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Day: April 2, 2014

Parking at Big Toy questioned

0314-COM-Big-Toy-Rendering

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

An early concern about The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park project resurfaced recently.

At the March 11 Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting, the issue of parking was brought up – especially if the Site 1 location between the amphitheater and the boat ramp is chosen.

Originally there was a concern about whether there would be enough room for adequate parking, but the concern hadn’t been mentioned in months.

Nate Brown, director of Community Development for the city, brought up the topic at the Parks Board meeting.

“I have concerns the current plan does not provide enough parking,” said Brown, who has been working on Urban Growth Boundary issues regarding a proposed second site along Chemawa Road. “The boat ramp parking is locked down; it’s not available to support other uses. The 21 stalls will not be enough parking for this development. I would ask you to consider this in your deliberations.”

Parks Board member Clint Holland noted boat ramp parking is often used for other uses.

“A lot of it is people who park there to go for a walk,” Holland said. “It’s used all the time. Probably 40 percent of the time it’s used for other stuff.”

Brown acknowledged that usage, especially in the winter.

“I’m just telling you it’s not viable to make a plan violating an agreement we made with other jurisdictions,” Brown said. “If this community build playground is as significant as we’re planning to make it, 20 parking spaces are not going to be enough to serve the playground…You can’t plan to put them in the boat ramp parking lot.”

Holland noted the nearby dike could have room for 10 to 15 additional cars, while also being a good place for handicap parking.

“There is more than enough room,” Holland said.

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, feels things will be tight.

“From my perspective, parking for the playground is adequate,” Lawyer said. “It’s not optimum. I’m not saying it’s enough, but I think it is adequate. I think it will function well while plans are put into place for more parking for other parts of the park.”

Brandon Smith, chair of the Parks Board, asked if there was a minimum number of spots required.

Lawyer responded that staff at Leathers and Associates, the project contractor, felt the space would be big enough, albeit not by much.

“There’s no requirement for any number of spaces per square foot at the play structure,” Lawyer said. “They believe it’s adequate. It’s not optimum. There’s no more physical room at the site (for parking). They came back with it’s adequate. I’m relying on their expertise.”

The Bard goes steampunk

Elise LeDuc and Nick Neddo battle for control of a boat in a photo showing off some of the work McNary's technical theater class has put into creating a steampunk world for The Tempest. (Submitted)
Elise LeDuc and Nick Neddo battle for control of a boat in a photo showing off some of the work McNary’s technical theater class has put into creating a steampunk world for The Tempest. (Submitted)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Of all the things that could possibly create challenges for the McNary High School students working behind the scenes to put on a steampunk-themed production of The Tempest, the biggest was one they weren’t expecting: brown pants.

“We’ve only got two pairs of brown pants for guys, and even those need tailoring,” said Danielle Maass, the drama department’s go-to seamstress and part of the technical team on Celtic stage productions.

However, the behind-the-scenes team has come up with more than their own share of coups for blending the Bard and Victorian Age science fiction.

The Tempest is Shakespeare’s tale of a dishonored duke, Prospero, who seeks to restore his daughter to her rightful place in society. Steampunk, for the uninitiated, is a sub-genre of science fiction featuring steam-powered machinery for uses far beyond the scope of what it was capable. In present day imaginations, steampunk usually relies heavily on rivets, goggles, gears of all shape and size and lots and lots of brown.

“We have lots of metallic colors and browns and blacks,” said make-up artist Maddie Valish. “It’s like a grungy Victorian style. There’s a lot of soot.”

One of the tech team’s coups came as they were stripping down an old bike wheel. They planned to take it completely apart and kitbash the pieces into other props. When director Dallas Myers walked in, he mentioned the need for a ship wheel on a boat that wrecks during the course of the play. It was the tech crew that figured out how to add bolts to the rim that act as handles for the cast members.

Elise LeDuc’s favorite project thus far has been working on a pair of cyborg arms, one of which she will get to wear on stage.

“It’s got two sizes of pipes, one for the upper arm and one for the lower arm. We’re going to connect them with dryer hose and then attach them to a football shoulder pad,” she said.

Props for next month’s play come in all sizes, but there’s a box of altered Nerf guns backstage that the girls were all too eager to show off.

“We’ve been working on the weapons and we’ve taken parts form all the stuff Michelle (Nelson) has been scavenging from Goodwill. We spray-painted rhinestones to make them look like rivets,” said Alamjit Nagra.

Nelson had hoped that the team would get the chance to produce a big puppet for Caliban, one of the play’s primary protagonists.

“We had a lot of fun coming up with ideas, like the big puppets they use for Lion King stage productions, but Myers decided he wanted to rely on the actors,” Nelson said.

All of the crew members are hopeful that their work earns them a little more respect given how much time they are putting into creating a world.

“The tech side is going to shine through in this one. People are going to start appreciating us a lot more,” LeDuc said.