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Day: April 4, 2014

Need CHEAP paint? (How about free?)

Paints get mixed together ™as part of the Marion County Public Works Environmental Services division’s latex paint recycling program. Paint is mixed at the Salem-Keizer Recycling and Transfer Station. (submitted photo)
Paints get mixed together ™as part of the Marion County Public Works Environmental Services division’s latex paint recycling program. Paint is mixed at the Salem-Keizer Recycling and Transfer Station. (submitted photo)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Eamon Bishop got 15 gallons of paint for various parts of his Keizer home.

Easily a $300 tab, right?

Knock off $300 and that’s what he paid.

How did Bishop get so much paint for free? No, it’s not because he works for a paint company, nor did he find an incredible one-time special deal.

Instead, Bishop took advantage of the same program anyone in Marion County can.

In 2000, the Marion County Public Works Environmental Services division started the state’s first curbside latex paint recycling program. The program, still in affect today, allows residents to put up to two gallons of latex-based paint out with each recycling.

Initially that paint was collected and used for the county’s Paint Back program, a graffiti covering project. County ordinances require property owners to cover graffiti within 48 hours. Law enforcement agencies distributed the paint for free to victims.

The paint is still available for that purpose, but about a decade ago the program morphed into the Latex Paint Recycling Program. The program allows anyone to go to either the Salem-Keizer (3250 Deer Park Drive SE in Salem) or the North Marion (17827 Whitney Lane NE in Woodburn) Recycling and Transfer Stations and get up to 15 gallons of recycled paint.

Beth Myers-Shenai, Water Reduction Coordinator for Marion County, said a crew from the Marion County Juvenile Department’s Alternative Programs collects the recycled paint about twice a month. The paint is first processed through the Covanta Marion waste-to-energy facility in Brooks, where it is used as a fuel to generate electricity. The inmate crew then takes the paint and pours it into a vat holding 150 gallons. The paint is mixed and poured into three- to five-gallon buckets picked up from food manufacturers.

“It is a program that goes year-round,” Myers-Shenai said. “There’s a constant inflow of paint. The mixing is done at the Salem-Keizer transfer station. It’s a pretty simple process. The color is what you would expect, usually a grayish-brownish color.”

Bishop heard about the program six months ago and decided to give it a try since he needed to paint his garage floor.

“It’s a high quality product that covers well and requires no priming,” Bishop said. “I didn’t like the pinkish look of the tan, so I added some leftover paints from around the house.”

Bishop ended up with a dark gray garage floor, tan-brown garage walls, olive green for a hall and bathroom plus some yellow for outside trim.

“The paint is holding up well and the garage floor stains are gone,” said Bishop, who used a sealer for the floor and walls. “I would definitely recommend it to others.”

A somewhat similar Portland Metro paint recycling program adds colors to paint and sells the product in five-gallon pails at various locations, including Miller Paint and Building Material Bargain Center in Salem.

“Our process is more low-tech,” Myers-Shenai said. “It makes for a great primer especially.”

When the graffiti program first started, Myers-Shenai said 878 gallons of paint were recycled in 2000. The number jumped to 12,076 gallons in 2001 and has been above 30,000 gallons each year since 2007, topping out so far at 36,072 gallons in 2012.

This is the time of year demand for the recycled paint starts picking up.

“Once summer hits, the paint is used up more,” Myers-Shenai said. “Right now we have 100 pallets of paint.”

When there is plenty of paint to give out, an update is usually posted on the Environmental Services Facebook page (facebook.com/MCEnviroServices). However, there is no exact way to tell citizens when no more paint is left.

“When the demand starts to go up, we can have a backlog,” Myers-Shenai said. “Right now is a good peak time. We don’t have a way to notify when we’re out. You have to come out and see. It’s a first-come, first-served basis.”

Myers-Shenai noted paint manufacturers pay into the recycling system, thus balancing out the cost to the county for giving away the paint for free. The Salem-Keizer transfer station is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

McNary wins one, loses two in tourney

Celt Jacob Vasas looks for the right pitch in McNary’s game with Reynolds High School earlier this season. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Jacob Vasas looks for the right pitch in McNary’s game with Reynolds High School earlier this season. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School varsity baseball team got one win and suffered two losses in a tournament at Volcanoes Stadium during spring break.

The tournament, which was supposed to run Wednesday through Friday, wasn’t completed until Saturday, March 29, due to numerous rain delays.

“I think we did pretty well. Our pitching struggled a little bit, but we got that under control,” said Celt Connor Goff. “The rain really got to us though.”

In the Celtic tournament opener Thursday, March 27, McNary outhit Barlow High School 8-5, but stranded runners meant a 3-2 loss for the Keizer team.

“We battled pretty well, we just didn’t have timely hits,” said Tristan Mistkawi, a McNary senior.

The Celts and Bruins both notched single runs in the first inning. McNary’s first run came on a hard grounder by Jordan Barchus that sent Connor Suing home from third, but Barlow pulled ahead 3-1 with a two-run second inning.

Suing scored again on a wild pitch in the third inning, but left the tying run on third base.

Suing went 2 for 4 at the plate with a double, and two runs scored. Barchus went 2 for 4 with a RBI. Travis Klampe pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts and five hits.

The Celts drew Barlow again in the second round of the tournament Saturday, March 29, and turned the tables on the Gresham team. McNary turned nine hits into eight runs in an 8-4 win.

“We came prepared, and we just wanted to come back from the loss,” Mistkawi said.

Almost all of McNary’s offensive output was produced in a seven-run first inning.

Suing started the game with a walk from Bruin pitcher Seth Carr. Mickey Walker advanced Suing to second on a line drive to centerfield. Suing stole third and Goff stepped up to the plate, driving another pitch to centerfield scoring Suing and moving Walker to second.

With one out, Tim Hays drew a walk loading the bases for McNary and Hayden Gosling put up a sacrifice fly, scoring Walker. With runners on second and third, Goff scored on a pitching error making the score 3-0. Hays scored on a single by Jacob Wood and advanced to second on a line drive to left field by Mistkawi. Celt Ben Cummings drew a walk and a Suing double scored Wood and Mistkawi. Cummings made it home before the Bruins were finally able to work themselves out of the inning.

City increases grant request total by $50K

480x270-Keizer-City-Council-06

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

According to the commercials, 15 minutes could save you 15 percent.

Members of the Keizer City Council are hoping 10 minutes from Monday will pay 50 percent more.

Councilors met in a special session at noon on March 31 to repeal a resolution pertaining to The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park play structure project.

The big grant application for the project, to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for its Local Government Grant due this Friday, was going to be for $100,000. It’s expected to be known in July whether the application proves successful.

The city would be up for an equal amount in matching funds, which was done last year to get the project started. Roughly one-third of the Park Improvement Fund money was used to get designer Leathers and Associates out of New York on board as project contractor.

But in recent weeks there had been dialogue as to whether or not the application should be for a higher amount.

Councilors unanimously decided on Monday the answer was yes and thus approved a revised resolution asking for $150,000.

The special meeting was necessary since the topic was brought up at the March 25 fundraising committee meeting and the next regular council meeting isn’t until Monday, April 7 – three days after the grant application is due.

Councilor Jim Taylor, who had suggested the need for a special meeting last week, wanted to know if asking for more lessened the chances of getting the grant.

Nate Brown, Keizer’s director of Community Development who is submitting the grant application, feels good about the chances.

“I don’t think it’s a problem,” Brown said of raising the amount. “This is the second year of the biennium, with less (money) to give, so it’s more competitive. I was toying with asking for more. But in talking with (OPRD) staff, this is a more competitive grant. I’m confident this (increase) will not negatively impact our competitiveness. We have a good track record with them, a good relationship. We have met all of their expectations.”

City Manager Chris Eppley summed it up briefly.

“This is a right-sized request,” Eppley said.

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, noted the amount of the grant request must be matched.

“Any amount given must be matched by the local jurisdiction,” Lawyer said. “Therefore, an increase of the request of $50,000 carries an equal commitment of additional resources of the city. The match can be from a variety of sources, including other grants or donations, donated materials or labor.”

Including labor expected to be donated during the Sept. 17 to 21 community build, the estimated project cost is estimated to be about $700,000.

Mayor Lore Christopher said “we haven’t really started fundraising” for the project, but expects money raised to cover the additional $50,000 in matching funds necessary with the larger grant request.

“That additional $50,000 could come from the Park Improvement Fund,” Christopher said. “But that’s the worst case scenario.”

At the end of the 10-minute meeting, council president Joe Egli made a motion to authorize the $150,000 application. Councilors approved the motion unanimously.

Chemawa project restarting

 

Orange will again be prevalent along Chemawa Road as construction resumes. The work, expected to crank up again next week and last for three months, will go eastward from the intersection of Chemawa and Windsor Island Road. (File)
Orange will again be prevalent along Chemawa Road as construction resumes. The work, expected to crank up again next week and last for three months, will go eastward from the intersection of Chemawa and Windsor Island Road. (File)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Just a bit later than expected, the final phase of the Chemawa Road North construction project should be restarted next week.

Completion of the project, which was originally slated to be done in 2012, could happen in July, according to an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) official.

ODOT is in charge of the project, which has an estimated price tag of $3.5 million.

Both project manager Shane Ottosen with ODOT and Keizer Public Works Director Bill Lawyer said the resumption of the project depends upon the movement of utilities. Delays in that process last year led to only part of the project being done before work was shut down for the winter.

If the utilities get moved this week as planned, Ottosen and Lawyer expect work to pick up again next Monday, April 7.

“It’s tentative, but it could,” Ottosen said of work starting that day. “We’re still waiting on utility issues. There’s some work they want to get done.”

Lawyer said on Monday afternoon Century Link was expected to be done with their relocating that day, with others to be done later in the week.

“The relocates are due to be completed Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning we will be looking them over to see if there are any surprises,” Lawyer said.

Utilities were supposed to be relocated by June 1 last year, but that timeline was missed by a couple of months, in turn pushing back everything else.

“It was a surprise,” Ottosen said. “It’s been a tough one. This long for such a small overall project, that’s usually not the norm. But we’re trying to work with it. Then we can get after it.”

Last year’s work went from the Keizer Rapids Park area east to the four-way stop sign at Windsor Island Road and included new curbs, drainage and sidewalks along that stretch. Ottosen said this year’s work on Chemawa would be split into two parts.

“Hopefully we can start early next week,” Ottosen said. “We’ll try to get it completed in the next three months. We’ll do curbs, drainage and sidewalks, then top it off with a nice lip of asphalt. We’ll go from Windsor Island first. We’ll do the south side (of Chemawa), then pick up the north side. We want to get

How our city is looking

Spring has arrived after a wet and cold winter here in Keizer. It is time for spring cleaning not in our own homes but also in the city.

The winter season always leaves its mark—freezing temperatures and driving rains play havoc on everything, especially our streets. Our streets are not the only thing looking less than stellar these days.

While drivers on Keizer’s major thoroughfares can’t help but notice the cracks and potholes in the street, they also can’t help but notice that some buidings and landscapes  need a good clean up. A place that bills itself as the Iris Capital of the World should have a main street that reflects that title, not only from the city but from the private sector as well.

We look to the city to take the lead on fixing and maintaining our streets when they suffer damage. The cracks and potholes send a message that we don’t care about our city, but we all know that is not correct. Along with public safety, residents expect the city to provide clean, well-maintained streets. With the summer travel season approaching the city should look its best.

Keizer has a stringent sign code, addressing the size and placement of signs. The planned mural on the side of the building housing Keizer Florist, proposed last year, generated discussions and legal opinions, all trying to determine how it fit into the city’s sign code. All that for a mural extolling our region’s bounty and yet landscapes along River Road go to seed, and buildings go without needed paint jobs.

When people purchase a building or open a business in Keizer, they are, in part, buying into the city’s codes. River Road is the red carpet that welcomes people to our city—the street should be maintained and we should expect our private sector to be the city’s partner to make the sidewalks and buildings worthy of the Iris Capital.

—LAZ

How the Keizer Park Foundation accepts donations

To the Editor:

The March 28 Keizertimes article on the Big Toy may have left readers with a mistaken understanding of how the Keizer Parks Foundation accepts donations and grants. Fortunately, we have had the opportunity to clarify this with the Keizer Rotary Foundation and welcome the opportunity to explain it to a wider audience:

The Keizer Parks Foundation does (and will) accept donations with conditions, such as the location of the Big Toy playground. In fact, all the grants we have received and most of the donations have specific conditions that include project, location, and sometimes timeline. We honor all the conditions. The donated funds remain restricted until the conditions are met or the funds are returned. In the very few cases where we were not able to meet the conditions (specifically, for tennis courts) we go back to the donors and ask them whether they prefer to have the donation returned, redirected, or in this case, if they want to change the conditions.

In the case of the Rotary Foundation grant, as with others, we will pass the funds along to the city only when the conditions of the grant are met.

Keizer Parks Foundation’s mission is to promote and provide financial support for enhancements to the public spaces, park facilities, and recreation programs in Keizer.  We encourage community donations, solicit grants, conduct fundraisers (like our recently successful Pinot for the Parks event), mobilize volunteers, and create partnerships to improve the outdoor recreational opportunities for children and adults.

We rely on the Keizer Parks and Recreation Master Plan, the Parks and Recreation Citizen Advisory Committee, and elected officials on city council to engage the community in public discussions about community priorities and policy. We see ourselves as helping donors and volunteers bring to fruition what this democratic public process hashes out.

Jeanne Bond-Esser
Keizer

Bond-Esser is treasurer of the Keizer Parks Foundation. 

I support Barbara Jensen

To the Editor:

Barbara Jensen has been a close friend for the last 10 years. She embodies so many qualities that would make for a great state representative, but I feel the characteristic that holds the most weight for me is trust. Over the years, her consistency, resolve and dedication to work and causes that she supports have led me to trust her judgment.

As a State Representative I know she will look at all sides of the issue to do what is best for her constituents. She has earned my complete trust through her actions as my friend. I also know her beliefs are in line with my own any my community through the many conversations we have had though the years so I trust she will do what is best for the people of District 25. I believe Barbara Jensen would make a wonderful state representative and I fully support her in that endeavor.

Benjamin Garrett
Salem

Student debt will bury next generation

There’s a story about financing a college education you might like: I knew this kid who was able to pay his way through college by working summer jobs and some, too, during the academic year, but not enough to keep him from investing in study time sufficient to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years.  Thereafter he was hired as a high school teacher who departed his college campus without a cent of debt.

Who was that kid?  That kid was me, an Oregon-born youth who attended a public high school for four years and then went directly from the 12th grade to college at a private university.  I’d not been a serious student in high school and worked after school instead of playing sports, which meant that I started college without a scholarship while my parents were in no position to help me financially.  My story wasn’t unusual .  .  .  in the 1960s.

So, what happened to make my story different from today’s stories?  Well, for many reasons, including steep tuition increases due to reduced state funding and capitol campus costs and efforts by colleges to attract higher-achieving students from the best secondary schools in the nation, the cost of a college education has gotten a whole lot more expensive.  So expensive in fact that it’s highly unlikely that any youth these days can secure a summer job and during-the-school-year job that will pay the tab of getting a college education.  Mainly, a huge number of our youth are finding it necessary to borrow the money to enter a college while they typically leave with staggering debts.

The Associated Press reported that about 37 million college graduates are burdened with  up to $1 trillion in student debt and that they “may never catch up with wealthy peers who began life after college free from the burden,”  according to AP reporter Carolyn Thompson. Those in deep debt spend at least 10 years of their lives paying off the principal and interest on the loans they’ve incurred and, due to large re-payment schedules, are constrained from normal American consumer lives.

Thompson offered these facts: 40 percent of households led by those 35 years old or younger have student loan debt; 12 million American college students take out student loans each year; the average student loan debt from a four-year course of study is in the range of $26,000 to $29,000.  According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “student debt is the only kind of household debt that rose through the recession and now totals more than either credit car and auto loan debt.”

There are pay-offs for college graduates when those who can get through get out with a diploma and also can get a job in concert with their college training and education.  Based on the Pew Research Center of census analysis, “college graduates ages 25 to 32 working full time earn $45,500, about $17,500 more than their peers with just a high school diploma.”

Meanwhile, the hew and cry over this is that it’s tragic for the  individuals denied and the nation deprived to allow initial cost and anticipated debt to prevent so many from getting a college degree and fulfilling their potential.  Other nations like those I’ve noted in a previous column, the Scandinavian countries, do so much better than the U.S. in making it possible for their youth to realize a post-secondary education.

There are proposed relief plans exampled by President Obama’s “pay-as-you-earn” repayment plan,  lower interests rates for college student loans (Sen. Elizabeth Warren), and student “student investment plans” wherein private investment firms would cover tuition costs to be repaid later as a fixed percentage of a graduate’s incomes for a set number of years (Sen. Marco Rubio).  Meanwhile, the “beat” goes on and on with no action taken and no real prospect of any legislation passing Congress that would take action.

We endure a do-nothing Congress that apparently can only think of themselves and their own kids.  So, it may be well worth it, if you value a college education for your offspring, to open an education savings account on the day your child is born and keep making the monthly installments for the next 18 years.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

Keep the ‘creative’ in creative writing

By SHELBY STROUT

In today’s school system, teachers are switching out the fictional writing to fulfill the standard of formal writing. Whether it is an analytical essay on a classic piece of literature or an inferential discussion about a non-fiction article, students are hard pressed to a strict, realistic writing regime.

This year I was able to step outside the formal writing box in a special class. Mrs. Susanne Stefani’s creative writing course is one of the few classes offered at my school where students are able to write freely on a given prompt. No harsh guidelines, restrictions, or grammatical criteria. Just my pencil, paper and thoughts.

Being on a set course of Honors English classes all of my four years, I am already an expert on how to write an academic paper. This class has handed me the opportunity to really think about my personal feelings and opinions on random topics, and I have found more solace and acceptance from my peers during second period creative writing class than I have in any other English class.

The expansion of my creativity has not only enhanced my own thoughts, it has also expanded my tunnel vision through the sharing of writing by my peers. Since it is a writing class, students do receive a half-semester of a composition credit. However, this credit has previously not been used to override a deficiency if a student has failed an English class throughout high school. Rumors have begun about the school board acting to change this. Some member up on the authoritarian food-chain is arguing for a creative writing credit to suffice as a regular English credit. Some may argue about how this is a great idea due to the No Child Left Behind mind-set; however, from a student perspective, it only seems to be rewarding those who have chosen to not succeed in a class.

In a regular English class, as mentioned before, certain standards have to be met. Argumentative, analytical, and inferential writings all have to be included in the curriculum to be recognized as an English class in the state of Oregon. Creative writing is not the same; this course is specifically designed to give students a breath of fresh air. Most of us have already analyzed informal articles to death. We want to expand the one writing skill that has been pushed to the back burner: creativeness. If a creative writing class can be taken to fulfill a missing credit, then teachers like Mrs. Stefani will have to integrate those formal standards in order to meet the credit criteria. The school board is, in a sense, punishing those who have already passed English nine, 10 or 11. Soon the fun, invigorating writing class will just be another non-fictional writing session. Hard-working students, like me, who want to enjoy a new, thought-provoking elective, would have to compromise for those who have chosen not to make an effort in high-school. Every child should have the chance to succeed, but when one does nothing with that chance, he/she should not be allowed to slide by with taking an elective credit to fulfill a formal English requirement. As a student, I am voting for the right to keep creative writing how it is meant to be: creative.

(Shelby Strout is a senior at McNary High School.)