syndicate